Most of the time, you will be starting and ending the day in your bedroom. Arranging and optimizing your bedroom for a better night’s sleep is imperative to kick-start your workday or fun-filled day-off.
From the glare of an open laptop to piles of unworn outfits, many people just have too many distractions in their bedroom. Either that, or they poorly utilize the space, resulting in a cluttered, claustrophobic sleep environment.
While much of your bedroom set-up is ultimately left to personal preference, there are strategic decisions you can make to lower your stress levels, increase your quality of life, and, most of all, better your sleep.
So, let’s get started building a more sleep-inducing environment so you can create the sleep oasis of your dreams. (Literally!)
10 Ways to Transform Your Bedroom for Better Sleep
Bedroom space can be limited, and renters may not be able to make certain alterations to the room. Don’t worry. There are still plenty of alternative ways to arrange your bedroom for better sleep. Here are 10 tips and tricks for optimizing your bedroom for a good night’s sleep.
1. Ban Electronics
This one is probably the hardest, but it’s an essential part of bettering your sleep, especially when you’re first falling asleep. Electronics like your phone, TV, or tablet give off blue light, which can negatively affect your circadian rhythm.
Your circadian rhythm is like your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. If you’re falling asleep and waking up around the same time each day, your body gets used to it and releases hormones to maintain that rhythm. When your body thinks it’s time for bed, it releases the hormone melatonin to help you fall asleep.
However, if your eyes are taking in blue light from electronics, you’re effectively “tricking” your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, thus, no melatonin.
While it’s best to reserve your bedroom for sleep and intimacy, limited apartment space might leave you with nowhere else to park your entertainment center. If your bedroom pulls double duty as a living room, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to sleep deprivation. Simply make sure to turn off all electronics thirty minutes to an hour before bed to maintain your circadian rhythm if you need electronics in the room.
2. Keep it Clean
Regularly cleaning your sheets and bedding promotes your physical hygiene along with your sleep hygiene. You don’t need an expert to tell you that sleeping on clean and fresh sheets can positively impact your sleep more than dirty ones. Just think about every time you’ve crawled into a nice hotel bed!
You should wash your sheets at least once every week, but frequent travelers may be able to get away with it once every other week. On the flip side, if pets and children share the bed with you, you’ll want to wash your sheets every 3-4 days.
If you need extra motivation, remember that dust mites love dirty sheets, and the increase in skin flakes is like a meal at Gordon Ramsey’s Steak House. The presence of dust mites can lead to allergies and harm people with asthma. Washing your sheets is the best way to rid your sleep area of these critters, along with pet dander, dust, and sweat.
3. Remove Clutter
Stress will keep you up at night, and according to a mounting body of research, clutter is an easy way to induce stress. Clutter can remind you of all the little tasks left undone and make it harder to fall asleep as you fixate on your mental to-do list.
Take a look around your bedroom and ask yourself, “Does this need to be in here?” If you can find a new home for loose items and unnecessary furniture, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.
Clutter also includes dirty clothes and laundry. It includes a disorganized workstation (more on that later) and loose objects on the floor. Keeping your bedroom neat and organized is visually appealing and will take less than a minute if you keep up with it. That minute is well worth the stress relief you’ll find when getting ready for bed.
4. Cool It Down
Air temperature is a big one when it comes to making your bedroom better for sleep. The ideal room temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. As you sleep, your body temperature naturally cools down. This cooler room temperature will put you at a comfortable equilibrium as you get cozy under the covers.
Of course, the climate you live in will play a major role in your bedroom temperature as well. Keep track of the weather at night and, if you can, keep the windows open to cool the room down. Window ACs work well to cool down smaller bedrooms, but fans can still work if a window AC isn’t in the cards.
Finally, there are plenty of mattresses with cooling properties on the market if you are thinking about making a change.
Cooler climate? You might be in the perfect pocket. However, those that live further north of the equator can attest to cold nights in the bedroom. Thankfully, a few extra blankets will do the trick.
