A Man’s 101 Guide to Smelling and Feeling Superb: Your 7 Steps to Sleeping Like a Champion
If you’re anything like me, you love a great night’s sleep.
As a cross country runner I spend much of my day outside being cold, wet, and tired. Maybe it’s my Viking blood, but this is my idea of paradise. That said, I’ll happily go back to bed on a moment’s notice, especially after lunch.
(Aren’t afternoon naps delicious? Especially when you can hear rain pattering against your windows at home. Or you’re away on holiday, and your warm bedroom smells of sunshine and suntan lotion.)
Over the years, I’ve picked up some nifty ways to get a better night’s sleep – as I’m sure you have too. If you work long hours, have kids, or care for elderly relatives you’ve no doubt assembled a little box of sleep hacks.
Leaving your windows open slightly, thick curtains, and turning off all devices work well for me. And having your partner nestle their head into your shoulder can’t be beaten either.
But recently I’ve made a discovery that has changed my life.
Whether you’re settled down or currently single, your secret weapon in your bid to sleep like a champion remains the same.
That’s right, my friend. Your bedding.
To explain, let me start by asking you a quick question.
Is there anything more luxurious than climbing into a bed made with crisp, clean, line-dried linen?
It’s wonderful to feel fresh-smelling bedding against your skin. Especially after a hard day, and a bedtime shower or bath. You’re almost guaranteed to sleep the deepest of sleeps.
And the better you slumber, of course, the better you’ll look and feel in the morning. It sounds obvious, but your perfect morning starts the night before. Without enough decent shut eye, exercising and working the next day can seem that much tougher.
To help you get the ultimate night’s sleep, I’ve been on a mission.
For the last few months I’ve researched everything linen-related, and tested all kinds of materials, textures, colours and patterns. I’ve learned about thread counts, sustainable laundry detergent, and the magical effects of linen spray. (More about each of these shortly).
To sum up, it’s been an amazing experience.
I’ve now taken everything I’ve discovered about bed linen, and folded it down neatly into seven simple steps for you. And I’ve even tucked in the corners. Each step is simple, sustainable, and should make you feel superb.
Shall we get started?
1) Invest in the best bedding you can
Because you’ll spend around a third of your life in bed, it’s sensible to invest in the best bedding you can afford.
Organic cotton is often a winner, and the higher the thread count the better. Thread count tells you how soft your bedding will be, so look for 400 and above.
Should you wish to sleep the sleep of the truly righteous, then buy linen made from Global Organic Textile Standard–certified organic cotton. Grown without pesticides or herbicides, it’s also manufactured to Fair Trade standards.
Naturally, organic cotton isn’t the only game in town. A good friend of mine here in the South of France, for example, is crazy about her silk sheets. She also enjoys scented candles, a light mist of lavender linen spray on her pillows, and late night massages. As sensual night time rituals go, it’s got me convinced.
When it comes to colours and patterns, it’s over to you. Usually I stick to plain white, but I’m partial to pale green as well. You can even tone in your linen to your own colouring, to make sure you look your finest in bed. Vain? Possibly. Effective? Certainly.
2) Mix in blankets and patchwork quilts
I’m writing to you today from high in the Pyrenees, where I’m altitude training with my running squad. When we camp out by the mountain lakes, our days begin before dawn. With hot black coffee, and warm blankets wrapped around our shoulders as we watch the sun rising over the peaks. All from the back of our camper vans. Heaven. (To us, at least.)
Wherever you are in the world, it’s worth mixing up your duvets with blankets or handmade patchwork quilts. Yes, they can be heavy on your wallet. But they look ace, will last a lifetime, and add tremendous texture to your bed. I take my Pendleton blanket on all my outdoor adventures, but there are many other great options to choose from.
3) Wash and change your bedding regularly
How often should you wash and change your bedding? Once a week should do it, but feel free to do it as often as you wish.
At Zero Waste Generations, we have a partnership with smol. They’ve created the most effective concentrated laundry capsule in the world. “So concentrated it is smol enough to post through your letterbox,” as they rather charmingly put it on their website.
They’re low priced too, as they only sell direct to customers. Plus you can set your regular delivery date, which means you won’t be running out any time soon. If you’re interested, you’ll find a link below.
JC top tip: changing your bedding right before lights out can be a chore. Do it earlier in the day, when you’re less tired. You’ll thank yourself later.
4) Be smart and sustainable with your drying
Although it’s not always practical, drying your bedding on a washing line is ideal. Sunshine and a stiff breeze will make your linen smell incredible, without adding to your energy bills.
Of course, you may not have the outside space to line dry your clothes. Or, indeed, enough time to use it during your working week. And the British weather can play havoc with your drying plans, even in high summer.
Enter, as it were, your tumble dryer.
Remember to pick one with a high energy efficiency rating. And when you’re using your machine, whack in some lambswool drying balls. For only a few pounds, you’ll cut down your drying time down noticeably. Good for your energy bills, good for the planet.
5) Iron your bed linen (yes, really)
With five minutes of hot metal and hissing steam, you’ll make your bedroom look and feel like a five star hotel. I like ironing, so this isn’t an issue for me. Even if you don’t, the results are worth the effort.
JC top tip: Use a hot iron on your clean bedding while it’s still slightly damp. Some people claim it’s easier to iron fitted sheets while they’re on the mattress, but that sounds risky to me. “We set fire to the bed” should be a metaphor, not a 999 call.
6) How to keep your linen smelling fresh
Having a good supply of clean, pressed bedding handy will save you washing the same set every week. This will ensure your linen lasts longer, and allows you to change the look and feel of your bedroom with different sets.
To keep your bedding smelling super fresh, you can try our range of room and linen sprays. They’re made by top sustainable Hungarian brand andyourstories. All ingredients are skin-friendly, 100% vegan, and free of parabens and preservatives.
Use them on your linen, both when you’re storing it and also just before you go to sleep. They also work excellently as general room sprays. Get yours here.
7) …Or hire someone to do everything for you
Although you may agree they’re admirable ideas, you may not have the time or inclination to follow the above six steps. Should this be the case, think nothing of it. Simply hire someone to do everything for you.
As I mentioned in my last post, hiring a cleaner will transform your life for just a few pounds each week. It did mine. They’ll have your home looking spick and span in a fraction of the time you could. Plus you’ll provide local small businesses with vital work during these tough economic times.
Many cleaners will also handle your laundry if you ask them nicely. If yours won’t, hire a maid. That was easy, wasn’t it?
OK handsome, it’s time for a recap.
You’ve invested in quality bed linen, and mixed it up with blankets or a patchwork quilt. And you’ve started a simple and sustainable routine of washing, drying, ironing, and linen spraying your bedding. Or you’ve delegated everything to a local professional.
Sir, I salute you for your new-found style and panache.
If you have a partner, they’ll appreciate your efforts every time they slip thankfully under your covers. And if you’re single at the moment, you’ll still enjoy all the benefits of sleeping like a champion.
In my next post, we’ll turn our attention to making you smell as brilliant as your bedding. With the help of the chic Italian brand OWAY, who grow their own ingredients on a sustainable farm in Bologna.
If you’re looking for the perfect bedtime scent, I can recommend our Golden Hour candle.
For your free smol trial, please click here.
Missed my previous posts? Here they are:
I’ve no commercial ties with Pendleton – I simply love their products. This is the blanket that goes with me on all of my running trips.
You can find out more about Fair Trade here.
And for further information on Global Organic Textile Standard–certified organic cotton, click here.
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