When talking with clients about the importance of getting restful sleep, I have found that usually the last thing most people think about is how they can make their bedroom sleep friendly. Given that the average person sleeps for 8 hours in a day, the average person will sleep for 229,961 hours in their lifetime or basically one third of their life. That’s a long time to be in one room! It just makes since that we should want the one place in which we spend one third of our life to be a sleep friendly sanctuary of-sort – conducive to restful sleep and mindful this is the time and place the body does the most healing and repair work.
12 Effective Tips for a Sleep Friendly Bedroom
Below is a list of the 12 most effective tips I believe are absolutely necessary for a sleep friendly and healthy bedroom.
- Eliminate Clutter. A sleep friendly bedroom is free of clutter. Clutter represents disorganization and collects dust and allergens. Clutter can also have an effect on one’s emotional state which can then cause stress and anxiety which, in turn, can lead to disruption of sleep. On the other hand, a tidy room adds calmness, peace and clarity in a healthy bedroom.
- Clean & Fresh air. Consider adding a couple of sansevieria plants (also called snake plant) in your bedroom. Sansevieria is a plant that transforms carbon dioxide into oxygen overnight. I also highly recommend a quality air purifier which utilizes six proven air cleaning technologies in one unit at a very affordable price. This is the air-purifier we have used in our bedroom for many years. Another good idea for keeping the air quality sleep friendly is to thoroughly vacuum your bedroom at least every other day.
- Electro-Magnetic Pollution Free. Studies show that electromagnetic fields from televisions, computers, wireless devices, and even exercise machines can interfere with brain and nervous system signals, which can disrupt restful sleep. Himalayan salt lamps have a very relaxing a warm orange light to them and they can also help neutralize electromagnetic radiation. Many of the new smart meters, used to replace a home’s analog electricity meter, are placed directly outside the main bedroom or living area. Smart meters are proving to have very negative health effect on many people. Consider purchasing electromagnetic protection for your bedroom and home. Power all electronics down at least an hour before bedtime. Do not sleep with your lap top or ipad on your bed.
- Healthy Mattress, Pillows & Bedding. Media and advertising has told us that cotton bedding is a safer and a much better choice than synthetics. It’s important to know, according to the Pesticide Action Network, that nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides are sprayed on cotton fields each year which accounts for more than 10% of total pesticide use and nearly 25% of insecticide use worldwide. As finances allow, begin to replace bedding with all-organic materials. Conventional mattresses are also sprayed with flame retardant as well as stain resistant chemicals. Many mattresses are made of foam that can out-gas for years. Also, wherever you shop be aware of green washing. Green washing is defined as disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image. If finances are tight, consider an organic barrier cloth that totally encases your mattress and foundation. You can also clean your mattress every two months by sprinkling the mattress with baking soda. Wait 15 minutes and then use a hand-held vacuum (needs to be powerful) to suck up dust mites, dead skin cells, allergens and bacteria.
- Clean Smelling Room. The use of aromatherapy (diffusing essential oils) in the bedroom can produce restful sleep and thus provide a sleep friendly bedroom. Diffuse lavender essential oil in your bedroom an hour before bedtime. Place a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow and it will help to relax your mind and body. Consider the following scents: Lemon – for cleansing and disinfecting; Mint – for refreshing; Cinnamon – for stimulating; Lavender, Vanilla & Jasmine – for relaxation; Rose – creation of a romantic space; Eucalyptus – for improving respiratory concerns; Citrus (lemon, orange, mandarin) – for improving moods and fighting depression.
- Dark Room. Remove illuminated digital clocks from your bedroom. Focusing on the time can result in anxiety and stress which disturbs restful sleep. As indicated previously, turn off and unplug computers, tablets, night lights, etc. at least an hour before bedtime.
- Cool Temps. Your body temperature naturally drops as you drift into sleep, so cooling down your bedroom can jump start the process and make it easier to doze off. Most experts advise setting your thermostat 5° to 10° lower than your average daytime temperature. A National Institutes of Health study suggests that sleeping in a colder room can also have some calorie-burning health benefits.
- Quite Room. Bedroom surroundings should be quiet and calm. There should not be any disturbance from outside noise. Use a white noise machine or fan to block outside noise. If the noise is too loud, use double-pane windows or heavy curtains to block the sound.
- Calm Room. Get rid of anything stimulating that distracts from the room’s main purposes: sleep and sex. That means no treadmill, no television or computer, and no reminders of anything stressful such as a desk full of bills. Adding personal mementos, calming color schemes, and soothing sights and sounds such as a small water fountain can help to make your bedroom relaxing and calm.
- Eliminate VOC paint. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are unstable, carbon-containing compounds that easily vaporize into the air. When they enter the air, they react with other elements to produce ozone, which causes air pollution and a host of health issues which may include respiratory concerns, headaches, burning, watery eyes and even nausea. Many people are actually allergic to the paint in their bedroom and have no idea it’s the paint causing the allergies.
- Make your bed every day. Yes, you read that correctly. An unmade bed is a very noticeable form of clutter which often reflects the difficulties and disorganization in one’s life. Making your bed also provides closure to the act of sleeping and lets you transition to the rest of your day. Don’t believe this? A 2011 survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that bed-makers were 19% more likely to report getting a good night’s sleep. There’s just something about climbing into a bed that has been previously made – it’s like opening a beautifully wrapped gift.
- Wash sheets and blankets weekly. If you don’t already, then start. This will fight germs, bed bugs, help with allergies and sinus issues as well as prolong the life of your sheets and blankets.