No Excuses: Real Life Bed Refresh for $102 with Amazon

Don’t read this if you love your bed.

(This post may contain affiliate links. See my pledge and disclosure here.)

I did an experiment, friends.

You see, I started test-running a short course on getting your bedtime routine back on track, and the first lesson is on optimizing your sleeping space.

One of the most common comments I got was, “I would love to replace my bedding, but I can’t afford it right now.”

I get it.

I, too, have fantasized over a fresh linen set from Parachute and drooled over the edgy prints at Sin in Linen.

Who doesn’t wish their bedding looked like a page from a Pottery Barn catalog and felt like a 5-star hotel? Who hasn’t wistfully peeled themselves away from the Anthropologie display?

However, laying in sheets that should have been replaced 2 years ago and clinging to pillows that you’ve had since college…

…waiting until you’ve made it a priority to save up for your dream comforter…

…is not doing you any favors at all.

You deserve your best sleep right now with what you have.

So, I was inspired.

On Saturday, I stripped my king bed down to the mattress protector, and posted a picture of this mystery box on instagram:

@thesleepwitch “What’s in this box? Why should you care? And why, when I’m done, will you have no excuses left?”

My self-imposed mission was to create a bed from scratch for $100 on Amazon.

Why Amazon? Because it’s accessible to most people, I didn’t have to put on pants, I was able to compare prices from home…and I have an affiliate account. Win, win, win.

Sure, you could easily go to Macy’s or something and get a bed-in-a-bag type thing, but you have no control over the quality of each piece. It was important to me that these were all quality items with great reviews. There were no sacrifices here!

I did all the research so you don’t have to.

Ok, here’s the loot:

Mellanni Brushed Microfiber Sheets

Utopia Bedding 3-Piece Duvet Set

KingLinen Down Alternative Duvet Insert

Amazon Basics Pleated Bed Skirt

All together, we have a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, two pillow cases, a bed skirt, a duvet insert, a duvet cover, and two decorative shams.

Let’s start with the sheets.

Mellanni Brushed Microfiber Sheets

I’ve never had microfiber sheets before so I was a little hesitant. But with 4.5 stars and over 43,000 reviews for a $30 sheet set, I decided it was worth a try.

They did not disappoint. These sheets are silky soft and well constructed.

No, they don’t feel like my microfiber couch, but they even got a bit softer after a wash (which is highly recommended with any new bedding) and after sleeping on them for a few nights now, I have to say… I see what all the fuss is about.

Next, the skirt:

Amazon Basics Pleated Bed Skirt

I was actually really surprised by the bed skirt.

It’s a $14, polyester, Amazon Basics skirt and although it had 4 stars, I still expected it to be thin, transparent, and cheap looking. Nope. No one’s seeing through this dust ruffle.

I forgot to take individual pictures of the next two things.

The duvet/comforter:

KingLinen Down Alternative Duvet Insert

I really don’t know how they get these duvets to look so freakin’ fluffy in the stock photos. And look at those pillows standing up on their own! This is some kind of witchcraft I have no experience with.

Anyway, this down alternative insert was still pretty fluffy. It was vacuum sealed, so there was a satisfying hiss as I cut open the bag. The noise reminded me that there were no geese harmed in the making of this bedding.

I like that it keeps us warm enough to fall asleep, but not so warm in this Florida heat that we can’t stay asleep.

At 4.5 stars, 4,118 reviews, and $40, it was the most expensive of the whole set, but still $160 less than the one in my Brooklinen shopping cart.

Utopia Bedding 3-Piece Duvet Set

What a steal, this was. With 4.5 stars out of 3,096 reviews, it caught my attention right away. One brushed microfiber duvet cover, two pillow cases, $18?

It’s even kinda cute. I didn’t care too much about how the material would feel on my skin because it wouldn’t be touching it. (Yes, I am a millenial who uses a top sheet. We’re a dying breed.)

However, it’s pretty nice. Our kitten likes how it feels on her paws. She won’t stop patting it. Please make her stop.

OK, everyone, I’m going to admit to you that I’m not a master bed-maker—which will be obvious to you  in a moment—but remember this is a real world example.

