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Sleep Health

8 Ways to Reorganize Your Bedroom for Better Sleep

By Robert Rosenberg

This article originally appeared on DemosHealth.com http://www.demoshealth.com/w/8-ways-to-reorganize-your-bedroom-for-better-sleep/

Your bedroom environment plays a critical role in your ability to sleep well. For people who have trouble sleeping at night, simple changes to your bedroom can yield quick results. Design and organize your own sleeping space as a sanctuary where you can retreat from the stress of everyday life. These tips will help you reorganize your bedroom to promote good sleep hygiene so you can naturally improve your sleep every night and wake up feeling refreshed every morning.

1. Lighting:Cover windows with dark curtains, shutters, or fabric so that no light shines in. Exposure to dim light at night affects your moods, possibly pushing you to depression. Exposure to blue lights emitted from electronic devices also causes trouble sleeping. Of all light wave frequencies, red light is the least disturbing to moods and to sleep. Plug-in nightlights with red bulbs are available.

2. Room temperature: The cooler the room, within limits of comfort, the more likely you are to fall asleep. One of the major signals that occur with the onset of sleep is a drop in core body temperature. If your room is too warm, this drop is inhibited, making entering sleep more difficult. I suggest a room temperature of around 68 degrees because this harmonizes with the drop your body temperature about four to five hours into sleep.

3. Alarm clock: Watching an alarm clock is another problem when you cannot fall or remain asleep. It causes two sleep-opposing reactions: 1) calculating time, and 2) provoked anxiety due to mental rumination about how much sleep will I get or how will I function tomorrow. Place your alarm clock somewhere you cannot see it, like across the room with the face to the wall.

4. Sound: You need your bedroom to not only be cool and dark but also quiet. If a noise is making you have trouble sleeping, try earplugs, earphones, or generating white or pink noise to even the sound field so your ears won’t attend to the background contrast of environmental sounds. There are machines available to do so but for some the sound of a fan will do the trick.

5. Pets: Do not sleep with pets unless they contribute to your well-being. Do not compromise your health because of what you feel your cat or dog may want, need, or demand. Sleeping without them may be a difficult habit to break for all of you; but remember, you’re making the change for them as much as for yourself. You’ll be a much better caretaker and companion if you’re healthy and energized.

6. Wall Color: The hotel chain Travelodge conducted a survey of two thousand guests on how room color affects sleeping. According to participants, the best color for sleeping was pale blue. Here are some results:

  • Pale blue in the bedroom was associated with calmness. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said they regularly wake up happy. On the average, they reported sleeping seven hours and fifty-two minutes.
  • Certain shades of pale yellow were the next color identified by the surveyed folks who slept for seven hours and 40 minutes on average per night.
  • Green (which shade is unknown) was chosen as third best color for sleeping, as those surveyed reported getting an average of seven hours and 30 minutes of sleep per night, and 22% of those surveyed said they woke up “feeling upbeat and positive.”

7. Clear clutter: Stuff shoes or slippers slightly under the edge at the end of the bed, place books on a nightstand (not on the floor), and put away all clothing and children’s toys so your room is clear of anything you might trip over. If you need to get up in the middle of the night for any reason, a fall is the last thing you need to get back to sleep faster.

8. Decorate for relaxation: Fill your bedroom walls and ceiling with images, photos, stenciled, or painted artwork that helps you relax. Here are some ideas of what some of my patients have done.

  • One man painted the wall opposite his bed with a lush forest theme, complete with a path meandering through the tall trees.
  • One woman asked her friend, a nature photographer, to blow up images of beautiful flower gardens from his extensive collection. She was delighted to see her small bedroom so full of bright colors. She said, “I smile every time I see the array of colorful flowers.”
  • In her young daughter’s bedroom, a mom left one wall to paint a different scene each year on daughter’s birthday. When younger, the scenes included jungle animals, and the next year the same animals were depicted in a circus scene. At age six, her daughter now loves dolphins, and the wall has become a colorful rendition of beach sand, blue sky, and dolphins swimming.

Robert S. Rosenberg, DO, FCCP, is the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, Arizona and Sleep Disorders Center of Flagstaff, Arizona. He is a contributing sleep expert blogger at EverydayHealth.com and his advice has appeared in O magazine, Women’s Health, Woman’s World, and Parenting, among others. This article is adapted from <em>Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day. http://www.demoshealth.com/store/sleep-soundly-every-night-feel-fantastic-every-day-1864.html