7 ways to make your bedroom more sleep-friendly
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.”
5 Find the right mattress
If your mattress is over 10 years old, consider buying a new one, advises Harvard sleep expert Dr. Epstein.
Do your research. “The ideal mattress should suit your personal needs. It’s not about buying the most expensive one,” says Tamara. Talk with a mattress expert about your weight, preferred sleeping position and other sleep habits.
Some people sleep best on a firm futon, others on an eco-friendly and hypoallergenic natural-latex filled mattress, while others prefer a luxury coil or memory foam model. When mattress shopping, dress for comfort and wear easy-to-slip-off footwear so you can spend time sprawling out and testing samples.
“Lie on your favourite one for as long as you need to before you buy to make sure it’s comfortable,” says Dr. Epstein.
6 Find the right pillow
The right pillow cuts back on midnight tossing and turning. “You sleep most comfortably when the muscles in your head and neck are totally relaxed. If you’re a typical side sleeper, your muscles need more support from a high pillow. If you prefer to sleep on your back, a pillow of medium thickness will do. And if you’re a stomach sleeper, a low pillow can give you the height of comfort,” says Tamara.
7 Create a restful mood with a bedroom design you love
Finally, once the technical aspects of a sleep-friendly bedroom space are addressed, turn your focus to decorating.
If you want to avoid counting sheep, choose a colour palette that creates a calm, restful vibe. Consider mellow, neutral hues inspired by nature. These can run the gamut from light, natural linen tones, through darker, meadow-inspired sage greens, or even deep, sea-worthy navy blues. Just be sure to avoid energizing brights or busy patterns in wall paint or wallpaper, bed linens and floor coverings.
And tailor your bedding for the season, advises Tamara. It’s not just about good design – it has practical implications when it comes to ensuring sleep comfort. “In the summer, you’ll save more energy by using lighter bed linens and not running the air conditioner as much. In the winter, cozier, heavier bedding will mean you don't need to crank the heat,” she says.
So, make over your bedroom today and you may find yourself sleeping better tomorrow.