boll and branch sheets

Bedtime Routines.

What is your bedtime routine?

Mine actually starts at 7:30 a.m., when Mr. Magpie or I (we take turns “sleeping in” until 7:15 a.m.) make our bed as a gift to our future selves, as we know we will want to pour ourselves into a tidily-made bed come 9 p.m.

But the official kickoff is at 8:30 p.m., when I tune into my audiobook while cleaning the kitchen and packing mini’s lunch. Even though I’m technically still fussing with housework, the audiobook shifts me into bedtime mode, and I begin to feel the daytime frenzy of getting things done dissipate into stardust. Sometimes I linger by the window, looking out over the brownstones on the Upper West Side while finishing the dregs of a glass of wine or listening, intently, to the last few pages of a compelling chapter. It is so relaxing that Mr. Magpie has to remind me to switch on the dishwasher, as I have routinely forgotten to do so on the nights when he finds me staring dreamily out the window in this way.

If I’m going to bed early enough, I’ll brew myself a cup of Harney & Sons peppermint tea using my electric kettle,* but most nights, I just fill my carafe with water.

I change into my pajamas (I love the sets from Roller Rabbit, J. Crew, Lake, and Recliner and am eyeing one of the washable silk sets from Lunya)* and then make my way through my bedtime skincare routine before brushing my teeth and using my favorite floss — tastes great and works so much better than the standard drugstore variety because it’s much thicker and the material acts like velcro!

Climbing into my well-made bed is — next to the enthusiastic hug from mini the moment she sprints through the door after school — a consistent highlight of my day. (Is that sad to admit?) We currently have it made up with Boll & Branch embroidered link sheets (generously gifted and seen above), which are just about the softest sheets I’ve ever slept on. They are satiny-cool and Mr. Magpie insists that they are better at maintaining the perfect temperature in our bed. I also love the embroidered detail, which ties in perfectly with my embellished Serena and Lily shams. We also have a set of Boll & Branch’s plain white hemmed euro shams behind them. We have a Restoration Hardware gray quilted coverlet that I accidentally laundered on too high of a heat and that now gives us the biggest headache on a daily basis as it is just barely tuckable. Now that I’ve fallen in love with Boll & Branch’s sheeting, I think I might switch that coverlet out for their soft waffle blanket,* which people go crazy over. Finally, we have a Hill House duvet cover over a fancy Feathered Friends down comforter, which I cannot rave about enough. For sure worth the investment — it is like sleeping swaddled in clouds and Mr. Magpie and I have long held the opinion that bedding/mattresses/bed frames are worth the splurge because you spend so much time in bed! (Cost per use and all that…) This is also why we invested in our S&L headboard about five or six years ago and still love it to this day.

While we’re deep in the weeds on the anatomy of a well-made bed, let me also share that these memory foam pillows* are life-changing (stay cold, keep their shape, reduce husband snoring!) and that if you go with a European pillow size (26×26) for decorative purposes (which is what we have), fill with a pillow that is 2″ up in size, so 28×28. Trust me. This is a secret to interior decorating I did not know for a big chunk of my 20s, when I routinely wondered why my pillows looked so sad and deflated. This trick holds true for cushions on a sofa, too — if you buy, say, an 18×18″ pillow sham, buy a 20×20″ pillow to fill it. It will fit and it will look amazing. I don’t spend a lot of money on the fillers for the Euro shams on our bed since we don’t actually sleep on them (just toss them off before bed) and they are more there for decoration. These inexpensive ones do the trick just fine. Lastly, I bought one of these box spring covers one or two years ago because we started rolling up the comforter at the foot of the bed rather than covering the bed with it and suddenly you could see the unseemly boxspring! It is an inexpensive way to create a more polished look in your bedroom, but I will say it makes tucking the sheets in a little trickier since you’re contending with a layer of fabric that wasn’t there before. But, still totally doable and IMHO worth it because little things like an exposed boxspring drive me crazy. Oh! One other note: in between launderings, I keep our sheets, shams, and duvet cover in shape by using The Laundress’s Crease Release, which helps with wrinkles and also lightly perfumes them.

Once in bed, I put 8 Hour cream on my lips and La Roche Posay’s foot cream on my feet (<<tragically discontinued — SOB! — but they recommend this as a substitute, which I will ploddingly submit to once I’ve finished my last tube) and either read a book or turn on the TV. I know most sleep experts would scold me for that, but I find it relaxing to fall asleep to a TV show — I am currently knee-deep in Sweet Magnolias on Netflix, which is horrible in a good kind of way (stagey, cheesy, and just what I want before bed — I’d liken it to Hart of Dixie) and the kind of thing you can drift into and out of without a problem.

