Insomnia and poor sleep patterns rear their heads far more frequently these days. A host of factors combines in modern life to ensure that sleep is no longer easily obtained. Even those that get a reasonable amount of sleep each night can struggle to drift off or face irregular patterns.
Sleep is vital for good physical and mental health. Therefore, it is important to make more of an effort to improve sleep hygiene and bedtime routines.
Some people will do their best to create a better pattern. They will set the same alarm each morning and shut off the lights at the same time each night. Even so, the problem often persists. They find themselves lying awake for long periods or dealing with un-refreshing sleep. This is where sufferers need to look a little further into alternative solutions. The answer may lie with the bedroom’s features and décor, more than their habits. Some simple alterations can improve a bedroom drastically.
Better sleep is about more than a good routine. Ultimately, it is best to create a more beneficial, wider environment that helps with sleep hygiene and relaxation. Therefore, all bedrooms need a rethink to help to evoke the senses in the right way or block them out. For example, a pair of earplugs and a sleep mask is “step one” for dealing with sight and sound. There is more to achieve than that within a well-designed bedroom environment.
Everyone with poor sleep patterns needs to consider the following:
- Is the room dark enough?
- Is the room quiet enough?
- Is the room cool enough?
If the answer is no to any of these – or all three – then it is time for some changes in the bedroom.
The circadian rhythm is essential for better sleep. We rely on a natural cycle of sunlight and darkness. However, this is out of sync with many people due to lifestyles and modern tech.
It is vital to get plenty of light while the sun is up and embrace darkness when it goes down. This means a dark bedroom – as dark as possible to create that ideal contrast. The first place to start here is with blackout curtains. These thick curtains reduce the amount of light from outside and make a big difference, especially in built-up urban areas. In addition to this, it is worth trying to remove light source in the room. Also, try and cover up standby lights or other annoying sources in the room.
There is a fine line here between a good noise level and bad ones. Sudden, infrequent noises can disrupt sleep. This is especially true when they are sharp or unexpected. For example, the beep of an email alert, a siren outside or the buzz of a neighbor’s intercom. Some noises are uncontrollable, but others are not.
Sleepers can close the windows on noisier nights, where possible, or put in earplugs. It also helps to turn off notifications on any device left in the room. At the same time, too little noise can also be discomforting. We are too used to the hum of everyday life, so silence is uncomfortable. White noise apps and white noise machines help here. They offer the “right” sort of noise and block out annoying ones.
It is difficult to sleep when the room is too hot or too cold. A hot summer’s night with no breeze leaves people restless. A chilly night leaves people shivering and fighting over covers. An AC in the bedroom can help to regulate temperatures. If this is too expensive, or not viable, sufferers can open windows, use a blanket and change the thickness of the comforter to match the season.
It also helps to be strict with electronic devices within the bedroom set-up.
Electronics devices are one of the worst culprits when pointing the finger at the cause of bad sleep. So many people watch TV before bed, play games on tablets or check social media at a late hour. This all leads to contact with a negative light source and a too much brain activity.
It is best to completely unwind for an hour before bed with no device at all. This helps the brain realize that it is time for sleep. In addition to this, it lessens stress and anxiety by placing work, social issues, and news stories to one side. Therefore, it is best to make the bedroom a device-free zone where possible. No working on a laptop, no television and no social media distractions.
This is easier said than done for those that use their phones as an alarm clock. So, there has to be a compromise. The best approach is to turn down the brightness on the screen, mute notifications and place the phone away from the bed. This alternative placement also means that users have to get out of bed to turn it physically off.
Changes to the bedroom decor for better sleep
The 3 points listed above all provide a little extra help with sleep comfort. They are small-scale aids and changes with a big impact on the person’s health. They do little to transform the room, but the following ideas take things further.
Here are some ideas for a more literal bedroom makeover regarding décor. This all depends on the attitude of the homeowner. They can go for the quick fixes, or they can go all in for a whole new room with multiple potential benefits.
There are many ways to add lots of soothing elements to make the room more tranquil. The further the design goes, the greater the potential for a cozy, welcoming sleep environment.
Designers often talk about mood boards, and the mood is essential here.
Those blackout curtains and white noise machines won’t help all that much if the room still triggers negative feelings. It is best to sleep in a room that relaxes its occupants at every opportunity.
The first way to achieve this is the color and decor. Different colors trigger different emotions and memories. Bold, energizing colors and prints clash with a sleeping environment.
