Sleep Secrets: Uncovering Our COO's Bedtime Routine

Sleep Secrets: Uncovering Our COO's Bedtime Routine

2024 Mar 7th

In honour of International Women's Day, we're shining a light on the importance of self-care. We've sat down with our Chief Operating Officer, Christina Xu, to dive into the realm of wellness, offering advice for maintaining a healthy balanced routine, even amidst the demands of a busy schedule.

Left: Our Sonrisa bedding collection styled on a bed with a woman styling the bedding. Right: A woman sitting on a bed styled with the Sonrisa Collection.
Christina with the Sonrisa bedding collection.

A note from the editor: 

In today's world, gender equality isn't just a moral imperative—it's also a cornerstone of better business. Studies have consistently demonstrated the positive impact of having women in leadership positions. Additionally, B Corps are twice as likely to have majority-female management teams, a community we're very proud to be a part of! This month, we're joyfully celebrating our first-ever B Corp Month and congratulating Christina for being instrumental in leading the way. 

You can learn more about our status as a Benefit Corporation by visiting our B Corp page.

When it comes to your home, how would you describe your style?

I aim for a welcoming and playful vibe throughout my home, blending comfort with style. Specifically, my design choices draw inspiration from midcentury modern and 1970s styles, with a hint of Memphis. I adore warm woods, clean lines, and splashes of colour—I’m definitely not a minimalist. So, when it comes to bedding, bold palettes, prints, and patterns feel right at home in my space, but I do try to select items that complement our striking green headboard. For me, a lush, inviting bed is ~everything~ so, naturally, I’m in the “more is more” camp when it comes to pillows and layers.

A living room showing various QE Home accessories against a wall with a collection of framed artwork.

Tell us, what are your favourite bedding products?

When it comes to sheets, the BeechBliss line is perfect since I'm a hot sleeper, but we've just released our new hemp sheets that have been serving me well over the winter months. Not only do they save me from having to crank up the heat, they’re crafted from highly sustainable, closed-loop fibers. Overall, a super eco-savvy and comfy choice. (For anyone interested, check out Hemp Touch).

Down has been a game-changer for me! It's no secret that down duvets are warm, but it's really the cloud-like quality of down that has me hooked for life. Fortunately, once you invest in a quality down fill duvet, you'll enjoy many luxe sleeps ahead. I've had mine for years. My recommendation to anyone looking for an elevated sleep experience, start with the basics, like a quality duvet.

What does your morning routine look like?

I’ll often groan a bit, then drink some water (I always have a bottle of water within reach!). Seriously though, when it comes to waking up on time, the Philips Wake-Up Light is a godsend. It mimics a sunrise, gradually brightening the room with a warm glow – so necessary for our dark Vancouver winters!

Once I’m up, I make the bed. Growing up in this family business, this daily habit has been a mainstay in my life. It really sets me off on the right foot. Usually, I exercise in the morning, try to squeeze in 10 minutes of meditation when I remember, shower, and then make a light breakfast with coffee.

The Philips Wake-Up Light shown on a bedside stand.

Any nightly rituals?

I like to stretch a bit, crawl into bed, dim the lights to start winding down…I leave a notepad next to the bed since I often jot down some of the things I have to do tomorrow, just so they’re not running through my head as I try to sleep. Then, I always have a couple of books to read—some engaging ones, but also a couple of slower ones that help me drift off. I use apps that block my phone usage at night, especially social media, and that really helps me “switch off” for the day. I also find something soothing about my nighttime skincare routine—it feels like an unwinding ritual in itself.

What’s the relationship between your routine and your bedding?

Making my bed is a—perhaps strangely—invigorating way to start my morning and set the tone for the day. It’s also a nice aspect of ending each day. Coming home to an inviting, orderly bed makes me excited to sleep and gives me a sense of accomplishment; sometimes it's the small things that make all the difference!

I’d also mention, given my bedtime routine involves a lot of reading – euro pillows are a non-negotiable.

How do you manage sleep quality amidst a hectic schedule, and what role does your bedding play?

I try to draw clear borders between the purposes of different rooms. I aim to strike a balance between having a bedroom that I'm excited to sleep in but not one that I hang out in all day. This means no TV or snacks are kept in my bedroom; it's purely a space for rest and relaxation. Going back to my morning routine, making the bed is a practice that symbolically 'closes' the bed for the day.

It may surprise some people, but learning to prioritize sleep has taken time. It’s fair to say I’ve learned the hard way how important quality sleep really is. I’ve always considered myself a night owl, but as the years go by, it’s all the more evident how fundamental a consistent sleep routine is. My mood, mental sharpness, energy levels, and even skin and weight get thrown out of whack without it.

