Walking into your bedroom should make your heart rate slow down. It should be the place where you sigh deeply and your whole body relaxes. The bedroom is your nest. A singular space that both regenerates you on a cellular level every night as you sleep and provides the environment and impetus for physical intimacy. As the place where we love deeply, procreate our next generation and regenerate ourselves, our bedroom is deservedly the sanctuary for our sanity.
Don’t let the world into your nest. Guard the sanctity of the space by keeping the world at bay at the door. I know there are many late night TV lovers who will argue the point here, but I still say that a television in the bedroom is one voice too many, especially if you are in a committed relationship that is fragmented by the busyness of life. Same goes for newspapers and news magazines. Watch and read in the living room, the kitchen, the bathroom if you must, but leave the bedroom to the wonder of silence and soft voices. (OK, I will give into a little night music sometimes, but not a radio…). The older I get the more convinced I am that life must provide a retreat or we wither on the vine. There are numerous sleep studies that back me up on this- screens and sleep are incompatible and of little help in jump starting an intimate life.
There are an abundance of resources on greening your home, so if you are already in that groove, then I apologize for preaching to the choir. But if you are just beginning to apply the benefits of sustainability to your living space, consider your bedroom. Your bed is the place that you spend almost as many hours as any other place in your life. If you are up for a new one, look for all those cool natural materials that don’t off-gas – like wool, organic cotton or natural latex. It’s pricey but you’re worth it. Also if you are going to spring for any luxury in life, make it cotton sheets- organic preferably, but truly the difference over time of beloved cotton sheets compared with the poly-cotton versions are dream worlds apart. (Check out options by Coyuchi, an organic and environmentally-friendly brand recommended by our partner, Women’s Voices for the Earth.)
In addition to the bedding, the mattress which you sleep on is just as important. Flame retardants on vinyl pose a serious risk to our health. Detoxing your bedroom doesn’t have to break the budget, though. Just opening up the windows an hour per day or bringing in some potted plants are simple fixes that you’ll feel right away.
Without beating a dead drum it is worth repeating what most of us already know: We are one of the most exhausted cultures of all time; so much for all the leisure time that our new information age/economy was going to provide. Celebrate the gift of rest and how incredible it feels to wake up refreshed. The world really does look different through fresh eyes.
Making small changes in the home may seem removed from relationships but it is not quite a stretch. Consider the overlapping virtues of self care, sustainability, and romantic intimacy. My book, Love That Works, draws comparisons between the environment and marriage – or the “ecology of love”. It is the same energy that we bring to tending to ourselves, our homes, and our environment, that makes us attentive and present in relationships. A holistic approach to intimacy means building and maintaining the spaces in which we love and there’s no better place to start than in the bedroom.