One Week, Eight Movies in Cinema: What Did I Like?

Last week I set out to watch as many films in cinema as I could. By that I mean not any multiplex film, but only films that premiered at different festivals (Sundance, Cannes and Venice) earlier this year, some of which were briefly screened in town, many of which have not yet been released in theaters worldwide.
 
Roma Alfonso Cuaron

“Roma” | Netflix

 
So what did I see? Roma, Burning, Ash Is Purest White, First Man, A Star Is Born, Blackkklansman, The Man who Killed Don Quixote, Todos lo saben (Everybody Knows), Leave No Trace (the latter, the ninth, is also a 2018 release, but I watched it on DVD).

Before getting to the films I liked the most, I want to say a few words about two of the films I didn’t get to see (they were sold out early on) and which are also two of the films I was most looking forward to. I am sure they would have been included in my list here. The first one is Shoplifters, this year’s Palme d’Or winner, but that’s not the reason I expect it to raise up to my expectations, but because I like Hirokazu Kore-eda’s films (Our Little Sister (2015), for example, which is a graceful observation of family life that reminded me of Ozu’s films). The good news is that Shoplifters will be soon launched in cinemas. The other one is Capharnaüm (Lebanon), directed by Nadine Labaki, which unfortunately I don’t know how soon I will be able to watch. The film, set in Lebanon and reportedly using a non-professional cast, is about a boy who rebels against the life imposed on him by others and who launches a lawsuit against his parents.

Of all the films I’ve watched this past week, Blackkklansman is by far the most overrated. It failed hard my expectations. The film is based on the remarkable true-life story of the black 70s police officer Ron Stallworth, who masterminded the infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan, talking to Klansmen on the phone and sending in a white officer when face-to-face meetings were needed. But on screen, unfortunately, the story is caricaturesque, it makes fools of the KKK, and if Spike Lee’s intention was to take across the message that racism is still pretty much the reality in America, I’m afraid it didn’t reach the audience it intended to reach. Because I don’t believe that comedy is the way to approach this subject. And because of that farcical tone of the movie, I thought the footage at the end of the film – a series of images from the white nationalist march on Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11, 2017, and the aftermath, including President Donald Trump’s infamous remarks and images of the car that plowed into a crowd of counter-demonstrators, killing a girl – made the least sense of all.

The Man who Killed Don Quixote was a disappointment, too. I believe even some of Terry Gilliam’s long-time fans (which I am not) found the film confusing and incoherent.
 
Ash Is Purest White

Liao Fan and Zhao Tao in “Ash Is Purest White” | MK2 Films

 

Ash Is Purest White

Ash Is Purest White was the one film that clearly stood out for me and one of my favourite movies of the year so far along with La enfermedad del domingo (Sunday’s Illness), which I saw a few months back. Directed by Jia Zhang-ke, Ash Is Purest White is a winding tale of love, disillusionment and survival that can also be identified as a portrayal of the evolution of contemporary China, a theme often occurred in the director’s films. Liao Fan as Guo Bin and especially Zhao Tao (the director’s longtime repertory player) as Qiao are riveting in their roles. The two characters transmit such a strong connection and deep understanding of each other that surpasses words and makes the thought of any legal formalization of their relationship irrelevant and superficial.
 
Roma Alfonso Cuaron

“Roma” | Netflix

 
Roma

The winner of the Golden Lion in Venice this year, Roma is Alfonso Cuarón’s first film since Gravity (2013). A visually groundbreaking spectacle shot by Cuarón himself in pellucid black-and-white, the film is an autobiographically inspired, richly personal story, gentle and stoic at the same time, set in the Mexico City of the 1970s; a portrayal of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil. It is clear that every shot, every scene, every character was carefull composed.

