It’s amazing how many people neglect bedroom décor when they think about decorating their homes. They rationalize, if I only sleep there, what does it matter what the room looks like? The fact is, the way you decorate your bedroom can help or hurt how well you sleep. Whether it’s too-bright lighting sources, a lack of cleanliness, or even the color of the walls, there are a ton of factors that can add up to sleepless nights — and some you wouldn’t expect.
If you’re having trouble making yourself comfortable enough in your bedroom to get a good night’s sleep, take a look at the five tips below to see if maybe a change in décor is in order.
1. Adjust the Lighting
It’s difficult to overstate how important proper lighting is when it comes to feeling drowsy. Since we’re conditioned to become sleepy when it starts to get dark, our brains can become confused when there’s too much light at a time when it’s supposed to be dim. This can lead to a lot of tossing and turning when you’d really rather be drifting off into dreamland. If this is the case, the first thing to do is take a look at the wattage of bulbs in your bedroom’s lights. If the number is high, try picking out a bulb with a lower watt, like a 40- or 60-watt bulb — you’re aiming for ambient lighting, and preferably something that isn’t shining like a spotlight directly on your bed. Houzz recommends installing a dimmer switch so you can slowly lower the electrical lights as it gets closer to bedtime.
If it’s outside light that’s interfering with your sleep, take a hint from your friendly neighborhood goths and install heavy black curtains, or even blackout liners on the outside of your regular window coverings. They can help prevent that nagging morning light from shining through before you’re ready to face the day.
2. Choose Colors Wisely
Although you may not exactly be seeing the color of your bedroom décor while you’re asleep, it’s the first and last color you see when you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning, so you’ll want to make it something that soothes you.
“Choose wall colors that elicit warmth and calm,” advises the Sleep Foundation website.” Although researchers have studied the psychology of color and some believe that certain hues affect our mood (for example, red being stimulating), no one knows your color-feeling connections better than you do. Pick colors, artwork, blankets, and so forth that are soothing to you.” Choose a color scheme that gives you a sense of being in a calm sanctuary. If you need some ideas — and if you’re not someone who’s calmed by bright red or neon yellow — Houzz recommends that you pick the traditional “sleepy colors”: “Apply cool and warm hues and make use of neutrals to create balance. Soft shades of yellow, peach, green and blue are ideal.”
3. Enhance Your Bedroom With Scents
Of course you’re not going to be comfortable falling asleep in a smelly bedroom, but if you’re even having trouble getting to sleep in a neutral-smelling room, it’s time to make some olfactory improvements.
An article at Today quotes Dr. Natalie Dautovich as saying, “Your olfactory system is directly linked to the emotional center in your brain, so when you sniff something that brings back a good memory, your body releases feel-good, relaxing chemicals that can set the stage for great sleep.” Dr. Dautovich also recommends calming scents such as lavender, vanilla, and jasmine, which have a relaxing effect when inhaled. (It should go without saying that you ought to clean your bedroom frequently as well — nobody wants to wake up having a cough attack from too much dust, or fall asleep with a musty odor in their nostrils.)
Try spritzing your pillows with the scents, or making a potpourri sachet that you can place inside a pillowcase or dresser drawer. You can also decorate your bedroom with scented candles, but be sure to remember to blow them out before you fall asleep!
4. Pick a Comfortable Mattress
It should go without saying that the centerpiece of the bedroom — the bed itself — ought to be the most important thing when it comes to a good night’s sleep. However, it’s surprising how many people pick the wrong mattress, and end up feeling like Goldilocks with a bed too hard or a bed too soft. Suffice it to say, waterbeds are out, and if you’re sleeping on a futon, you may want to keep it short term — they can wreak havoc on your back and spine.
If you’re kept awake by an uncomfortable mattress, you may first want to try flipping it and reversing it end to end. You ought to be turning your mattress every month or so in general, just to ensure that no one area of the mattress is getting too much stress. But if you’re noticing that this isn’t doing the trick, Sleep Foundation says that your mattress “has seen its day” and that you should “check for worn or sagging spots in the middle or at the edges, and make sure that when your partner moves, your position on the bed isn’t disturbed. If you wake up tired or stiff, or if you find hotel beds extra cozy, it could be a clue that it’s time for a change” — and possibly time to treat yourself to a nice new bed.
“Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessarily better to sleep on an extra firm mattress, so use your body as a guide for what feels best through the night,” the website goes on to add. They note that certain mattress materials can conduct body heat differently, so you may want to take your location’s typical climate into consideration – you wouldn’t want heat-trapping memory foam if you live somewhere warm.
5. Keep the TV Out
Although it may be common practice to watch some TV before bed, try to keep the TV to a family room or den, and not install one in the bedroom. As mentioned in the first tip, exposure to too much light can keep you awake for longer, and things like televisions, computers, and tablets can all contribute. Also, having electronics in the bedroom can be a distraction, and it’s better to associate your bedroom as a place for sleep rather than an extension of your office or rec room.
Instead, put a stylish bookshelf next to your bed and stack it full of your favorite books. Not only will this add more of a homey feel to your bedroom, it can also encourage you to read a book before bed, which helps you relax and fall asleep more quickly.
It may not be one of your priority rooms when it comes to decorating your house, but the bedroom actually has a lot of power over how well you sleep — which can in turn affect your overall health and well-being. So when you’re setting out to make home décor changes, don’t forget about making your bedroom a sleep-inducing sanctuary — the positive benefits are worth it.