Decorate Your Bedroom for Better Sleep
You probably don’t notice it, but the chances are you’re spending more time in your bedroom than in any other room of your house. While most people spend around a third of every day asleep, the truth is you need to spend some time in your bedroom both before and afterwards. It’s this time, when you’re waking up or falling to sleep, that we’re working towards improving this week.
Decorating for Successful Sleep
As in the natural world, where certain colours can tell you what is dangerous, or safe, to eat, the colour of your walls and furniture impact how you feel and act. Orange, red, and yellow are all colours that are known to excite people, preparing them to be active and raising the passions. Try to avoid including them in your bedroom, as they’re only going to work against you in a room where you need to be relaxed.
Blue is one of the most popular colours recommended by sleep and colour therapists. While blue light can negatively impact your ability to sleep, blue décor is relaxing, setting the mind at ease before bed. Deeper tones, closer to the natural colours of the night sky and twilight, are best, while avoiding intense, primary blue is a good idea.
Make Light Work of Sleep Hygiene
The quality of light in your bedroom should adapt to match the time of day, and your activity at that given time.
For waking up, you want bright, natural light so your brain can recognise that it is the start of a new day. This natural light is called a ‘zeitgeber’ by sleep scientists, because it helps your body unconsciously regulate its body clock, so you can maintain a regular pattern of waking and sleeping at set hours. A popular way to achieve this is to use an alarm clock with an integrated sunrise lamp. These gradually increase the level of light in your bedroom, providing a clear signal that it is the morning, even during the darker winter months.
When it comes to preparing your bedroom for better sleep, try to make your lighting versatile enough to fit both your morning and evening routines. Use a brighter ceiling light when you need to be awake and use less powerful wall or bedside lamps towards the end of the day to prepare yourself for sleep.
There’s also a lot of research about the impact of blue light on sleep quality. Much of our exposure to blue light comes from using mobile phones in bed – introduce a curfew after which no laptops, mobiles, or televisions are allowed, and you’ll soon feel the benefit when it comes to bedtime.
Removing blue light from your bedroom is a fantastic way to improve your sleep quality. Dr. Michael Breus recommends using brighter lights only when you want to stay alert, switching to warmer, blue-filtered bulbs in the evenings:
“If I had to choose only one thing to change in your bedroom, it would be to change your lights. I use lights fitted with bulbs that filter blue light in the evenings, and different bulbs to improve my productivity during the day.”
Keep it Cool for Better Sleep
When you fall asleep, your body temperature naturally drops, but this process begins as your body prepares to fall asleep. You shouldn’t do anything that dramatically increases your temperature before bed, instead try to keep your bedroom comfortable, but cool. Somewhere between 15-19 degrees Celsius is ideal, much higher and you’ll find yourself struggling to get comfortable.
Opening the window while you get ready for bed can help you maintain an optimal temperature for sleep, however make sure you close it before bed to keep noise out. Once you’re in bed, using natural bedlinen and pillows lets the air circulate, keeping you at a temperature that will help you sleep better.
This is why we use Herdwick wool inside our herdysleep mattresses. Unlike memory foam and latex mattresses, which can get hot and sweaty, a natural wool mattress lets air flow around you. If you keep your bedroom cool, you’re sure to sleep better on a mattress that lets your body breathe.
Keep Your Bedroom Tidy
For most of us, the bedroom is a multipurpose room. Not only is it the place where you sleep, but the bedroom is often where people get ready for the day ahead, as well as a quiet space to relax away from the bustle of home life. However, this means your bedroom can rapidly become cluttered with the things you use for each task.
Clutter not only gets in the way, making everyday tasks more stressful, but the mere sight of mess can harm the quality of your sleep. Simply seeing your messy room reminds you of future chores at the time you should be focussed on relaxing. It’s a lot harder to fall asleep if the last thing you see before bed is a shirt you need to iron in the morning, ahead of an important meeting!
Martin Reed writes “The truth is that messy rooms can negatively impact sleep. Clutter and disorder can make falling asleep harder, and it can lead to disturbed or interrupted sleep, as well as daytime sleepiness.” Simply tidying your room can pay massive dividends for the quality, depth, and duration of your sleep.
Start by keeping clothes in the wardrobe and laundry out of site, and organise your odds and ends, like makeup and jewellery. For the best quality sleep, however, move everything that isn’t needed right away out of the room – this means the television, the laundry hamper, your mobile phone, and your ironing.
In short, make it so when you look around your bedroom, it’s clear that this is a room for sleep, relaxation, and waking up. The last thing you want to think about before bed is work, after all!
Keep the Right Company
Many of us share a bed with someone else at some point in our lives, effectively doubling the chance of one or both parties waking each other in the night. But what about our four-legged friends? As hard as it can be to get pets to respect the rules, there is evidence to suggest that letting the dog on the bed leads to a lower quality of sleep.
It may be too late to teach Fido to stay off the bed, or to kick out your noisy neighbour, but there’s plenty you can do with the room itself to improve the quality of your sleep. Avoid bright colours and lights before bed, turn the heating down, and tidy your room to get a head start.
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