The director returned to Mexico to make the film, his first in his native language since Y tu mamá también (2001). “I always wanted to make a film and be comfortable with it when I finished it,” Cuarón told IndieWire. “With Roma, I was satisfied with it when we finished. I was very happy with it, and that’s because it’s the first film I was fully able to convey what I wanted to convey as a film. It’s a story in many different shapes and hints of emotions that have been present since the moment I wanted to be a director.” All that said, the film is special from another point of view, as well. Not only was it carefully promoted (very little of the film was revealed until it premiered and even since then, very few images have been made public), but it will continue to be so. It will be released in select theaters, so having been able to watch it on the big screen (it was produced by Netflix) felt rewarding in itself.
 
Burning 2018

Ah-In Yoo, Jong-set Jeon and Steven Yeun in “Burning” | Pine House Film

 
Burning

Burning, by Lee Chang-dong, is an adaptation of the short story “Barn Burning” by Haruki Murakami. The story follows an aimless poor, young writer, Ah-In Yoo as Lee Jong-eu, whose existence in turned upside down by a chance encounter with a childhood friend, Shin Hae-mi (Jong-seo Jeon), especially after she leaves on a trip to Africa and comes back accompanied by Ben (Steven Yeun), a rich and mysterious young man with a Gatsby vibe (Fitzgerald’s novel is actually referred to in the film by the chatacters). There is one particular scene that stayed with me, undoubtedly one of the most memorable of the year. The three characters are gathered at Lee Jong-eu’s parents’ farmhouse. They spend the evening on the porch and watch the sunset on the music of Miles David and suddenly time seems to stop, and this strange love triangle, basked in the golden hour light, regardless of class provenance and everything else, seem at peace with one another. An unconventional thriller that focuses on character study and which, in my case, represents a great introduction to the filmography of the Korean director (I am yet to discover his other works).
 
First Man 2018

Ryan Gosling in “First Man” | Universal Pictures, Dreamworks

 
First Man

The most pleasant surprise of all the films I watched this past week was Damien Chazelle’s third motion picture, First Man, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Admittedly, I am a fan of Chazelle’s films (I sang my praise for La La Land here), but biopics are just a genre I am not particularly keen on. But I should have gotten used to the director’s way of doing things differently by now (I didn’t even like musicals (no, not even the classic ones) until I saw La La Land). For First Man, Chazelle teamed up once again with Ryan Gosling, who plays Neil Armstrong, and I am sure this collaboration is bound to become one of those prolific actor-director partnerships. Ryan Gosling delivers a beautiful, subdued, implosive performance, and Claire Foy as Neil’s wife, Janet, is magnificent in her role, one of the best of the year. It’s such an intimate, humane story, and that makes all the difference. It’s about loss, tragedy, sacrifice and failure. There is no American glorification of the nation’s space heroes here. It’s first and foremost about a human being, not about the first man on the moon and his monumental achievement. That’s the beauty of it.

I also recommend you listen to the Fresh Air episode where Terry Gross interviews Damien Chazelle about the film – it was what prompted me to watch it in the first place and had a good feeling about it when I heard the director saying they wanted to keep the special effects to the minimum, which they did; you don’t even notice the special effects, it’s just movie making craftsmanship.
 
Leave No Trace 2018

Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie and Ben Foster in “Leave No Trace” | Scott Green/Bleecker Street

 
Leave No Trace

The indie film Leave No Trace premiered at Sundance at the beginning of the year and was part of the Directors’ Fortnight line-up at Cannes. This is actually the only movie of the ones listed here that I didn’t watch at the cinema, but on DVD. I do not know whether it will be brought to cinema here. I always keep an eye on the films launched at Sundance and Debra Granik’s film is a subtle, moving wilderness story of a man (Ben Foster in another great performance after Hell or High Water, one of my favourite films of 2016) who takes his 13-year-old daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie who makes an authentic, understated, confident role), to live with him off the grid in a nature reserve near Portland, Oregon, rarely making contact with the world. Leave No Trace conjures up memories of Captain Fantastic, another one of the best films of 2016, and questions the very meaning of home and homelessness, connection and solitude, without being a sentimental comment (and that’s part of what makes it so good) on conventional and alternative societies. And it is sublimely directed. Every frame, move, look, sound, or stretch of silence advances the plot in some way.
 