Here’s what everything looked like on:

and then I spruced it up with some faux fur cushions from the couch:

So there you have it. Whether you’re looking for a decent in-between for yourself or trying to make up a guest bedroom on a budget, you see now that it can be done affordably.

Thanks to Amazon Prime, in just two nights from now, you could be falling asleep on fresh bedding.

How much did this all cost?

Fitted sheet, flat sheet, two pillow cases, bed skirt, duvet insert, duvet cover, and two decorative shams: $102.

It’s time.

Love, Bettie.

Advice to a Teen re: Sleep Paralysis [and rant]

I get frustrated, loves.

Suffering a sleep paralysis attack without knowing what the hell is going on can be one of the scariest experiences of your life.

You’re vulnerable. You feel helpless.

And then some motherfucker tells you it’s demons.

Image result for gif frustration

Or, a whole slew of motherfuckers. On a Facebook group. In an avalanche of comments.

“You must draw an energetic WEDGE between you and the entity! Your third eye has been forced open!”

“You invited this possession by disturbing a rock in a forest somewhere. You must seek out a shaman or the spirit will suck out your soul!”

“Attack the demons with Jesus! The devil will not triumph!”

“Hat Man! It’s Hat Maaan!”

Like… ok. Yes, this is The Sleep WITCH blog and yes I believe there are unseen forces that impact and influence and create our world.

I also believe magic and science are two sides of the same coin.

However, in all my years of practicing witchcraft I’ve never encountered “evil spirits” or whatever. I’m not saying people haven’t or totally ruling it out but I’m sure most of it is self-created…

ANYWAY that’s not the point, THE POINT IS telling an exhausted mother that her teen daughter is being haunted by Satan is so, so wrong.

Image result for aliens history gif

The whole reason these hallucinations even happen is because of FEAR. And you, Armchair Van Helsing, are irresponsibly compounding the fear without knowing what the heavens you’re talking about. Shut up and sit down.

So, this mother came to our FB support group looking for answers and was met with the typical exorcist peanut gallery.

I was able to offer her some grounded advice:

“[Mom] here’s what I can tell you based upon the info provided— and I want to preface this: I am not a doctor. My knowledge comes from research and over 20 years personal experience.

I don’t personally subscribe to the supernatural ideas of actual demons harassing anyone. There are physiological and psychological explanations for what is happening, and the core of all the horrible things people experience is fear.

I would first tell your daughter this:

You’re not alone; this is common, especially at your age. The natural processes of your brain and body are working the way they need to, things are just a little mixed up right now. You have control and you can do something about this.

As hard as it is to believe it right now, the scary presences you’re encountering are coming from your very powerful mind. It feels so, so real, I know.

The best explanation I’ve found is that normally your brain paralyzes your muscles when you enter REM sleep so you don’t act out your dreams (a process called REM atonia.) Sleep paralysis happens when you become aware during atonia. You realize you are paralyzed and this causes a panic.

Because you’re half awake and half asleep, and very vulnerable, you have extremely vivid hallucinations coming from your deepest fears.

Understanding this is important.

No one has ever died or been physically injured or permanently paralyzed from sleep paralysis and you’re not going to be the first.

I would first and foremost avoid sleeping on your back as much as possible. Studies have shown a correlation and many people here report the same, including me. It’s going to take some retraining but it’ll help.

Keep up the meditation, yoga, and visualization as they’re going to help you strengthen your ability to relax under pressure.

Most importantly, you need to get on a solid sleep schedule. A no-excuses-even-during-the-weekend routine. No staying up late, no extra sleep during the day. Your sleep cycles are out of whack. This is almost certainly exactly what’s causing it. You can either stay up late on instagram or avoid SP episodes 😉

It’ll take some adjustment, but doing these three things should make a significant improvement.”

She thanked me profusely, saying she’d almost lost hope for her daughter. (I also recommended she get her the Snoogle as she’s a back sleeper.)

WTH is wrong with people? IT’S NOT DEMONS.

/endrant

Do you agree? Or are you certain it’s demons? Comment below.

Bedtime Affirmations for the Exhausted

What are your last thoughts of the night before you turn out the lights?

What creeps into your mind while you lay there, waiting for sleep?

Are you owning those few precious moments you have all to yourself, or are you letting the characters of the day into bed with you?

(They better be putting out…)

Be honest with yourself.

