One of the things I miss most living in NYC is seeing the nighttime stars. I grew up camping and have many wonderful nocturnal memories counting shooting stars and guessing at constellations. City life detaches us from that primordial nighttime sky connection. As a designer of healthy home environments, light pollution is a growing concern for myself and for anyone who understands that our quality of life is directly connected to our natural environment.
Artificial light can be highly disruptive to biological patterns such as sleep, which are critical to our health on many levels.
One of the most important factors in creating an optimal bedroom environment is complete darkness, which can be difficult to achieve in a city with abundant ambient streetlight. To achieve a dark slumber space, I often suggest using lined drapery to help create a womb-like (as well as soundproof and cool) sleeping den. But please make certain your blackout lining is not made of vinyl, a material that has health risks associated with it. There are plenty of non-vinyl curtains to choose from, so be sure to avoid PVC in your blackout curtain. Another tip in creating a peaceful mood is placing all lights on dimmers, and now that vast improvements have been made on compact fluorescent lamps, you don’t need to sacrifice ambiance for environmentalism. Light some candles (healthy versions include beeswax or soy), and viola — a Zen Den perfect for getting those well needed zzz’s.
In addition to offering practical design solutions, I always like to infuse some magic with the mundane!
Cultivating even a basic awareness of the moon cycles we (women especially) can work with powerful lunar energy. New moons are a time to bring in the new: intentions, projects, goals, while full moons are the perfect time to celebrate the success of those goals — howling is always encouraged!
I believe that understanding and protecting our rapidly vanishing nighttime environment is an important endeavor.
We’ve come a long way since my childhood camping days, when seeing stars seemed to be taken for granted. Our dark skies are becoming so precious that there are now luxury travel destinations to experience them!
If you do find yourself stuck in New York City, you can at least stargaze virtually at the Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center, which boasts the most technologically advanced space theater in the world (and some really rocking monthly parties at One Step Beyond).
There is no denying we are all ‘star stuff,’ and like Sting says, “Bring on the Night … “