Are you sleep deprived? According to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, as many as one in four Canadians are affected by sleep problems. Unfortunately, when sleep suffers, it has a ripple effect through your life. You feel more fatigued, drowsy, stressed out and less interested in things like sex or work, and, studies show, more vulnerable to car accidents, diabetes, heart attacks and weight gain, says Dr. Lawrence J. Epstein of Harvard Medical School. Yikes!
Here’s the good news: Many sleep problems can be ameliorated by a bedroom makeover. Seriously!
Here are seven ways you can make your bedroom a more restful place so you can catch your doctor-recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
1 Design your bedroom as a single-purpose space
Bedrooms were not meant to be multitasking rooms. The best bedrooms are single purpose: They’re for R&R (ie. sleeping, resting, curling up with a good book, lovemaking). So avoid using your boudoir as an extra home office space, workout area or family play area. When people try to cram too much into their rest spaces, sleep suffers. Move extraneous items to other parts of your home.
2 Banish bedroom clutter
An overflowing closet can interfere with the goal of creating a calm bedroom oasis. “A great wardrobe system is a fantastic way of organizing clothes, shoes, accessories and other bedroom clutter,” says Tamara Robbins Griffith of IKEA Canada, who suggests maximizing your bedroom’s storage capacity by extending storage space right up to the ceilings when building cabinetry or closets.
Another solution that boosts storage while ensuring a clean, uncluttered look: under-bed storage, whether built into the unit or courtesy of rolling bins.
3 Control those dust bunnies
Dust can trigger allergies, preventing you from gaining a restful sleep. Dust mites, which are microscopic pests that live in soft surfaces like bedding, have a similar effect, especially in people who have asthma. So keep your bedroom clean: dust surfaces, wash your bedding weekly, vacuum the mattress surface periodically and vacuum regularly under the bed.
4 Use blackout window treatments – or get the effect through layering
The presence of light – even dim light – can alter your natural sleep patterns, making for a less rejuvenating sleep. Block streetlights and other sources of illumination with blackout drapes. If you can’t find a pair you like, try one of these alternatives.
“Blinds made from thicker, more opaque textiles may create a ‘blackout’ effect even when not labeled as such,” says Tamara. “And layered window treatments make a big difference as well. Using a combination of blinds or a shade, as well as drapery panels, gives a soft, fully-dressed look and offers additional light filtration.”