Lately, we’ve been talking about the ways to improve our health and wellbeing, from the Blue Mind Effect promoted by being in proximity to water or through introducing nature into our homes through biophilic design. Another cornerstone of good health is good sleep. Since a good many of us have the luxury of not having to set an alarm these days, we may as well make the most of getting good sleep by designing a more restful bedroom.
Lack of sleep can adversely affect our health and wellbeing including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Less than adequate sleep also causes reduced focus, productivity, and creativity.
Our bedrooms need to be a sanctuary that are designed to promote good sleep. Everything from the color, light, sounds, and temperature play a role in our ability to achieve the best sleep possible.
Steer away from bright, bold colors and patterns that stimulate the senses. Soothing, muted hues of blue, green, gray, and lilacs are restful and encourage the mind and body to enter a tranquil state.
Most lighting, and especially the LED bulbs that are so prevalent in today’s homes, emits a harsh blue slight spectrum that inhibits the natural product of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. “The single biggest environmental threat to a person’s sleep is light,” explains clinical psychologist and sleep expert, Michael J. Breus. Keep lighting low and use defused blue spectrum light bulbs in bedside lamps to keep the blue light at a minimum. Invest it good window coverings or blackout shades if your bedroom gets a considerable amount of light from outside sources.
Sounds can be disruptive to sleep – like traffic, barking dogs, and noisy neighbors. For others, too much quiet is also an issue. Noise machines disguises interruptive sounds while also providing a calming auditory experience. From ocean or rain sounds to simple white noise, these devices can help promote healthy sleep. If your partner is one who prefer quiet, the Dreampad Pillow offers personalized Bluetooth surround sound that invites deep sleep.
Studies have shown that an ambient temperature of 65 degrees is ideal for promoting sound sleep. Use a fan or air conditioning if necessary to cool down your sleeping space or add more blankets to your bed if the room is cooler. Fresh air is also a promoter of good sleep so crack open a window and allow the night air in, when possible.
Lavender, sandalwood, and some floral smells such as jasmine can help foster sleep. Stay away from invigorating aromas like citrus. An aromatherapy diffuser is a simple way to imbue your bedroom with a soothing smell. Using an essential oil sleep mist on your pillow can also achieve the same sleep-inducing benefits.
Clutter in our homes has been proven to increase anxiety and stress and a disorganized bedroom negatively affects our sleep. Researchers from Saint Lawrence University conducted a sleep study in 2015 and discovered that a cluttered, messy bedroom resulted in increased anxiety and fractured, poor sleep. They also found that people with disorganized bedrooms had a much harder time falling asleep than people who kept their bedrooms tidy. Putting away those piles of laundry, stacks of books, and organizing bedroom closets will help you get better, more restful sleep.
Having a comfortable mattress and cozy bedding is crucial to a good night’s rest. Choose bedding that breathes and doesn’t get too warm. Most people also find having the weight of blankets helps them fall and remain asleep, yet another reason to have your bedroom temperature be cooler rather than warm.
We’ve all been rudely awakened by the blaring sound of an alarm. Being jolted from a sound sleep is less than ideal. Invest in a wake-up light that mimics the sun, gently waking you with incrementally increasing light rather than a loud noise. This slow “sunrise” helps your body move out of deep sleep so that when your alarm does go off, your body is ready to awaken.
Other good sleep habits include going to bed and rising at the time time every day, avoiding alcohol and caffeine a few hours prior to bedtime, exercising, and disconnecting from our devices at least 30 minutes to an hour prior to retiring.
Sleep is critical to our health and wellbeing. Making our bedroom a restful, calming space through color, aroma, lighting, bedding, and temperature is a simple way to promote good sleep.