However, I do have the advantage of being immersed in the world of bedding more than the average person, and I've learned that temperature is a really critical factor, perhaps the most critical of all. The gist of it is: make the room colder than you think, then choose the right layers to keep you warm. Personally, I tend to move around a lot in my sleep, so a light, fluffy duvet paired with silkier fabrics (like BeechBliss) have proven to be a fitting combo, not weighing me down too much or causing friction.

Given your frequent travel, do you have any advice for sleeping well even while away from home?

I usually don’t have issues with hotels, there’s a familiarity of tucking into a nicely made bed and normally they offer decent linens! I’ve definitely had some less desirable experiences in Airbnbs though - especially when all the bedding is polyester! It can irritate my skin and it’s definitely not ideal for a hot sleeper. Often times I’ll look through the linen closet and see if they have anything cotton at least. 

I've learned to bring my own pillowcase to Airbnbs, usually silk, as occasionally the shower water can be hard and damaging to my hair and skin. That, or maybe the shampoo and conditioner aren’t... great. Silk helps a lot to keep things calm. That, or maybe the shampoo and conditioner aren’t... great. Silk helps a lot to keep things calm. Likewise, wearing silky-feeling pajamas also keeps me cool at night and is gentle on the skin. I have to say, when I do notice QE Home bedding at an Airbnb I’m staying at, it’s always a relief :)

How does your bedding help you relax during stressful work periods?

Honestly, if I’m stressed, it’s not bedding that calms me. Normally, if I am feeling stressed or anxious I tend to avoid sleep/the bedroom and just start distracting myself with small tasks around the house like cleaning or laundry (LOL). I find it beneficial to talk it out with someone I trust, who is willing to listen. Stress takes the biggest toll on me when kept pent up inside. Going for a walk or workout also helps release some physical anxiety. Meditation is also great.

That being said, my bedroom is my sanctuary and an integral part of my daily “feel-good” M.O. So, coming home to a well-made bed serves as a mild defense against life’s stressors, and can offer a sense of comfort, which is something I’m grateful for.

A view of a bedroom with a bed dressed with QE Home's Sonrisa Duvet Cover and coordinating accessories.

What are your favourite materials in your bedding and how do you balance comfort with environmental considerations?

In general, I prefer natural and biodegradable materials because they are more breathable, which is a nice win-win. Another perspective I consider is that sustainability encompasses the entire lifecycle of the product, so quality is crucial. Fabrics that are longer lasting and durable will reduce the need for premature replacement, saving money in the long run, minimizing waste, and ultimately contributing to a better, more luxurious sleep experience.

A nice aspect of some of the eco-friendly fabrics we offer at QE Home, such as TENCEL, is that they're naturally anti-bacterial and anti-odor. Unlike their conventional counterparts, these fabrics are healthier to sleep on for extended periods without requiring frequent laundering. This not only conserves water and energy but also helps maintain the fabric's longevity.

Another thing—I don’t have the patience for ironing. The perfectly pressed, hospital-corner, hotel look is probably too much for me. Instead, I opt for textures, lived-in looks, or slinky fabrics—which, fortunately, look chic nowadays!

In terms of overall wellness, what tips would you share for anyone looking to make improvements to their bedtime routines?

Meditation! I'll admit I'm not the most consistent, but whenever I get into a daily rhythm, even if it's just for 10 minutes, I notice a significant difference in my mental clarity and overall contentment. It's definitely worth giving a try, if you haven’t!

Besides maintaining a routine (albeit, not perfect) sleep schedule: regular exercise is the most natural sleep inducer, and diet plays a big factor without a doubt. I try to avoid processed foods, refined sugars, and caffeine late in the day. Also – gut health (huge kimchi fan over here). Finally, fresh air and sun. All of these are really simple, but have made the biggest impact for me.

Any final words of wisdom you can share?

I believe many people overlook the importance of bedding and sleep, especially when they're young. You might get away with less sleep or have no trouble falling asleep anywhere. But as you mature, you realize investing in your sleep and bedding can be a game-changer. It's just as crucial as your diet, exercise, or skincare routine. It's really common to invest huge amounts of money into skincare, yet bedding often gets neglected.

My first piece of advice is to start caring about your bedding and consider the impact it can have on your sleep quality. Our customers often tell us they didn't realize they could sleep so much better. At QE Home, we don't believe in promoting any single product as a must-have, that would sort of go against our ethos. Style and comfort are highly personal, and what makes us so unique is that we work with you to find the best products for your specific needs. 

So, my second piece of advice is to visit one of our stores or book a virtual consultation online. We'll help you create a bed tailored to your style, health, body type, and budget. As a specialty shop, we offer a diverse selection of bedding to improve sleep for everyone.

We hope you enjoyed reading! Be sure to follow @qehome on Instagram and Facebook for exclusive, social-only content.

From Christina and the whole team at QE Home, we wish you happy days and restful nights!

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