Sleep, wake, repeat. Read all about how our friends optimize their surroundings, unwind, and relax the mind for a good night—every night.
We sat down with Emma Knight, the co-founder of Greenhouse Juice and bestselling cookbook author, to talk about her nightly bedtime rituals.
Double, Queen, or King?
A crowded queen.
Why is a good night’s sleep important to you?
Sleep increases my capacity for kindness.
How many hours of sleep do you get a night—or at least dream of getting?
I’ll take as many as I can get, but I need seven plus (inclusive of nighttime awakenings) to be calm. I went years, maybe a decade, averaging sixish, and I’m glad that chapter in my life is over. Now I aim for eight by trying to be disciplined about an early bedtime. This doesn’t always work. I usually have trouble putting my book down.
Are you a dreamer?
Oh yes. My only complaint is that my dreams are too literal. I sometimes wonder if my unconscious mind thinks my conscious mind is not very bright.
What’s currently on your bedside table?
A glass of water, which I knock over at least once a night. Also the complete works of Jane Austen, a biography of Leonard Cohen, A Pale View of the Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro, a collection of essays by Rachel Cusk called Coventry, The Green House by Mario Vargas Llosa, and my e-reader, which allows me to read in the dark when a small person is falling asleep beside me.
Right now I’m on a re-reading kick. I’ve just finished Jane Eyre, which I hadn’t read as an adult (it’s very different at 32 than it was at 16, although it was good then, too). Now I’m re-reading Emma, because I have always hated Emma Woodhouse a bit, and I’m hoping age and motherhood will give me kinder feelings toward her. So far so good
Do you partake in any nightly routine before settling into bed?
Sort of. First I have to congratulate myself for the feat of getting my toddler to sleep. This usually involves dark chocolate. Then I either finish working, read, watch something, or convince myself to be smart and get ready for bed right away. Once I’m pajama’d and flossed and such, I try to convince my husband, who usually has several hours of work left, to cease and desist. This generally does not work. Then I read until I can’t keep my eyes open.
Tell us about where the magic happens—and by magic, we mean sleep. How do you optimize your sleep environment?
The magic happens in a converted attic with slanting ceilings, in total darkness. All blinds closed, sleep mask on, windows open if possible. There also needs to be a sippy cup nearby, because otherwise our visitor, who makes her way upstairs in the middle of the night, will require one of us to go down and get it for her.
If you feel a restless night coming on, is there anything you do to help get you through the night without waking?
Writing helps. So does drinking the Greenhouse booster called Lullaby or the Herbert tonic called Unwind. But continuous sleep is really in the hands of our eight-month-old, Frida. I ask her nicely.
What kind of juice would you recommend before bed, if any?
Lullaby is a blend of naturally calming plant ingredients including fermented passionflower, lemon balm, chamomile, and lavender. It’s delicious on its own or diluted in warm water. It’s flavoured with organic blueberry juice. Some people say it tastes like red wine. It goes well with dark chocolate.
Last but not least, what is your number one piece of can’t-sleep-without advice?
Getting through as much of one’s to-do list as possible, and then letting the rest wait until tomorrow. It can’t all get done in one day. It never can. That’s okay.