This, therefore, means that many like to work with natural colors of the forest. This is ideal for all those nature lovers that will find it soothing and calm after a day in the office. Others will prefer to sleep opposite a wall the same cool blue as the ocean or summer sky.
Then there are those that attribute the relaxing properties of lavender to more than the scent. It can be anything that occupants have a strong connection with. Experts advise designers to use a matte finish here, rather than gloss, for the best effect.
The color scheme is an important starting point to set the mood, but there is more to this approach than that.
Following the color, designers can work on other elements of this makeover that will treat the senses. As mentioned above, the senses play an important role in sleep hygiene. Therefore, it helps to treat them, rather than bombard them with negative stimuli. The sound is part of the section above on noise levels in a bedroom.
What about touch and smell? An unpleasant odor can keep people awake, while pleasant ones trigger relaxation and good memories.
Aromatherapy is an important part of sleep hygiene, but it isn’t limited to the bathroom. Spritzes beside the bed are great to spray onto pillows, such as lavender scents or other soothing aromas.
As for touch, the feel of the room is important too. Soft fabrics and cushions are essential – something that owners want to sink into. The last thing that they need is something scratchy and irritating.
Add a little Hygge for an alternative approach.
Some people will look at Hygge as a current fad with limited worth. Something that Americans have jumped upon for 5 minutes without fully engaging with it. This may be true for some people. However, this is a way of life in Denmark. This is all about a gentle, cozy approach to life that balances some me-time with social interactions.
There is a pleasant pace, a focus on unplugging and plenty of relaxation. This all links in with sleep hygiene pretty well. Those that unplug, enjoy some cocoa with a book and shake off the day’s stress tend to enjoy better sleep. Therefore, it makes sense to bring a little Hygge into the bedroom decor to improve a sleeping environment.
Designers should embrace natural colors and fabrics, find throws and cushions, and create a cozy reading nook.
Why create a reading nook?
These little reading spaces offer a place of sanctuary. It is a comfortable place to rest up for a little while, leave technology behind and immerse in a story. This is important at any time of day.
Reading nooks offer a break in the middle of the day where workers can switch off for a chapter or two. However, there are plenty of benefits to reading before bed with a hot drink.
As mentioned above, an hour away from the screen before bed can help with sleep. Therefore, it is best to not only put the devices away but engage in a tech-free activity. Reading lessens stress and anxiety before bed. Reading in a favorite corner or chair with herbal tea or cocoa increases that sensation.
Whatever the decor and arrangement, it is essential to keep the room tidy.
A clean uncluttered space can mean a relaxed mind. Workers use this principle with their desk spaces to limit anxiety and improve focus. It is also much easier to relax in a tidy, uncluttered bedroom than a messy one.
Where possible, all tasks and work-related items should relocate to the living room or kitchen. This means they are not there as an uncomfortable reminded of tasks not yet completed or other problems. The bedroom should only contain items essential for sleep and relaxation.
A tidy bedroom also means making the bed each morning. A little effort before leaving for work can make a big difference. It all determines the state of the room that workers return to.
Ideally, that room will be clean and be inviting with a nice scent, and that cozy nook prepped with a book and cushions. This means no mess on the bed, no dirty clothes lying around and no half-drunk cups of coffee, or work papers.
Making the bed may not seem that important compared to other factors here. Stats from the National Sleep Foundation poll show that who do are 19% more likely to enjoy better sleep.
Consider Changes To The Bed
So far, all of the changes and approaches mentioned the focus on the external influences and area around the bed. This is great for creating that safe sanctuary around the bed during sleep. However, it is easy to overlook the bed itself.
There are three aspects to consider here:
- the mattress
- the pillow
- the covers
The mattress can make a big difference for a comfortable night’s sleep. That is because it cradles users in the right position and helps to regulate temperature. A misshapen, lumpy old mattress may cause discomfort, even if users feel used to it.
A new mattress opens doors to new feelings of comfort and sensation. The same is true for the pillow. They can become flat, old and unpleasant. Therefore, it is best to replace them often with a supportive, plump alternative. Finally, there are the covers. They must feel good against the skin and offer the right temperature regulation.
All these approaches can transform a bedroom into a room for better sleep.
There are different levels of these bedroom makeovers. Some people may focus on a single issue, like the noise or light, and try for a solution there. This approach could work if they can pinpoint one specific cause of poor sleep. Others, meanwhile, will benefit from the full makeover for a more relaxing, beneficial sleeping space.
Comfort, color, sensory treats and a little bit of Hygge all combine for a better bedroom for better sleep.