Sis, You Just Need A Good Sleep. How I Redefined Rest & Self-Care For Me

Photo: Courtesy of Alexis Jackson.
Lately, it seems like recently a lot of us have started to take self-care seriously. Black women in my circle and across social media platforms have started placing themselves first in ways I haven’t seen before. For me, the initial focus of self-care gravitated towards external indulgences like waxes, nails, and hair. But when I did some self reflection, I realized that focusing on the physical wasn’t really taking care of me and actually was stressing me out more than anything.
This year, I really wanted to start a deliberate self-care journey. Thanks to the thought-provoking prompt from my former colleague, Christa, Unbothered's social strategist, I asked myself “What do I need right now?” The resounding answer was rest — deep, rejuvenating rest. Despite spending at least eight hours in bed each night, I recognized my sleep patterns weren't granting me the quality rest I craved. My bedtime routine of podcast listening and the worst habit of midnight TikTok scrolling were leaving me depleted. 
I also started to develop back problems last year that I initially attributed to aging. However, multiple chiropractor visits unveiled a different culprit—the hand-me-down mattress I'd been using for the past five years. After shelling out hundreds at the chiropractor, I decided it was time to invest effort in creating the perfect restful environment in my apartment.
Photo: Courtesy of Albany Park.

Commit to Prioritizing Rest

Visible rest was scarce in my mom’s life. Reflecting on my upbringing, I realized that her experience inadvertently became a blueprint for navigating life without emphasizing rest. At the beginning of 2024, my mission was clear—break the generational cycle and construct a new well-being model that centers around intentional and restorative rest. Recognizing the need for Black women to access and deserve rest has become the cornerstone of my journey towards a more balanced and fulfilling life. This awakening prompted a reassessment of priorities, leading me to conclude that prioritizing rest isn't just a luxury but an essential component of overall well-being.

Create the Perfect Sleep Sanctuary

In my quest to craft the perfect sleep sanctuary for 2024, I began by addressing the foundational element: the mattress. I had no idea if I preferred a firmer or softer option, so I took a journey to the Saatva showroom in NYC. The showroom experience allowed me to explore and understand the nuances of different mattress types. As I navigated through the various options, I learned that the choice of a mattress is not merely about personal preference but also about finding the perfect balance between support and comfort.
After careful consideration and testing, the Saatva Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress became the frontrunner in meeting my specific sleep needs. It has a fusion of innerspring coils and memory foam that blends both support and comfort – precisely the combination I was seeking to support my back while also having the cushiony softness that would gently lull me into a restful sleep.
Photo: Courtesy of Article.
The next item on my agenda was addressing my bed frame, which, much like the mattress, was a hand-me-down with broken slats that left my mattress sinking. Desiring a sleeping experience akin to floating on a cloud, I stumbled upon the Cigar Ankara Ivory Bed from Article.
Beyond its role as a stylish centerpiece, the Cigar Ankara Ivory Bed offers practicality with ample storage space, contributing to a clutter-free and serene environment in my bedroom. The plush upholstery, coupled with the beautiful creamy fabric, delivered that coveted cloud-like feeling I yearned for in a bed.
Recognizing the importance of a bed frame in enhancing the overall sleep experience, the Cigar Ankara Ivory Bed became one of my favorite pieces of furniture, not just for its aesthetic appeal but for its contribution to creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. Topping this luxurious bed, I added the finishing touches with Muslin Comfort's 365 Blanket and Coyuchi's 300 Thread Count Sheet Set, completing the ensemble that transformed my bedroom into a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Give Couch Naps A Glow Up

I'll be honest – I'm the kind of person who often finds themselves dozing off on the couch. After a thoughtful suggestion from my therapist, rather than trying to break this habit and force changes that might be challenging to commit to, I decided to embrace it and make it work for me. The idea was simple yet transformative: why not invest in a couch that's just as comfortable and serene as my bed?
Drawing inspiration from my mom's house, where there's a couch affectionately dubbed the "melatonin sofa" for its incredible knack for lulling you into the best sleep of your life, I was determined to find my own version of this magical seating. Knowing that my mom's couch had been bought years ago, I understood finding an exact match was unlikely. Undeterred, I turned to TikTok, to kickstart my search for the perfect "melatonin sofa" that would seamlessly fit into my quest for quality rest.
The Albany Park Kova Sofa emerged as the ideal choice for me. Picture this: a colossal, plush pillow that practically begs you to dive into it. It's not just a piece of furniture; it's the kind of sofa that becomes an irresistible spot for impromptu naps or, for those moments when making it to the bed seems like a Herculean task, the perfect haven for a tranquil and restful night's sleep.
This sofa isn't merely about style; it's a statement of comfort and convenience. Its allure lies in its ability to transform my space into a sanctuary where rest is just a spontaneous leap away. The Kova Sofa has seamlessly integrated itself into my quest for better sleep, offering a cocoon of comfort. It's the kind of furniture that turns a living room into a haven for relaxation, ensuring that a good night's sleep or a rejuvenating nap is always within arm's reach.
Photo: Courtesy of Saatva.

Need An Atmosphere Upgrade? There's An App For That

Now that I had my bed and couch in place, there were just a couple of more things I wanted to test out. Magnesi-Om from Moon Juice, a transformative magnesium supplement that aids in relaxation and promotes a sense of calm, creating an ideal atmosphere for a serene and restful night. And the Headspace App, a mindfulness guide, offering guided meditations and sleepcasts to help me transition from the demands of the day to a tranquil state conducive to deep and restful sleep.
To track everything impacted impacted my sleep, I decided on the Oura Ring. This innovative wearable technology goes beyond conventional sleep tracking and provides comprehensive data on various sleep stages, including light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. It also captures the duration and efficiency of my sleep, offering a nuanced understanding of my sleep patterns. The real-time feedback allows me to make informed adjustments to my bedtime routine, ensuring that the rest I'm getting is truly restorative.
Photo: Courtesy of Oura.
A notable improvement that I've observed, thanks to the Oura Ring, is a substantial increase in deep sleep. This insightful data has become a catalyst for ongoing adjustments, inspiring me to delve deeper into optimizing my sleep environment and habits. The ability to track these improvements quantitatively fosters a sense of empowerment, making my journey both tangible and measurable.
In my journey, I extend a sincere encouragement to fellow Black women to invest in their sleep and rest. While acquiring new products may not be universally accessible, the importance of prioritizing rest remains paramount. Simple yet impactful practices, such as meditation, can be a gateway to enhanced well-being without financial constraints.
By breaking generational patterns, learning from past exhaustion, and creating a new normal centered around self-care and transformative products, we can redefine our own narratives and contribute to a cultural shift that celebrates the significance of rest for Black women.

More from Wellness

R29 Original Series