Sleep will always be in vogue. It will always be chic. That’s just the truth of the matter. And products that help us sleep will always be necessary.
It’s why Ashley Merrill, founder of silk sleepwear company Lunya, has dedicated her life to obsessing over all things rest. That means the softest PJs in the known universe, yes—but it also means everything else needed for a solid night of shuteye. With that in mind, Lunya recently launched The Rest Shop: a one-stop marketplace for being good in bed. Featuring brands such as OSEA, Crown Affair, and vitruvi (hello!), all personally vetted by Merrill, The Rest Shop is Lunya’s latest flag in the ground as a go-to sleep authority. And Merrill is leading the charge.
Over video during a jaunt to Costa Rica, the Los Angeles-based entrepreneur discusses her sleep must-haves, our “deficit unrest,” and more.
Congratulations on the launch of The Rest Shop. Where did the idea for it come from?
It really stemmed from an obsession with rest. And it certainly started with clothes, because I realized that I was wearing my husband’s old clothes to bed and was thinking, “I’m waking up at night with the wrong temperature,” or, “my shirt’s twisting,” or, “my shorts are riding up.” I felt like I could solve that. That felt like a solution I could put my arms around, but there was never an intention of stopping there. Our thought is that we are attacking the deficit unrest. So The Rest Shop has been in my head as a dream for a long time. At the end of the day, a lot of these companies that have been erected to solve really specific problems do an incredible job at it. I’m not trying to go out and create all of these products myself.
But it’s actually hard to figure out which ones are good and which ones aren’t—and where is it just marketing? So my thought was, ‘We’re trusted from a rest perspective; people know our products are good. They value our insights around rest. What if we help them further than sleepwear, and we help them find the best things to create a rest experience?” That’s really the vision behind it. We’re trying to keep it small; I actually don’t want a ton of products or a lot of difficult decisions. We’re trying to make this a relaxing shopping experience.
How did you go about picking the brands and the products that are carried in The Rest Shop?
I’ve tried more products than anyone should try. But I’m actually not a good sleeper, so I end up being really good at this process because I share this quest that a lot of people have [for a good night’s rest]. I still remember the first time I tried Magnesi-Om: I freaked out and texted Amanda [Chantal Bacon], who’s the founder of Moon Juice, and I was like, “How much can I take? Can I overdose on it?” I was freaking out, like, “this really is a game changer.”
So for me it felt really like the natural next step: I’m already out there in the market testing a lot of these things, so what if I just do it with more intentionality?
I want to be best in class. So I’m carrying the best-in-class products in each category.
What made vitruvi a good fit for The Rest Shop?
I think people underestimate the importance of aesthetic. I like my home to look really nice; I spend a lot of energy and time and money to try to make my home feel like a place I want to spend a lot of time in.
Certainly that is not the only reason I like vitruvi, but I will highlight that because I think that’s a differentiator for sure. The products are very minimalist, clean, and function very well. That was, right out of the gate, something that made a difference in my mind.
I have a house in Montana, and every room has a humidifier in it. And they are just ugly giant plastic things that sit in the middle of a very otherwise cute room. So I was very excited when vitruvi got into that game, because that aesthetic piece has been a big, big issue. I was excited to see vitruvi bring a lot of that same intentionality to the humidifier space.
You have a place in Montana—so do you watch “Yellowstone”?
Not not only do I watch it, but I have a place in what’s called the Yellowstone Club.
That is the most violent show, but I love it. I just can’t watch it before bed.
You mentioned the deficit unrest. How do you think we got here? Like, what is going on with everybody?
It’s two things: the accessibility that technology’s enabled combined with this always-on, gutted-out kind of working mentality. I think the combination of those things started to create an unsustainable situation for a lot of people. And I think what we’re seeing right now, the reason why it feels like it’s happening en masse, is because we’re seeing the downstream effects of what that all looks like.
You said you’re not a great sleeper. Aside from wearing Lunya sleepwear, what else do you do to set yourself up for rest?
I use a lot of pillows, and I’m very specific about the kind of pillows: I like the square-style ones, and I have four of them arranged around my body.
I’m a big tea drinker; I feel like there’s something about calming the inside of you as well as the outside of you. So a big part of my routine is definitely tea.
And then, okay, I do something that is not recommended by anyone, but I’ll tell you it works for me. I have a TV in my room, and there are certain shows that are amazing to fall asleep to (I use the sleep timer a lot). I know that every person who talks about blue light will say this is not the way to go, but I’m gonna say it’s the way to go. I’m very particular about the kinds of shows; I’m a big fan of Moving Art on Netflix. It’s great. It distracts my brain and also ends my day on beautiful images.
So it makes sense that “Yellowstone” is not a go-to-sleep show.
Game of Thrones is also not good, and The Handmaid’s Tale is also not good. There are forbidden shows; my husband will put them on and I’ll just be like, “No, no, this is not on the approved pre-bed list.”
What are some of your favorite Lunya products right now?
In terms of classic go-tos for everybody, the High Rise Pant Set is the first thing that I recommend to people. Silk is naturally thermoregulating, so it keeps a really great temperature. The waistband is designed with these special non-slip details to keep it from moving up and down. And then it’s got these slits in the legs which are good for movement.
We make sweats now and they’re amazing. I love to wear them around the house, but I also wear them under a big coat outside the house and they look really cute. They’re soft, they’re easy to wear, but they also look like you’re a bit more put together because they have a good style and the colors don’t feel too childish. They feel like mature sweats.
What makes you feel most at home in your space?
I mean, not to be cheesy, but probably family. Family and food. Family and food are when I know I’m home.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.