Todos lo saben 2018

Bárbara Lennie and Javier Bardem in “Todos lo saben” | Memento Films Production

 
Todos lo saben

Although I didn’t like Todos lo saben (Everybody Knows) quite as much as some of Asghar Farhadi‘s previous films, like A Separation (2011), Le passé (2013) – my favourite from the director so far – and The Salesman (2016), I liked it nonetheless, starting with the strong family bondage depicted and Farhadi’s powerful and accurate directing (the wedding scene has such cinematic beauty). Another strength was the ensemble of the actors, playing their roles maturely and uninhibitedly: Penélope Cruz, and especially Javier Bardem and Bárbara Lennie, who is simply one of my favourite actresses of the moment, having performed in some of the best films of the past years, like Contratiempo and the afore-mentioned La enfermedad del domingo.
 
A Star Is Born 2018

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in “A Star Is Born” | Warner Brothers

 
A Star Is Born

I have read mixed reviews about Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, A Star Is Born (also launched at Venice), including from my own readers. But, much to my surprise, I liked it. The film may seem and may very well be the remake of a remake of a remake if you want (the original being William Wellman’s (1937), followed by George Cukor’s (1954) and Frank Pierson’s version from 1976), and I have been pretty vocal about my opinion on remakes and sequels over the years, but Cooper managed to make this story new and fresh again. Not only that, but it is probably the best version of all four (I am yet to watch the Fredric March-Janet Gaynor film).

I liked the way he captured those music sequences and the passion of the two protagonists on stage, Bradley Cooper himself and Lady Gaga – the energy, the passion, the feeling. And I know that everybody is talking about Lady Gaga as the revelation of the movie, but, no, I don’t agree, this is an actors’ duet, they are in this together, they are both in love not only with each other but with each other’s talent and that’s the beautiful part, you see it in their eyes when they sing together. And that’s also what I believe Cooper brings in – his character’s talent does not seem just something of the past, as in the case of the previous films – without feeling like a vanity reel. I don’t think that is the case at all, I simply think it’s a very well written and very well performed part, and although Lady Gaga is undoubtedly good (although her role felt a bit underdeveloped and if there is something I would reproach Bradley Copper for, this would be it), it’s his performance that impressed me the most and I’m really glad it confirms his talent as an actor. I wish the film didn’t give in to that superficial, shallow pop singing when Ally finds success, but it might have had a point, if only to make it very suggestive towards what’s happening in the music business nowadays.

Posted by classiq in Film | | Leave a comment

A School Look that Stands the Test of Time

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

Emma Watson in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, 2005 | Warner Brothers

 
We are well into autumn, but, as far as I’m concerned, a tad of nostalgia for that back-to-school feeling lingers on in the air. It got me thinking of some of my favourite school- and college-set films, like Dead Poets Society, Rushmore and Harry Potter. And about campus uniforms and all those looks that are grasping into Ivy League style. Apart from the fact that I’ve always been drawn to the preppy look, to its timelessness, practicality and no-fuss, dressing-down attitude, I like the uniform from other reasons, too, especially when it comes to children. As Andre Agassi writes in his autobiography when talking about the school he has founded, “we thought it important that students wear uniforms. Tennis shirt with khaki pants, shorts, or skirt, in official school colors – burgundy and navy. We think it creates less peer pressure, and we know it saves parents money in the long run.” I like his way of thinking.

So please indulge me for a moment as I take a look back at Hogwarts – a place that, to quote Ethan Hawke during a Q&A that I took part in last year, “if it really existed, I wish I were cool enough to go there”. Each of the films in the series covers one full school year and that’s one of the reasons why I love the Harry Potter movies. Of course, Hogwarts had a dress code, too. Take Hermione’s school attire, for example: white shirt, V-neck sweater and tie. Take it as a piece of advice that you could have given to your younger self and that you can continue to follow from now on: Keep it simple! It’s never wrong with a simple look. It’s one of those things kids seem to know best. And what we can also learn from them is that style should come naturally, without a moment’s thought, that it must be comfortable first and foremost, and that it can not be manufactured or bought.
 