The last things I do? Say “I love you” to Mr. Magpie (who will usually say, hilariously, “Bye!” right before he’s about to fall asleep — ha! He’ll just shout it out from his side of the bed as he drifts into la la land), turn out all of the lights in the house using my Philips Hue app (I’m sorry if you’re tired of hearing me talk about the wonder of Philips Hue lightbulbs* — we are evangelical in this house), and say a quick prayer.

What about you? How do you ease your way into sleep?

*I asterisked some items in this post that would make incredible gifts for the holidays, as several of you have asked for creative gifts for loved ones as we head towards the festive season. I love love LOVE to give products like these that are useful around the home but slightly luxurious.

Finally: a few recent finds for home: this organizer for your lingerie drawer (I’ve been using a sock organizer for my underwear, but that one looks much better-suited to the job), pretty scented shelf liners, and — brilliantly — Myriam of Mother Could recommended these laundering bags as a way to keep toys/puzzles with easy-to-go-missing pieces contained.

P.S. More home organization gear here and here.

P.P.S. What to do when you can’t sleep.

P.P.P.S. Have you been watching The Home Edit on Netflix? If you are, you will understand why I need these. If they are good enough for Reese’s filmography paraphernalia, they’re good enough for me. Ha! 🙂

33 Comments

  1. Wow I cannot tell you how many times a week I try to revive our decorative pillows! I have ordered the larger pillows and will report back on newfound shape and fluff. Thank you for this pro tip!

    My bedtime routine consists of a matching pajama set (Roller Rabbit and Lake are in heavy rotation), Sleepytime Tea, and a good book! Maybe an episode or two of one of the four shows that my husband and I cycle through (Seinfeld, Frasier, The Office, Community). Everyone is always chatting about the latest show on Netflix and I am just over here quoting Frasier and Niles (shrug)!

    1. Yes!! I am SO excited you now know about the pillow secret. Try it and let me know what you think!

      Haha — I hear you. Landon and I watch a lot of the same shows over and over and over again, season after season after season. Comfort food.

      xx

  2. Ok, I’m officially in love with your bed, Jen! It sounds absolutely lovely.

    I fell into a not very healthy pattern of scrolling through Instagram at night – ugh. A few weeks ago I stopped logging on for a week. Then after a week I took the app off my phone and I feel much better. I might put it back on at some point, but I’ll definitely set time limits on the app and really, really try not to check it before bed or maybe leave the phone outside the bedroom (although I will say that for a few weeks I I felt I HAD to keep my phone beside my bed for the Cal Fire alerts — we were thankfully not within the wildfire evacuation area or warning area, but not too far either).

    I love my evening showers after dinner — I use a lavender body wash with a Luv Scrub (recommended by Grace Atwood — it is SO good!) then use a lavender lotion afterwards, or I might use L’Occitane’s almond shower oil then almond lotion. Then I do my nighttime skincare (mostly Biossance products). I finally purchased a couple of Lake pajamas sets when they had a sale this summer, and now I don’t want to wear anything else! I make some tea — I have been enjoying Harney & Sons Mother’s Day tea . Then either Aveda or La Roche Posay foot cream (the latter I found out about through you — bummed about it being discontinued! I hope this means they will be releasing an improved product maybe?! I might check if our local CVS still has some). Instead of scrolling through IG at night, I have been listening to music instead. Some nights I read on my kindle but if the book is too engaging then I lack the discipline to stop and end up reading well into the night. Music has a clearer stopping point so I have been better able to “call it a night”.

    1. Oo that is clever, Mia! I hadn’t thought about music as an alternative. What do you listen to?

      Looking into that Luv Scrub immediately —

      xx

    2. Oooh I hope you get the Luv Scrub! I promise you’ll feel like a new person after using it in the shower. It might feel a bit rougher than a washcloth at first use if that’s what you’re used to, but it does soften after a few uses! Being able to reach my entire back without much effort (particularly with my tight mom-shoulders) has been deeply satisfying 😉

      Re: music before bed: I tend to favor any relaxing piano pieces — like Gymnopedie by Erik Satie, and I especially love piano-focused movie scores, like Pride and Prejudice (I think there’s more than one version of this movie, I’m referring to the one with Keira Knightley), The Piano (the one with Holly Hunter). Another movie soundtrack I really enjoy is Perfect Sense (with Ewan McGregor and Eva Green) — this one is more string-focused than piano. And thanks to you I’ve been enjoying Single Petal of a Rose too and would love to dive further into this genre!

