Sleep is incredibly important for our physical and mental health. From diets and exercise to pills and special spa treatments, there are many things we can try to improve the quality and length of your sleep. But there’s one important aspect of sleep that many of us overlook—our bedroom spaces.
One of the first things sleep experts will tell you to explore and adjust are your sleeping conditions. That means making changes to your routine and to your bedroom.
If you’ve struggled with sleep in the past, you’re probably already familiar with at least some of the most common recommendations for creating a restful space in your bedroom. From major changes like a new bed or fresh coat of paint to simple adjustments like adding houseplants or switching up your lighting, there are a number of changes you can make to create a restful bedroom. Here are 6 of our favourites:
1. Invest in a better bed
A good mattress is the foundation for a better sleep, and the foundation of a good mattress is a quality bed frame. Considering how long we spend sleeping, a new mattress and bed frame is well worth the investment, especially if you’ve had the same bed since the 1990s (or earlier). It’s harder to fall asleep if your current bed is uncomfortable, and once you do slip off to dreamland, you’re more likely to toss and turn, resulting in poor sleep.
Don’t underestimate the impact of style—while your mattress and box spring matter most, a sturdy bed frame that suits your style can have a big impact on how you feel when you’re in your bedroom, which can also impact your sleep quality.
What qualifies as a good bed is different for everyone—we all have different needs and bodies, and comfort is relative. In general, you want a sturdy bed frame with a supportive yet soft mattress that doesn’t heat up too much as you sleep.
You’ll also want some soft, good quality sheets to slide into that help you maintain a nice, comfortable temperature:
2. Calming colours
The most calming colours to the human eye are pulled from our natural environment—think muted shades of blue and green.
You don’t have to transform your bedroom into a monochromatic space without any other colours to create a restful environment. If repainting isn’t in the cards, consider installing a temporary wall mural to create a calming accent wall, or investing in blue and green artwork, sheets, or blankets to help foster a calm, sleep-inducing atmosphere.
3. Real greenery
Whether you add a bouquet that you change out regularly or a permanent houseplant, there is always a way to add life and greenery to your bedroom. For the same reason we find the colour green calming, many people feel more relaxed when surrounded by plants. As an added bonus, some of them, such as snake plants, can also help filter your air.
Even bedrooms that get so little natural light they feel like they don’t have any windows at all can incorporate greenery with the help of a grow light and a timer (set to run during normal daylight hours, or night-time hours if you work the night shift). And you don’t need to invest in a ugly grow-light! Special grow light bulbs are available to fit almost any light fixture.
Popular easy-to-care-for houseplants include:
- Snake plants
- Spider plant
- ZZ Plant
|DESIGN TIP: Not all indoor plants are pet-safe, so do your research before you buy anything that your dog or cat could easily reach and ingest.|
4. Good lighting
A bright, cool-coloured, exposed bulb lamp may be well-suited for your home workspace, but it is not ideal for sending you off to dreamland. The lighting you want in your bedroom should be warm, not too bright (or dimmable at least), and easily directed so it doesn’t shine in your eyes while you are reading or preparing to go to sleep:
5. A screen-free room
Swap your jarring phone alarm for a gentle wake up light-alarm clock and leave your phone, tablet, laptop, and other devices in the hallway or tucked away inside a drawer in your room. You may even want to consider relocating your television to a different space.
There are some studies that show that a blue-light blocking filter might prevent the lighting from these devices from keeping you up, but the real problem is that these devices are mentally stimulating. Notifications and the constant call of social media can easily keep you awake well past bedtime, so do your best to disconnect for an hour or so before lights out.
6. Cut down on clutter
The minimalist style may not be for you, but having an organized room with less stuff may actually help you sleep better. Even if you can’t truly get your space tidied up, stuffing things away in drawers and closets will help reduce visual clutter and calm your mind.
Nightstand Styling Tips
Nightstands or bedside tables are a unique item in your house. They’re primarily functional pieces of furniture, but you still want them to look nice, and it can be hard to find something that suits all of your needs. Whether you want a nightstand with drawers, shelves, or a combination of both, deciding what to keep in and on top of your bedside table to strike a balance between keeping things you need handy and staying organized can be difficult.
What to keep on top of the nightstand
One of the trickiest things about bedside tables is that it can be easy to accidentally knock things over while you are asleep, especially if you are an active sleeper. When it comes to the top of your nightstand, keep it minimal. How about a book or magazine? Too much clutter can also interrupt your sleep. Instead, stick to just the essentials on the top of your bedside table.
|DESIGN TIP: If space is at a premium, consider opting for a floor lamp, wall sconce, or small pendant centred over the nightstand instead of a table lamp.|
If you’d like to keep some decorative items visible, consider investing in a bedside table with a shadow box. These pieces are ideal for displaying trinkets and tchotchkes while keeping the top surface clear:>
What to keep in nightstand drawers
Anything you might need throughout the night but doesn’t need to be easily on hand should be stored in the drawers of your nightstand.
|DESIGN TIP: If you need more storage, a simple way to add it without over-stuffing your drawers is by using wall-mounted organizers or hanging caddies that slide in between your mattress layers.|
What to keep on shelves
If your nightstand has a shelf or floor space underneath, this is a good place to keep storage baskets or extra books.<
|DESIGN TIP: To get cords out of the way, fasten them down the back and along the leg of the nightstand with cable ties to keep them from getting tangled.|
Create a Restful Space
If improving your sleep is on the agenda for 2021, start by focusing on creating a restful bedroom space. There are a number of ways to create a relaxing space, including:
- Investing in a good bed
- Incorporating calming colours into the space
- Adding some plants
- Improving the lighting
- Keeping overly mentally-stimulating things, such as electronics, out of your room
- Keeping the space as tidy as possible
- Only putting essentials on top of your night stand
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