Emma Watson in Harry Potter

Emma Watson in “Harry Potter and the Ordin of the Phoenix”, 2007 | Warner Brothers

Posted by classiq in Style in film | | Leave a comment

Open: Life Lessons from Andre Agassi

Open by Andre Agassi
 
I’ve only recently read Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open. Nine years after its publishing. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long. But I do know that this is one of those books that is relevant regardless of times and timing. It is not just one of the best memoirs I’ve read, it is simply a great book. And what makes it so special is that it is not a classic, so to speak, success story of the type “how I have reached my childhood dream through practice, hard-work and perseverence”. Quite the contrary.

It is a book about an extraordinary sportsman, one of the most gifted tennis players of all time, who has hated his entire life the sport that made him famous. About dedicating his life to a sport he never chose, but which his father chose for him even before he was born. About having to live with his talent and learning how to make peace with it. About accepting that the thing he knows how to do best, the only thing that he is good at is also the thing that he hates the most. About change, about sacrifice, about honesty, about doing good (the greater good, not just on the tennis court), about giving back, about hitting rock bottom over and over again and getting up over and over again, about fighting your own battles, about learning from your own mistakes. And about some thrilling insights into the world of tennis: the good, the bad and the ugly.
 
A sporting life - Andre Agassi

Left: Agassi, 8 years old, with his idol, Björn Borg | Right: Andre Agassi, moments after winning his fourth slam, Roland Garros, 1999

 
The book is beautifully written, in collaboration with the Pulitzer prize winner journalist and novelist J.R. Moehringer, but Agassi’s contribution is deeply felt, too, especially in the humour, in talking about his childhood, in his inner struggles, and in the haunting, excruciatingly precise recollection of every painful loss and every extraordinary win in his career. And there’s also the love story with Stefanie (as he calls his wife) Graf. That’s not a classic celebrity story either: it’s sincere, unpredictable, funny, in which perseverence, determination, timing and chance all played a part. A slice of life. Just like a tennis match.
 
IMG_7543
 

Tennis

 
“It’s no accident, I think, that tennis uses the language of life. Advantage, service, fault, break, love, the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature. Even the structure of tennis, the way the pieces fit inside one another like Russian nesting dolls, mimics the structure of our days. Points become games become sets become tournaments, and it’s all so tightly connected that any point can become the turning point. It reminds me of the way seconds become minutes become hours, and any hour can be our finest. Or darkest. It’s our choice.”

“Freed from the thoughts of winning, I instantly play better. I stop thinking, start feeling. My shots become a half-second quicker, my decisions become the product of instinct rather than logic.”

“Only boxers can understand the loneliness of tennis players – and yet boxers have their corner men and managers. Even a boxer’s opponent provides a kind of companionship, someone he can grapple with and grunt at. In tennis you stand face-to-face with the enemy, trade blows with him, but never touch him or talk to him, or anyone else. […] In tennis you’re on an island. Of all the games men and women play, tennis is the closest to solitary confinement…”

“Now that I’ve won a slam, I know something very few people on earth are permitted to know. A win doesn’t feel as good as a loss feels bad, and the good feeling doesn’t last long as the bad. Not even close.”

“One minute, I’m serving for the match, the next he’s raising his arms in conquest. Tennis.”
 
IMG_7543
 

Wimbledon

 
“Wimbledon has become hallowed ground for me. It’s where my wife shined. It’s where I first suspected that I could win, and where I proved it to myself and to the world. Wimbledon is where I learned to bow, to bend my knee, to do something I didn’t want to do, wear what I didn’t want to wear, and survive. Also, no matter how I feel about tennis, the game is my hone. I hated hone as a boy, and then I left, and I soon found myself homesick.”
 