    3. Never seen “Perfect Sense” and immediately added all of these pieces to my work playlist — they actually sound like exactly what I want to listen to while writing! Thank you!!

      xx

    4. I love love love Gymnopédie No. 1! Have you ever heard Gary Numan’s synth-forward version? It’s a different vibe, to be sure, but my 80s-loving heart appreciates it almost as much as the classical version!

      Also, the Perfect Sense soundtrack reminded me of “On the Nature of Daylight”, also by Max Richter — it’s been used so much but I still think it’s such a gorgeous arrangement!

  3. Oh I love this and am inspired… I need more of a routine for ME not just my children!

    Usually mine starts after all my three kiddos are down, generally by 8:30 or so. I usually put on my pajamas (mostly lake though I do have one recliner set—I don’t love the fabric for breastfeeding however). Then I usually hustle about the kitchen cleaning and making lunches. I might go clean the playroom… see if my husband is going to be working for a while or if he can hang out. Generally he has been working very late (1-2am!) so usually I’ll say goodnight to him and head upstairs and use make up wipe and cream and try and fall asleep! Tea would be lovely though and a good foot cream!

    1. Yes, Brooke!!! A routine for YOU. I hear you on the Recliner set as not great for breast-feeding — a little too clingy and thin. xx

  4. My routine starts just like yours by making my bed immediately upon rising! It really is a gift to self 🙂

    I take a bath every night when I’m ready to wind down. Usually around 830 or 9 but I’ll even run a bath at 1am after late drinks haha. I cannot relax without it and it’s where I do my best reading, thinking, etc. On a typical night I’ll read for an hour in the bath then shift into bed where I have a cup of tea and read until I fall asleep. Yogi Bedtime tea is nirvana— I’ve had a cup every night in bed for years!

    Now I’m already excited to go to bed tonight…sweet dreams to everyone hehe xx

    1. Ooh – how lovely is that! A bath EVERY night. Sounds like a perfect nightcap. Totally agree that making the bed first thing is a great gift to self 🙂

      I’m also excited about sleep now 🙂

      xx

  5. So much to love here! I miss Hart of Dixie! I haven’t wanted to get a Netflix subscription but this Sweet Magnolias show may make me…think about it.

    Love Boll and Branch sheets, too! I also got one of their standard pillows to try, and I’m not totally sold on it. It is very good quality, but I like firm pillows and theirs is a little…high? I also need to get a box spring cover!

    I am a tea drinker at night (love that electric kettle!) but MK is right – I do get up at night because of it. I’m also trying not to use my devices at night and do something more…productive? Ah, lots of good things here to consider. xo

    1. Hi April – Yes, I hope to one day get into the habit of shutting down my phone like 30-60 minutes before bedtime. I feel like experts say this is the best thing you can do for yourself…baby steps.

      xx

  6. I looooove reading about bed time routines.

    You’ve pretty much convinced me to try the boll and branch sheets – I was loyal to land’s end for years because it felt like everyday luxury but their quality has gone down in recent years.

    I’m with you on watching tv to fall asleep – I know that reading is probably better sleep hygiene but I find myself staying up way too late reading and getting lost in the book! The Office/New Girl/Friends may as well be lullabies to me now!

    1. 100% — we’re always cycling through The Office, Parks and Rec, and Seinfeld over here. If Landon’s already asleep, I’ll put on one of my favorite movies I’ve seen a million times (You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, Father of the Bride) or any of Mindy Kaling’s shows (I adore her). It’s so comforting…

      DO try the B&B sheets. I am so impressed. It feels like I’m sleeping in a hotel bed — ultra-soft, ultra-luxe.

      xx

  7. Ahh the home edit. I purchased a bunch of bins to finally sort through the last cardboard boxes we have in our basement from our move (eh…4 years ago :/) but turns out the show doesn’t motivate me to actually do the organizing.

    You DEFINITELY need to try this foot cream. A friend raved about it (as much as you can “rave” about foot cream, that is) and I tried it and it really is incredible. It was recommended to her by a dermatologist.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0013G8INQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  8. This is so funny to read, as I was just yesterday discussing with my mom my bad habit of falling asleep on the sofa at night. She recommended I make my bedtime routine more intentional, and I am taking some major cues from your post!

    Typically I just change into pajamas (Sleepy Jones jersey sets are my ultimate fave, but I like LAKE and even have some cute cheap options from Madewell for the warm weather) … and brush my teeth, floss, wash my face, apply Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, and drink a little bit of water. I would love to drink a gentle tea at night but I would 100% be waking up to pee, which is not fun or helpful for a long, healthy sleep. I love our bedding, esp. in the winter — I invested in a Hudson’s Bay blanket with coordinating shams back in my mid-20s and it’s come in handy in the Boston winters!

