Over the last decade, sleep has come to be recognized as the “third pillar” of good health, along with balanced nutrition and regular exercise.1 And with new research shedding light on the importance of sleep on regulating moods, boosting cognitive function, and improving our performance levels, more and more people are making haste to get themselves to bed on time to ensure they get the required 7 hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.
A blinking clock at your side, rowdy next-door neighbors, and annoying honking sounds from the street outside does not make the best recipe for a good night’s sleep. And while these sleep-disrupting elements are not in your control, turning your bedroom into a haven of peace certainly is.
Here are some tips for a bedroom-design plan to seal in the calm and block out the noise.
1. Make Your Bed More Comfortable
The first step to designing a bedroom that supports a good night of undisturbed sleep is a deliciously comfortable bed. And while we’re all for money-saving life hacks and cheaper alternatives, this is one part of your bedroom we do not recommend scrimping on.
Start by investing in a good mattress. Most times, a quality mattress that offers proper support makes all the difference so choose the best you can afford. Be sure to stick to the regular “turnings” and other maintenance routines as instructed by your mattress manufacturer. This will prevent sagging and wear and tear and will help your mattress last you throughout the seasons.
Finish off with some soft, clean sheets, a warm blanket, a thick comforter, and a few accent pillows. That’s about how easy it is to set up a bed that welcomes you into a night of restful sleep.
2. Choose A Cool Or Pastel Color Scheme
Did you know that people who sleep in bedrooms that are painted blue sleep longer than those who sleep in rooms painted in different colors?2
According to experts, there are specialized receptors in our eyes that relay information to the part of your brain that controls your body’s 24-hour rhythm, which, in turn, controls everything – from performance to how you feel physically during the day. These receptors also happen to be the most receptive to the color blue, which is commonly associated with feelings of calmness. Feeding your receptors with this color can help reduce blood pressure and heart rate – two important factors that help you slip easily into restful slumber.3
Not a huge fan of blue? Try going for shades of green, grays, or neutrals. If you prefer warmer colors for your bedroom, avoid the garish, bright hues and stick to pastel tones instead. For instance, choosing pale yellow can help you achieve a warm, cozy look for your bedroom without giving you too much trouble falling asleep.
3. Opt For Controlled Lighting
We know that the hormone melatonin is responsible for inducing sleep. But not many of us know that its secretion is triggered by your body’s exposure to darkness.4 The longer your body stays exposed to light, the longer it takes for your pineal gland to secrete melatonin, which will, in turn, end up keeping you awake for longer.
This is your cue to look into the lighting specs of your bedroom.
Go for a lighting mechanism that you can dim at your will. This will create a softer atmosphere that will help your body get ready for sleep. You could also invest in thick curtains with blackout liners to create a completely dark bedroom. These will also come in handy in spring and summer by blocking out the heat and keeping your room cool – another factor that plays a huge role in getting some good sleep.
4. Keep Out The Electronics
You could block out all the light you want by using controlled lighting systems and thick curtains, but if you’re going to be bringing your laptop or smartphone into bed with you, you’re still going to have trouble getting that much-needed shuteye.
Computers, laptops, tablets, Kindles, smartphones, and televisions have undoubtedly become a large part of our activities throughout the day, but unfortunately, these electronics are the biggest sleep offenders that experts caution us against.
Firstly, the blue light emitted by electronic devices is enough to trick your brain into thinking it’s time to wake up, not wind down. Secondly, it also stops your pineal gland from releasing melatonin, that essential sleep hormone we were talking about. Melatonin is released a few hours before bedtime to make you sleepy when you hit the sack, that is if your body is exposed to darkness.5 6 The longer you stay awake watching Netflix, the more you expose yourself to blue light and the longer it takes for your body to release melatonin. And trust us, no amount of counting sheep is going to get you to sleep when you finally hit the pillow.
So make your bedroom an electronic-free zone. You should also set a rule for yourself where you ditch all your electronic devices and gadgets at least an hour before you head to bed. If you can’t sleep, try reading a book. Instagram and Facebook can wait until morning.
5. Turn Down The Heat
We made a mention earlier of how curtains can help contribute to good sleep by blocking out the heat from your bedroom during the warmer seasons. So what exactly does temperature have to do with sleep?
Your body is naturally designed to lose a few degrees as you fall asleep. As you approach the waking hours, it returns to a warmer temperature. So while keeping your bedroom cool can jump-start the process and make it easier to doze off, a bedroom that’s too warm will only interfere with your body’s ability to lower its temperature which will, in turn, disturb your sleep.
The next time you prepare yourself for bedtime, lower the temperature in your room by a few degrees than usual. Experts suggest that a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for optimal sleep.7
|↑1||Healthy Sleep: Division of Sleep Medicine. Harvard Medical School.|
|↑2, ↑3||What your bedroom paint colors have to do with sleep quality. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑4||Masters, Alina, Seithikurippu R. Pandi-Perumal, Azizi Seixas, Jean-Louis Girardin, and Samy I. McFarlane. “Melatonin, the hormone of darkness: from sleep promotion to Ebola treatment.” Brain disorders & therapy 4, no. 1 (2014).|
|↑5||Figueiro, Mariana G., Brittany Wood, Barbara Plitnick, and Mark S. Rea. “The impact of light from computer monitors on the melatonin levels in college students.” Biog Amines 25 (2011): 106-116.|
|↑6||Gooley, Joshua J., Kyle Chamberlain, Kurt A. Smith, Sat Bir S. Khalsa, Shantha MW Rajaratnam, Eliza Van Reen, Jamie M. Zeitzer, Charles A. Czeisler, and Steven W. Lockley. “Exposure to room light before bedtime suppresses melatonin onset and shortens melatonin duration in humans.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 96, no. 3 (2010): E463-E472.|
|↑7||The Ideal Temperature For Sleep. National Sleep Foundation.|