Roland Garros

 
“One of the great joys of my life. […] I’m sobbing. I’m rubbing my head. I’m terrified by how good this feels. Winning isn’t supposed to feel so good. Winning is never supposed to matter this good, but it does, it does, I can’t help it. I’m overjoyed, grateful. […] I even reserve some gratitude for myself, for all the good and bad choices that led here.” (After winning the French Open, in 1999, his fourth major slam)
 
IMG_7543
 

Rod Laver

 
“I’ve never cared about computer rankings, and I’ve never cared about the number of slams. Roy Emerson has the most slams (twelve), and nobody thinks he’s better than Rod Laver. Nobody. My fellow players, along with any tennis expert and historian I respect, agree that Laver was the best, the king, because he won all four. More, he did it in the same year – twice. That’s godlike. That’s inimitable.
I think of the greats from past eras, how they all chased Laver, how they dreamed of winning all four slams. They all skipped certain slams, because they didn’t give a damn about quantity. They cared about versatility.”
 

Pete Sampras

 
“If I had beaten Pete more often, or if he’d come along in a different generation, I’d have a better record, and I might go down as a better player, but I’d be less.”
 

Roger Federer

 
“He’s growing before my eyes into one of the game’s all-time greats. He methodically builds a lead, two sets to one, and I can’t help but stand back and admire his immense skills, his magnificent composure. He’s the most regal player I’ve ever witnessed.”

“It’s real simple. Most people have weaknesses. Federer has none.”
 

Rafael Nadal

 
“Into to Montreal and scratch and claw my way to the final against a Spanish kid everyone is talking about. Rafael Nadal. I can’t beat him. I can’t fathom him. I’ve never seen anyone move like that on a tennis court.”
 
IMG_7543
 

Life

 
“I hope it will be one of many books that will give them comfort, guidance, pleasure. I was late in discovering the magic of books. Of all my many mistakes that I want my children to avoid, I put that one near the top of the list.”

“We ask one thing of every teacher: to believe that every student can learn. It sounds like a painfully obvious concept, self-evident, but nowadays it’s not.” (Talking about his school, The Andre Agassi Academy)

“We thought it important that students wear uniforms. Tennis shirt with khaki pants, shorts, or skirt, in official school colors – burgundy and navy. We think it creates less peer pressure, and we know it saves parents money in the long run. Every time I walk into the school I’m struck by the irony: I’m now the enforcer of a uniform policy. I look forward to the day when some Wimbledon official happens to be in Vegas and asks for a tour. I can hardly wait to see the look on his or her face when I mention my school’s strict dress code.”

“You know everything you need to know about people when you see their faces at the moments of your greatest triumph.”

“Even if it’s not your ideal life, you can always choose it. No matter what your life is, choosing it changes everything.”

Posted by classiq in A sporting life, Books | | Leave a comment

Shirt Stories: Emma Elwin

Shirt stories - Emma Elwin - Classiq Journal
 

You always notice the person wearing a great shirt.
A classic that holds just as much appeal as a perfect
pair of jeans. Shirt Stories is about the men and
women who wear it well.

 
Emma Elwin is the co-founder of the Swedish online magazine Make it last, a platform that emphasises and embraces sustainability and genuine style, providing authentic content and catering to audiences whose interest and beliefs transcend the traditions fashion system. We need this kind of inspiration and guidance towards living life as a conscient choice and mindful shopping. I subscribe to Make it last’s ethos that sustainability is the guide to growth, both in regards to personal style and in a business sense.

As soon as you see Emma Elwin, it’s clear from her look that she is into timeless style, and by that I don’t mean just the kind of style that is easy and true to oneself and relevant regardless of trends and seasonal must-haves, but the kind that merges aesthetics and ethics. Because that’s the only definition of style that will make sense from now on.