    Otherwise, I’m trying to get into a better habit of reading a book in the evening instead of scrolling Twitter or IG (eeeek). I tend to do the latter two activities while watching TV with my partner at night, but I am coming to the realization that I am just not a TV person, and that’s OK!

    xx

    1. I so hear you on the scrolling while watching TV! Awhile ago, I wrote about a “tech detox” where you only permit yourself to have one screen at a time and I often freeze when I realize I am “watching” tv while on my phone. I’ve started to put my phone on a table outside of my reach while we are watching something…but just as well if you decide not to sit in front of the TV!

      Yes, tea and sleep are not the best of friends…ha!

      xx

    2. That is a smart move re: limiting to one screen at a time! The problem with me is that I genuinely do not find most TV interesting … possibly I’m not finding the right content, but even when there’s something compelling, I hate to binge-watch. Haha! I think I just need to admit that I prefer reading (whether a book, articles, magazines, blogs) over TV and prioritize accordingly.

      xx

  9. I am similarly bed-obsessed. I love cooler weather if only for the reason that snuggling down in a cozy bed is the best feeling in the world. I just moved to a one-bedroom from a studio and I probably spent 1/3 of my furnishing budget on the frame/mattress/linens alone. I currently have Parachute sheets but am awaiting the arrival of a Matouk set, which was a housewarming gift from a lovely relative who acknowledged that becoming a solo homeowner was an event that warranted gift-giving on par with that of a wedding. I love to do a little turndown for myself in the evenings- at some point after dinner, I go in and lower the shades, turn on the bedside lamps, remove the lumbar pillow, and leave a glass of water on the nightstand.

    Oh man, the Home Edit show brought up…a lot of feelings for me. Honestly, I found the entire thing stomach-turning. The sheer volume of plastic, the closets upon closets of unused things. It just feels like such a monument to American excessive consumption and stuff worship. Also, don’t even get me started on how nonsensical the idea of arranging your food by color is?!

    1. Your bed sounds gorgeous — Matouk linens are GORGEOUS (which set did you get?) and I also love your “turndown” routine. I might steal that from you 🙂 It sounds so luxurious.

      I hear you on The Home Edit. It’s interesting because I found myself comparing it to the Marie Kondo show — the latter felt much more substantial because so often the “stuff” and “clutter” in these people’s lives was almost a metonymy for grief/emotional baggage and so you grasped how cleansing/organizing/de-cluttering was in fact a kind of therapy. I don’t get that vibe as much from THE but I will say I enjoyed the Reese Witherspoon cameo (I’ve only seen the first two episodes).

      xx

    2. The Ansonia set, in Almond. Definitely among their plainer options, but I prefer a very neutral bed. The gift-giver actually works in sales for a handful of linen companies, Matouk included, so I got to go over to her house and look through all the samples, which was super fun.

    3. Anna, I love your relative for that housewarming gift! I bought my house 5 years before I got married so I get it…seems like a housewarming registry should be more of a thing. Always reminds me of how Carrie Bradshaw registered for shoes after hers got stolen at a baby shower 🙂

    4. Oo Stephanie – I recently rewatched the entire Sex and the City series and I love that episode! Agree that this was such an incredibly thoughtful gift from Anna’s relative. Going to try to remember to do this at some point in the future with a homebuying friend/loved one.

      xx

  10. The LRP foot cream has been discontinued??! Say it isn’t so – I’m devastated!

    I used to use mesh lingerie bags to hold children’s things and they were OK until I discovered these: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B08B1LXS99/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_7UZAFb01M4ZYS These come in a few sizes (including the really big one linked here) and they are PERFECT. We “decant” (lol) all of our puzzles and Duplo sets, etc. into these now. They are much sturdier than a lingerie bag, which allows little hands to use the zipper themselves, and you can line them up in a bin for the children to flip through and they don’t flop over!

    1. I know – I am DEVASTATED about LRP foot cream. Very angry! I am literally scraping the insides of my last tube 🙁

      Thank you SO much for the tip on these! Bought!

      xx

  11. The absolute best dental floss is drTung’s Smart Floss.
    You can purchase at Whole Foods or Amazon. ‘‘This is from a dental hygienist . I practiced for 47 years . I am now retired.

    1. Oo – thanks, Jane! I just added a package to my next Whole Foods order. Excited to give this a try! Thank you!!

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