Whether snuggling in for the night or just trying to catch a few quick winks, your environment plays an important role in determining if you’re counting sheep or counting Zzzs. From noise reduction to lighting, there are a few easy ways you can turn your bedroom into a tranquil oasis.
“A third of the adult population suffers from insomnia from time to time, but only about 6 percent meet the criteria for an actual sleep disorder,” says Dr. Christina Brown from the Florida School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University in Tampa. “In a good number of cases, getting to sleep and staying asleep is a matter of your surroundings.”
Anne Holic, interior design instructor at The Art Institute of Washington, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, focuses on areas of the bedroom that you may want to re-evaluate in order to create the sleep haven you’ve been craving. These include lighting, furniture and decor.
Humans were created to be in-synch with the sun cycle. For this reason, Holic recommends installing dimmer switches on your lights, which she says can mimic the way the sun works. Holic also recommends using window treatments such as blinds or heavy drapes to eliminate light.
Both Brown and Holic warn about electronics that provide artificial light in the bedroom. “Get rid of your phones, TVs and tablets while in bed. The artificial light will interrupt your sleep cycle and keep your brain activated, making it harder to get to sleep and keep you off the more natural sleep patterns,” Brown says.
Furniture and decor:
Holic emphasizes that paint colors are important. You want to choose colors that are calm, such as blues, greens or a calm violet and avoid colors in the red family. In addition to color, Holic says people are thinking more environmentally and choosing paints with low or no volatile organic compound (VOC).
Simplifying the space is critical, according to Holic. She says that along with the TVs and computers, exercise equipment and any other potential disturbances should be removed from the bedroom. Don’t forget to include some inspiring artwork that is meaningful and brings you feelings of calm.
Make sure you have a comfortable mattress, and think about adding an area rug to your bedroom. “Area rugs give a cozy feeling to the room,” says Holic. “They work well, because carpets can harbor a lot of dust and mold.”
Brown recommends a white noise machine or ceiling fan to drown out the background noise. Holic agrees, adding that white noise, like the hum of a ceiling fan, can reduce the background noise you hear by about 20 percent.
If you are interested in following some of the principles of feng shui in your bedroom, Holic suggests keeping the bed away from doors and anchoring the bed with a strong headboard and nightstands on both sides.
Both Holic and Brown agree that keeping your home cooler during the night will help you sleep better. Keep your thermostat at the most comfortable cool setting, as changes in your body’s thermal regulation will wake you.
“In the short-term, just one sleep-deprived night can interfere with your ability to concentrate, affect your mood and even make you drowsy during the day,” explains Brown. If getting healthier is a goal for you, make getting adequate sleep part of your plan.