You have a huge opportunity to recharge your entire being starting right now

…and you’re thinking about that thing your boss said today.

Image result for gif oprah waste

Let’s think about that.

Thanks to the Law of Attraction people preaching their “high vibe” consciousness and like-attracts-like philosophy, it’s now very likely you’ve at least heard of the idea of affirmations: positive statements you repeat to yourself as true.

Maybe you tried it out with mixed results.  Maybe you’ve rolled your eyes at this trend, too. Or maybe you were obsessed with The Secret but have long since burnt out.

(I’m not saying they’re necessarily wrong, but if you’ve felt marginalized by the overly simplistic notion that you’re just not thinking positively enough, I’m with you.)

I do thank them, however, for bringing to light (again) the power of self-talk as a way of affecting your reality and effecting change.

Personally, I’ve had to work out my own way of making daytime affirmations perform for me, as the ego is quick to contradict every damn hopeful phrase  you dare utter.

 

Interestingly enough, though, I’ve never had a problem with sleep-specific affirmations. After some pondering, I realized that it’s because deep down I really do believe I deserve rest, re-connection, and rejuvenation. It’s really not that much of a stretch.

Maybe you don’t yet fully believe you deserve effortless wealth, but you can let yourself have a night of fucking peace and quiet, no?

It’s not a given that you have to stress about your to-do list;  you’re allowed to dream of sex with Prince amidst an epic poacher-hunting escapade. Just me? OK.

Where was I?

Yes, the power of thought.

Image result for prince gif

In order to understand why night-time affirmations are so powerful, you have to first remember this:

The stories you tell yourself about yourself are truly what shapes your reality.

And if that’s too heavy for bedtime, take a Tums, girl.

“I can’t sleep.” Yes, you’re right.
“Sleep comes to me easily and naturally.” Yes! You’re right!

The dark hours are the perfect time to digest new suggestions because:

  • Your resistance is low
  • The veil between your conscious and unconscious is thin

Combine that with the fact that your sleep is the one big thing in your life you are born having full control over. So why not reclaim it, make the most of it?

Image result for you are magic gif

Because of all of this, I consider bedtime affirmations to be total lazy (ehem, efficient) magic. You get the most impact for minimal effort.

It doesn’t have to be hard. I actually recommend you start with affirmations that are just about rest, then later you can work your way up to stuff that affects you in your waking life.

So, just for you, I made some cute little rhyming ones to get you started. Click on the image below to get them for yourself and try one tonight.

For more, I recommend you check out Jennifer Williamson’s book, Sleep Affirmations: 200 Phrases for a Deep and Peaceful Sleep. She has some of the most beautiful messages I’ve ever read.

Sweet dreams,

Bettie

 

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Dream Interpretation That Doesn’t Suck: Try This

Admit it: at least once in your childhood, you found yourself thumbing through the glossy pages of a bargain-bin dream symbols book, desperate to find out the meaning of losing all your teeth.

What about today? If I checked your search history, would I find evidence of you Googling “naked work nightmare” at 3 a.m. while hiding under the blankets?

If you’re like me, your first experiences with dream interpretation involved some generic dribble about phallic symbols and sounded more like Professor Trelawney’s tea readings than anything truly and personally meaningful. *cue Hermione eye roll*

Image result for gif trelawney

Yet, because you clicked on this title, I’ll wager you’re at least somewhat aware of the transformative power that paying attention to your dreams can have on your lifefrom super-charging shadow integration, to uncovering subconscious programming, to divination and beyond— and you know that what you’re doing just ain’t cutting it.

Of course not! You’re not going to get there by relying on some Angelfire page to tell you that your neighbor’s black dog is “a grim omen.”

I get it. If you’ve only dabbled with paying attention to your dreams, you might think those little symbol dictionaries are the best you can do.

The problem is that the ancient and potent knowledge surrounding dreamwork, classical dream interpretation, and even oneiromancy has been diluted and distilled to satisfy the general public, leaving the rest of us hungry and skeptical. Hmm, like so many things these days…

Listen close, I have a secret for you: not a single other soul can tell you precisely what your own dream means.

Not a psychic, not a therapist, not even me.