Shirt Stories - Emma Elwin - Classiq Journal
photos: Make it last

Related content: Style Profile: India Hicks / Style Interview with Travel Writer Francisca Mattéoli / Tilda Swinton and Matthias Schoenaerts in A Bigger Splash

Shirt stories - Classiq Journal

Posted by classiq in Shirt stories, Style | | Leave a comment

The Book That Has Changed My Lifestyle

An eye-opening, vital, alarming, passionate, compelling and utterly convincing book that has taught me to love sleeping again.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
I used to have a good night’s sleep. It was a long time ago. I’ve always been an early bird and have loved waking up in the morning before everybody else. But I had to have a good night’s shut-eye, which meant 8 hours of sleep. Whenever it came to going out in the evening, I have always been the least popular in our group of friends because I was always the first one who wanted to call it a night, and even if I stayed only two hours past my bedtime, the next day I would feel like I had lost the entire night. And the fatigue would last for at least two days. Sleeping in has never been an option for me, not even on weekends, because whether I went to bed at 11 p.m. or 2 a.m., I would still wake up before 7 a.m. without an alarm clock. I have had my fair share of excesses, sure, occasionally staying up late at night from various reasons, but my 7-8 sleeping hours per night were usually non-negotiable.

Fast forward to motherhood. Sleeping at night became an adventure. And to make things worse, I did not follow the piece of advice I was given most often: “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” I did not, and be it day or night, I would take advantage of the time my son slept to work. My lack of sleep started to accumulate. When my son finally started to have a full night of sleep, the sudden prospect of a few more hours I could use to work every night (I work almost exclusively from home) seemed too good, even glorious to pass on, so my sleep did not improve much. On the contrary, it got worse. Not few were the nights when I would stay up even until 3 a.m. and would then have to wake up at 7 a.m. I could almost not tell the difference between night and day anymore, when the day ended and the night started and vive-versa.
 
Cloud Study by Irina Georgescu

“Cloud Study”, illustration by Irina Georgescu, as part of the 5poems project

 
 
To make a long story short, I started to feel my sleep deprivation and everybody else around me did, too. I was often nervous, snappy, irritable, not-fun anymore, tired all the time. My family stepped in. “You should get more sleep. Get some time off.” “I know, I will try”. Neither of us believed what I was saying. Then, one day, my brother tells me about this book (I always take his advice on books), Why We Sleep. “Everyone should read this book,” he says and he lets his words sink in before telling me a couple of things he’s read in it, among which why the entire educational systems in the whole world should be changed so that children don’t have to wake up very early (with special emphasis on teenagers – believe me, if you are the parent of a teenager, you want to read the book now). That’s all I needed to hear to decide to buy it. Me, who has always been scornful about people sleeping in and had never fully comprehended that people can be night owls just as well as they can be early birds, that they have genetically determined preference for mornings or evenings, and that waking up late has nothing to do with laziness.

As soon as I started reading the book, written by Matthew Walker, neuroscientist and professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, I literally got scared. I started to realise what the consequences of my hectic program and chronic sleep deprivation (it’s important to realise the difference between sleep deprivation and insomnia) could be. What those consequences already were. That my sleep loss was inhumane (bare in mind that this had been going on for more than three years). I knew I had to change my lifestyle. As simple and as crucial as that. It’s the second time a book has had this lifestyle changing effect on me. The first one was a nutritional book, in high school, and I wrote about that experience here.

So after starting to read Why We Sleep, I started to make changes in my daily routine and now, about a month later, I am already starting to feel the difference. Some things you may already know, some things are common sense; I had already known many of those things myself, but still didn’t apply them. But believe me, if you did know what irreversible impact the deprivation of sleep and insomnia have on your physical and mental health, you would want to act now. And that your body and brain will not be able to fully recuperate any loss of sleep, that is something you should know, too. And that if you are about to undergo a medical procedure, you would better ask your doctor how many hours he slept the previous night. Yes, not sleeping enough is health- and life-threatening (on so many levels). So I will not tell you much else about the book, because, you do have to read it yourselves, but I will say what changes I myself have made so far based on Matthew Walker’s advice.
 
