Want a good night’s sleep, or help falling asleep? Take an hour to wind-down before going to bed without brain-activating, blue-light-emitting devices like tv, computer or tablet. Reading a relaxing book really does help to shift your mind out of the day; we’ve used the practice, learned from at a sleep clinic, for years, reading good fiction, fantasy and young adult novels before bed. Recently, our friend Merete Mueller, cocreator of the acclaimed TINY: A Story About Living Small, mentioned her strategy: she winds down by looking at pictures of things that calm and cheer her: nature, homey interiors…art, images that speak to the “dreamy part of her brain“.

A lovely idea that we’re gonna practice with some of our favorites visual books:

Courtesy of Steidl/ Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
Courtesy of Steidl/ Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

We agree with Merete that images of the natural world can calm and hearten. Photographer Mitch Epstein‘s New York Arbor has some of the most beautiful photographs of trees we’ve seen. (And it reminds us to be more aware of them as we wander around the city).


Artists’ Handmade Houses  a book of lovely, quirky interiors,  has given us enduring pleasure and inspiration.  Dig Constantino Nivola’s yellow tractor paint floor…

Constantino Nivola tractor paint yellow floors
Don Freeman

…Russel Wright’s modern sideboard with dramatic rocks for legs make us dream…

Don Freeman
Don Freeman

Art books provide endless pleasure…

Tantra-Song yellow spiral

Tantra Song by Franck Andre Jamme features Tantric paintings from Rajasthan, done by anonymous people on salvaged paper are “things of beauty used to awaken heightened states of consciousness.”

 Franck André Jamme
Franck André Jamme

Cookbooks can also take us away. Aglaia Kremezi’s latest Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts makes us feel like we are on her island of Kea in Greece.

Penny de los Santos
Penny de los Santos

Just leafing through gives us lots of ideas…

Aglaia Kremezi Vegetarian Feasts 3
Penny de los Santos

What helps you wind down at the end of the day?

Top image via The Hole Gallery’s Summer Reading exhibition, August 2013.


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5 replies on “Books for A Good Night’s Sleep

  1. Our apartment is small and since both my husband and I work at home, it can be cluttered. It’s tough for me to find the calm I need to fall asleep. A few months ago my friend Anna Cypra Oliver made a painting for me of my favorite summer reading spot. It hangs on the wall facing my bed so I can look at it and feel transported. Here’s a link to the image. http://blog.bestamericanpoetry.com/FullSizeRender.jpg

  2. It’s great! Would it be okay if I put the image in the article “Books for a Good Night’s Sleep” ??

  3. I unfortunately find reading before/in bed too stimulating – often I find myself staying up all night to finish a book if started just before bed.

    I LOVE the idea of substituting this with photo-books of pleasing images, especially since I’m prone to nightmares. Going to try this tonight!

  4. I wish I could have this whole inspiration in a booklet…Printing it out which not be
    permitted here, would take a lot of ink and paper.

    I just love the tone and direction of this’ issue”

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