Remember, it is much easier to warm yourself up than it is to cool yourself down.
5. Control Light Levels
Blackout curtains are one of the best bedroom accessories you can buy, especially if your bedroom has east facing windows and takes in a lot of natural morning sunlight or if city and street lights are keeping you awake. Blackout curtains are also great for night-shift workers who will be sleeping more during the day.
For internal light, make sure your lamps have dim settings. A little bit of light reading is far better than watching TV at night, and you’ll obviously need a little bit of light to see. If you are hypersensitive to light, keep an eye mask on hand to block out those final few rays.
6. Out With the Old
If your mattress is nearing the 7-10-years-old mark, it’s time to think about buying a new one. Yes, a brand new bed is a serious financial investment, but it will have immeasurable benefits on your waking life.
You’ll know it’s time for a new mattress when your old one just doesn’t feel the same anymore, you’d rather sleep somewhere else, and you notice noise and indents that weren’t present before.
If it’s only been a few years, you may want to buy new bedding. You can only wash your sheet so many times before they eventually deteriorate. New sheets and pillowcases may be the fresh start you need to get a better night’s sleep.
Aim for sheets with a high thread count. They may cost a little more, but they are miles more comfortable.
7. Reduce Noise
Just as a bright environment isn’t good for your sleep quality, neither is a noisy one. Unfortunately, some people can’t help a noisy sleep environment, especially if they live in a city or on a busy street.
White noise from fans, mobile apps, alarm clocks, and white noise machines can help create an anchor of noise for your mind to concentrate on while you’re falling asleep.
White noise isn’t something you biologically need to fall asleep, but if it helps, it helps. Some sleep experts worry that white noise machines can become a crutch for people who don’t need them. However, if it helps drown out the other noises keeping you from achieving that restful night’s sleep, that may be a worthwhile trade-off.
Those who don’t wish to rely on white noise, though, may want to invest in earplugs or noise-canceling headphones.
8. Function Over Form
Yes, an aesthetically pleasing bedroom is a great way to reduce stress and get better sleep. However, don’t sacrifice efficiency for aesthetics. The quality of your mattress will play a big role in how well you sleep, but the quality of your other bedroom furniture should be accounted for.
For example, it’s best to maximize vertical space in a smaller bedroom, especially when sharing it with a partner. Investing in a taller bed frame may not look visually pleasing, but the available under-the-bed space is more valuable for storage. Shelving and taller dressers will free up floor space, making it easier to walk around if getting up to use the bathroom at night.
Likewise, if that ugly (but oh-so-comfortable) blanket is the miracle cure for helping you fall asleep, then don’t let anyone shame you into sacrificing comfort for style.
9. Improve Air Quality
Mold is no joke. If you live in a humid climate or find that your bedroom gets damp at night, you should invest in a dehumidifier. The presence of mold can lead to insomnia (not to mention numerous other health concerns, if left untreated).
Furthermore, odors from dirty sheets, floors, and laundry can also lessen the air quality and make the bedroom an overall less desirable place to rest your head.
10. Make Your Bedroom a “No-Work” Zone
As stated, it’s best to reserve the bedroom for sleep and intimacy. However, and especially in this work-from-home age, it can be hard not to turn your bedroom into your home office.
Your bedroom is supposed to be a place of relaxation. Mixing it with the stress of a busy day’s work makes for a less tranquil environment, and you’ll effectively turn your work problems into sleep problems.
If you can dedicate a different room in your house to work, then by all means, do so. If you can’t avoid working in your bedroom, it’s imperative that you use a desk. Those with limited space who need to work out of their bedroom should dedicate a corner or area as the “work station.” As tempting as it is to write that email from the comfort of your covers, you should never work from your bed.
Do What Works For You
You may not be able to hit on all the above tips, and that’s okay. Focus on the most important ones, and work your way down from there. Light and noise management should be your first priority for creating a good sleep environment. Then you can think about clearing some clutter out of your bedroom and finally setting up that home office you’ve always dreamed of.