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Waking up in the morning is hard enough without dealing with the stuff that stands between your flailing arm and your alarm clock. A tidy, intelligently stocked bedside table is not a thing of fantasies and old issues of GQ. It’s entirely possible to trim down your bedside cache to just the necessities to set the mood, freshen up, and provide sufficient reading light.
A messy bedside table cannot be good for sleep. It should be a sacred space reserved for trinkets and personal items that are useful and soothing. Read on.
Note: This was originally published in 2017. It’s been updated with the latest, coolest products.
If you don’t have one already, the first step for getting a sweet bedside table set-up is… getting a sweet bedside table. A floating side table lets you put it at any height next to your bed. This one has a drawer and a shelf underneath. It’s made of solid beech wood and comes in black, white, or natural wood finishes. It’s 15.75 inches wide, 11.8 inches deep, and 9.45 inches tall. $180.
The aluminum Jabees LED desk lamp has got wireless charging for iPhones and other Qi-enabled devices, plus a USB charging port in the back. Use the touchscreen buttons on the base to adjust the brightness, toggle between four color temperature modes, and set a timer that’ll shut off the light when you want to fall asleep. $50.
If you don’t have a smart lamp or smart bulb—or smart anything for that matter—on your bedside table, grab a WeMo smart plug to give yourself more control over your less connected appliances. The plug connects over WiFi and is compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Their smartphone app lets you control your the devices from outside the home and set schedules for when to turn appliances on and off. Importantly, it plugs directly into your old outlets. $30.
This 8.5-ounce, soy-derived Brooklyn Candle Studio candle burns for 55-65 hours, comes in an amber glass container, and smells like cedarwood and vanilla. $40.
It isn’t great to stare at your screens before you go to bed. Have an analog clock to peek at if you are curious about the time. This clock is small—fits in your palm and only weighs 2 ounces—and comes with an alarm clock, backlight, and luminous arms that makes the hour readable at night. $10.
This Marpac Dohm white noise machine, which PopSci featured in the nightstand essentials section of our Time issue a few months back, uses a two-speed asymmetrical fan to generate a constant sound that can be adjusted by both pitch and volume. It comes in black, white, and gold. $50.
For the sentimental type, a digital picture frame will make mornings a bit brighter. The Nix Advance won’t take up much room, and has a 1024 x 768-resolution screen that allows you play both photos and 720p videos from a USB drive or SD card. It’s got a motion sensor that’ll turn on when you wake up, and the display includes a clock, calendar, and stereo speakers. $100.
Listen, you’re going to have small, random items cluttering up your bedside table, so you may as well plan for your Chapstick, hand cream, dongles, and more. These square succulent containers are made of white ceramic come with a wooden holding tray, so they’re cute and keep your stuff compartmentalized. You can use them as plant homes, as a jewelry holder, or a tray to hold your midnight snacks. No plants are included. $10.
This bedside rejuvenation wrinkle cream by Kiehl’s is silky smooth and helps keep skin feeling fresh. It also reduces the appearance of fine lines around the eyes. $42.
This leather pocket keeps your lenses protected, and the bright color means you can find your glasses even if your vision is just terrible. $13.
There is nothing better than waking up to a beautiful sunny day, but not all of us have bedrooms that face east, and it’s not always sunny. This wake-up light generates fake sunlight to help you wake up. It has 20 brightness settings and uses a gradual wake-up system. Basically the light starts getting brighter 20-40 minutes before your alarm is set to go off, which means you’re being woken up slowly. No more sudden squawking from your phone; along with the light itself, this lamp comes with five nature-inspired alarm sounds (like birds chirping) to get you out of bed. $100.
The Native Union DOCK+ is made of weighted silicone and cut aluminium intended to match the look of your phone. It includes a lightning cable and will fit devices with cases. Your phone will be upright and easy-to-see if you get a message while in bed. $60.
Warby Parker Barkley Sunglasses
These sunnies from Warby Parker have polarized lenses with anti-scratch coating and come in four colors. They are cut from a single sheet cellulose acetate—a natural plastic—to keep color consistency in the frame. There is a 30-day return policy, so feel free to exchange them for another pair if you don’t like the fit. They don’t need to live on your nightstand, of course, but that’s where I keep my frames. $95.
This VHS table lamp’s LED lights give off a soft yellow light. If you aren’t a Strange Things fan—I don’t know how that’s possible—they have VHS lamps for other films such as The Shining and Blade Runner. $40.
This unscented, organic product is made with argan oil, evening primrose oil, and vitamin E. It will help manage split-ends, soften your beard, and treat both beard dandruff and irritation. If you wake up scratching, lube up and get back to your Zzzs. $20.
The solid cologne by Ulio & Jack—made with jojoba oil, shea butter, beeswax, and phthalate-free fragrance oil—comes in a 0.5-ounce slide-top tin. It smells like cardamom, mandarin, and sandalwood, and can fit in your pocket. $24.
Set your sights on this 19-inch-tall NES Zapper lamp. The Zapper is mounted onto an old NES controller. It uses standard-size lightbulbs and comes with the lampshade in the picture. Forget counting sheep. Turn off the light and count the ducks you hunt on your way to slumber land. $80.
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