 
Irina Georgescu Illustration

Illustration by Irina Georgescu

 
No screen time within two hours of bedtime. No work on laptop or iPad. I’m not into social media, which means I didn’t have anything to cut off from in that department, but writing email drafts (I say drafts, because I believe it’s unprofessional to send emails at any time of day or night, and, no, it does not prove that you are productive), or working on a new project could often turn into long hours into the night. So I just stopped working at night and became more organized during the day. I was surprised to find out how doable that was. And here comes the difficult part: I had to say no watching movies before bedtime (I say movies because I don’t watch tv). Guys, if you’ve been visiting this site for a while, you know that I would bindge-watch every night if I could (which in fact my husband and I have done many times over the years, and, truth be told, few things can beat that) and the fact that I have even started to reconsider watching a movie in the evening should give you an idea about the impact this book has had on me.

I don’t drink coffee after 2 p.m. anymore. That second cup of coffee was one of my daily biggest pleasures, but I stopped from day one after reading about it in the book.

Relax before bed. I am an over-achiever who is trying to over-schedule every day of the week. I am learning to cut me some slack and find ways to unwind. Easier said than done. But I am trying to transform reading into my bedtime ritual again. Even more than watching a film, reading a book is the thing that truly relaxes me, because, to be honest, my mind sometimes wanders off to to-do lists and stressful matters even while watching a film. And we always listen to music with our son before his bedtime.

We dim out the lights in our house with at least one hour and a half before bedtime. And make sure you don’t have white lights in your home.

Take a hot bath before bed. I am a shower person (Are you kidding me? Just think of the time you save showering instead of taking a bath! Yes, I am that stressed about my time management.), but whenever I take a bath before bed, it helps a lot.

Dark bedroom, cool bedroom, comfortable bedroom, gadget-free bedroom.I’ve never been able to sleep (even before having sleep problems) in total darkness. I have now started to close the blinds completely. I sometimes cheat and leave them a little open, but I have realised that I do sleep better when it’s darker. Another important aspect is room temperature. Let me put it this way. You sleep better when it’s a little cold than when it’s too hot in the room. Comfort: I can not sleep if I do not have a good, firm mattress, a comfortable pillow, cotton sheets. And last, we’ve never allowed phones or iPads in the bedroom, but we gave in to a tv to use only on those nights when we wanted to indulge ourselves and watch Seinfeld. Yes, really, we still watch Seinfeld, and, yes, really, that’s all we’ve ever watched in the bedroom from time to time. So Seinfeld had to go, too. Radical choices (for a movie buff)? Definitely. Necessary? Absolutely.

Don’t lie in bed awake. If I can’t sleep, I go to another room and read a book (I used to go to another room when I couldn’t sleep before, too, but I would turn on my iPad and work).

The biggest struggle of all (and the most important rule, according to Matthew Walker) remains going to sleep at the same hour and waking up at the same hour, even on weekends. I am slowly getting there.

I let my son sleep in if he has had an unrestful sleep during the night or had trouble going to sleep at the right hour (he usually wakes up by himself early, as any child going to bed at the right hour, with a healthy sleep, should) and skip kindergarten. I know this is not an option for many or some parents, but my schedule affords me to do that and so I do it, no remorses whatsoever.

And here are a few more tips for healthy sleep, which were already part of my daily routine and lifestyle, and which Matthew Walker advices readers to follow.

Eat dinner early. Do not exercise in the evening. Have the right sunlight exposure (get outside in natural sunlight for at least thirty minutes each day). No alcohol in the evening. No smoking. Avoid sleeping pills (and seek the help of a sleep specialist instead).

I also highly recommend listening to this Fresh Air podcast, where Terry Gross interviews the author.

Posted by classiq in Books | | 2 Comments