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 Amanda Laine & Harry Taylor, the founders of Inward Breathwork to talk about their nightly bedtime rituals.
Double, Queen, or King?
Amanda: Harry and I have been together for seven years—when we first started dating we had a double and were stuck in that double for five years. We just got a queen about a year ago and gave our double to our nephew—whenever we tuck him in we wonder how we ever slept in that double bed! We’re queen users now and really happy with it.
Why is a good night’s sleep important to you?
Amanda: A Good night’s sleep is absolutely everything to me. I LOVE sleeping. If I don’t get a full night I notice my irritability during the day is a little bit higher. I just love being able to get super cozy and if I don’t wake up once throughout the day and with that I have the most kick-ass day for work. It’s a good emotional thing for me.
Harry: All that resonates with me, as well. We’re in the wellness sphere and bio-hackers ourselves, so we’re always looking into what are ways that we can help our bodies and minds be the best they can be.
It turns out through all the research the main pillars are ‘your breath’, ‘the amount of sleep you get’, ‘what you eat’ and ‘exercise’. So, sleep being an ultimate pillar. I read “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker and there’s so much evidence that goes to say that sleep is absolutely paramount to your state of consciousness and how you view the world, so any way in which you can optimize sleep is huge for everything
How many hours of sleep do you get a night—or at least dream of getting?
Amanda: I’m a niner! I love my nine hours. I will go to bed earlier if I have to to really optimize my sleep.
Harry: I’m closer to eight.
Are you a dreamer?
Harry: It’s one of my favourite things in my entire life to do—to dream and to recall a dream. The more you can recall a dream, the more you can integrate it into your everyday life and create that connection between the conscious and subconscious. Your dreams are the gateway to the subconscious.
Amanda: The first thing Harry does in the morning is audio record his dreams. It’s the very first thing we talk about in the morning. He has dream clubs with friends, sending voice notes back and forth about the dreams they had.
Harry: If I have a vivid dream about someone in my life, I’m sure to tell them! I love dreaming—it’s like living a second that is more exciting, more spontaneous, wild and out there.
Amanda: I’m looped into this all! If I didn’t meet Harry, I don’t think I would be as in touch with my dreams, but when I met him it was the first topic of conversation and the first thing he asked me every single morning. I’ve noticed, now, that you can get better at recalling. As soon as I roll over I’m thinking about it.
Harry: Even 5-10 seconds of doing something else right after you wake up, your memory of it can dissipate, so before you even roll over it’s important to start recalling
What’s currently on your bedside table?
Amanda: Headphones so I can do my breathwork at night. A chakra essential oil blend that Harry makes for the throat that’s really menthol-y—I rub that under my nose before I sleep. Then I have mouth-tape! I tape my mouth shut now, because of the book “Breath” by James Nester, which talks about how detrimental mouth breathing is. Especially at night during your sleep. I’ve been doing it for about a month and a half and it’s been a game changer for me.
Harry: I have a couple of books—I have my Kindle. I’m reading my first fiction book in a really long time, a book on consciousness, a graphic novel called “Sapiens”, my favourite book I’ve ever read, by Yuval Noah Harari. I have my essential oil diffuser, which is great to put on lavender or frankincense—some calming oils before bed.
One thing we do not have on our bed side tables are our phones and chargers. The EMF’s can be damaging to sleep and just generally to avoid any sleep interruption. We put them in the bathroom on airplane mode.
Do you partake in any nightly routine before settling into bed?
Amanda: Yeah. I would say mine is—obviously brush my teeth, wash my face, put on my face oil that Harry’s made for me, and vitamin E under my eyes. Then I get into bed and do breathwork. Box breathe into sleep is my favourite so I put that on. It’s Harry’s voice—so calming, almost like a lullaby.
Harry: We have all sorts of different types of breathwork to activate the parasympathetic system. We have a whole “Breathwork for Sleep” section on our website. For instance we have a 4-7-8 breath and its super relaxing activates rest and digest and sends you off into a nice sleep scape.
And another thing I do a little mantra to have a nice deep and beautiful sleep and then also to remember my dreams.
Tell us about where the magic happens—and by magic, we mean sleep. How do you optimize your sleep environment?
Amanda: So, we just moved into a new house. Our last home was challenging because it was not dark—I used to use hang bed sheets with bulldog clips to block out all light. We now have blackout screens which covers all the windows, which is completely where the magic is. It’s pitch black.
Harry: Minimizing the amount of pollution—light pollution, sound pollution and the quality of air is so much better in our new home. It’s perfectly quiet, it’s cool, and there’s no light.
If you feel a restless night coming on, is there anything you do to help get you through the night without waking?
Harry: Yeah. Most of the time when I wake up and can’t sleep its often because my mind is racing. So I fully wake myself up– because you’re kind of in a half state of sleep at that point - and I do something—something meditative—and I’ll let myself know that this is not my reality. So, wake myself up out of what is keeping me from sleeping, reset, and try to fall back asleep again.
Amanda: It usually happens when I’m trying to get too cozy—like really trying to sleep on my side or in a specific way. So I usually never open my eyes; that’s my big thing—I cannot let the seal brake. Rearrange my pillows then lay down on my back and do some deep slow breath.
What kind of pillows do you use to keep your head in the clouds?
Amanda: This is the funniest question.
Harry: We have this big pillow thing. Amanda uses two pillows.
Amanda: There are 8 pillows in the bed, I use 2 of them.
Harry: Each pillow has a different texture, consistency and a different function.
Amanda: And a different name.
Harry: So for example I have the foundation, the fluffer (around my head), the hugger, the knee (keep my body aligned), the support (which actually sits beside me on a table beside me – in case I loose anyone during the night)
Amanda: And when he gets up to go to the washroom in the middle of the night it's like a full orchestra of fluffing when he gets back in. I’m like "oh my technique – don’t open the eyes".
Last but not least, what is your number one piece of can’t-sleep-without advice?
Amanda: My piece of advice would be a semi-cold room. Make sure the temperature is right and honestly—maybe this is cheesy—but make sure the sheets are right. Sheets that breathe and that you don’t overheat in.
Harry: A nighttime routine to send signals to your body and mind that you are heading into sleep time. Form me that no phone, no food, a little bit of breathwork and meditation right before heading into bed.