If that feels like a huge bubble-buster, consider this: how can anyone else know exactly what associations YOU have developed in your lifetime?

We can help you dive deeper in search of insight, but a dreamworker worth their salt would never venture to assign meaning to your. own. thoughts.

Yes, there‘s the idea of archetypal symbols, which may be inherited universal experiences hidden in our subconscious and enforced by our shared waking dream (“reality”), and are worth considering, but even those can be affected by cultural and individual experience.  

For example, I love snakes. They’ve been a positive symbol in my life since childhood and I share my home with two beautiful specimens.

Therefore, traditional wisdom about snakes representing fear and unsettling emotions have always left me feeling indignant. I stopped reading and started tuning in, finally realizing that serpents appearing to me in dreamland carried an exciting significance only I could feel.

So how do we make sense of this Salvador Dali landscape painted by our inner deviant child?

Well, one, we don’t.

By its very nature, the subconscious doesn’t “make sense.” However, it does give us so, so much more.

*Super quick psychotheory time* (Stay awake with me, now. I’ll make it worth it.)

so. cereal.

We all know Dr. Sigmund Freud, the Austrian founder of psychoanalysis. (A Freudian slip is when you say one thing, but fuck your mother.) But did you know that he considered dreams to be the royal road to the unconscious?  

I’ll catch you up: when you’re asleep, so too is that judgy, obsessed-with-manners voice in your head we call the ego (again, thanks to Freud). So, all of that freaky goodness you’ve become an expert at repressing gets to come to out and play. Basically, while the cat’s away, the mice will turn into your 5th grade piano teacher wearing a strap-on.

“I want your horror, I want your desire…”

Now, you might wake up and go, “well that was weird, glad it’s over,” and move on with your life.

But think about how much importance we typically place on night-time dreams vs. normal waking thoughts. If you had a daydream that the plane you’re about to board crashed into the ocean, would you get on? Yes?

What if you dreamt it the night before?

Our mind-movies can give us insight into the intuitive and connected part of us we constantly ignore, mostly because we have no choice but to pay attention.

But even more than that, dreams offer us a window into all the parts of ourselves we pretend don’t exist. Those scenes weren’t implanted by aliens or some kind of otherworldly download—they came from you.

And you, as the great witch Carolyn Elliott often says, “are not who you think you are… in fact, you are much more vast and strange.”

Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung believed that working with dream material is key to comprehending and dealing creatively with our Shadow selveseverything instinctual and irrational outside the light of consciousness.

The funniest irony I’ve encountered after so much personal digging is that this deeper level of myself, this repressed Shadow, is who actually calls the shots in my life! It’s true for you, too.

So we better get to paying attention

OK! Naturally, there are lots of different methods for accessing the rich messages in your dreams. In INFLUENCE, Carolyn’s life-changing course on practical magic, (opening for registration at the end of September), we work a lot with dreams and she has a brilliant, in-depth exercise I’ve used many times to mine the depths.

However, let’s get our feet wet with a simpler technique you can try tonight.

Before you go to bed, set a pen and notepad next to you, and speak an intention out loud. It can be as simple as, “I’m going to remember my dreams, damnit.”

Then, whenever you wake, whether that’s in the middle of the night or in the morning, lay there for a moment and sink into the general “flavor” of the main dream. (Your feature presentation.)

Try and bring up as much as you can about the emotions, the setting, the characters, and any major scenes.

Quickly start writing keywords and phrases in a stream-of-consciousness fashion. No narrating. Your waking mind is going to try and make sense of it and put things in order. Ignore it and press on.

Image result for gif shut up donny

When you’ve gotten the major words out, go back to sleep or get up for the day, whichever is appropriate. Move on, knowing you captured the dream.

Later, take your notes back out and scan the words. You may feel the emotions of the dream again. Without thinking too deeply about it, take each keyword and write down a personal association you have. No Googling.

For instance, “creme brûlée” has always symbolized “celebration and indulgence” to me.   To my husband, it probably means “gross thing that makes my wife happy.”

Finally, for this simple exercise, I want you to look over these associations and ask yourself just one question:

 

“What the hell are you trying to tell me?”

 

Sweet dreams,

x Bettie

P.S. You know what I dreamed last night? That you joined me on Facebook and told me about your weirdest nightmare 😉

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