It’s called a bedroom for a reason, right? The bed is unquestionably the most important element of the space, followed by its practical cousin, the dresser. But beyond outfitting your sleeping quarters with those most obvious furnishings, you can take some extra steps to ensure that this area of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation is conducive to living your healthiest life. After all, since most of us spend a majority of our time in the bedroom compared to other parts of the house, doesn’t it make sense for that space to support our wellness goals?|
1. Keep a journal next to your bed.
Racing thoughts and anxiety can easily turn your goal of getting a restful night’s sleep into a pipe dream. To help you unpack any lingering concerns at the end of the day, take a few minutes to record them in a notepad. Just the act of transferring them from brain to paper can help you feel lighter, less stressed and more amenable to drifting off to dreamland.
In addition to unpacking your worries, Lorraine Miano from Infinite You Health suggests using the journal to record what you are grateful for at the end of each day. "This will often lead to a more restful and relaxed sleep, and could also help to lessen anxiety," she says. Jot down anything that brought you happiness or inspiration that day, from a long walk with a friend to a healthy lunch to praise from your boss. Studies have shown that this type of gratitude practice can lead to improved health and well-being.
2. Declare the bedroom a screen-free zone.
We all know the mindless bliss of lounging in bed while binging Netflix or scrolling through a Facebook feed, but it’s not doing your sleep habits any favors. First, your phone or tablet is like an electronic rabbit hole of stimulations and distractions, all conspiring to keep you from shifting into a relaxed, sleep-friendly state of mind. Plus, studies have shown that exposure to the artificial blue light coming from your screens can throw off your natural circadian rhythms, reduce melatonin levels and make it difficult to fall asleep.
To keep temptation at bay, relegate televisions to communal rooms and charge your phone across the room or in another area altogether. If you use your phone's alarm, consider purchasing an inexpensive clock alarm to avoid having your phone in arm's reach before bed.
3. Keep books at hand.
Once your device is charging at a safe distance, reach for a good book as a way to mentally decompress before drifting off. If the old-fashioned method feels too archaic, opt for a Kindle Paperwhite, which is designed to simulate the look of paper, has gentler illumination than a phone or tablet, and won’t tempt you to switch to the internet or social media sites.
4. Create an ideal sleeping environment.
To drift into dreamland and stay there for the optimal seven or more hours, it’s important to set up your bedroom for sleeping success. Trainer and fitness blogger Ashley Pitt recommends powering down all electronics at least an hour before turning in at night. Steer clear of excessive sugar or caffeine after lunchtime, too, as the stimulant can interfere with your ability to doze.
Additionally, make sure your room is cool and comfortable—if it’s too hot, you may become restless during the night as it becomes difficult for your body to regulate its own temperature. According to the National Sleep Foundation, many experts recommend that somewhere in the 65-degree range is optimal for sleep, although it may take some experimentation to determine your ideal setting.
5. Improve the air quality.
Weather permitting, try to open the bedroom windows periodically to ventilate the space and let in some fresh air. If you suffer from allergies, consider adding an air purifier or air filter to your bedroom to remove allergens, pollutants and harmful chemicals.
There is some evidence that adding live plants to the bedroom can also help to improve air quality and respiratory health. And, as an added bonus, incorporating a bit of nature into your sleep space could also help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
6. De-stress with less mess.
Keeping your sleeping quarters spick-and-span isn’t just aesthetically pleasing—it can also help you stay healthier, both in and out of the bedroom. Dusting, vacuuming and washing your sheets regularly can reduce exposure to germs, dust mites, pet dander and other allergens that can cause sickness or respiratory problems for some people. Also, some studies have shown that a clean, clutter-free space is more conducive to getting a restful and comfortable night’s sleep.
Getting enough quality shuteye is an essential element of good health, and it all starts with your surroundings. By setting up your bedroom for optimal rest, renewal and recovery, you can make your dreams of well-being a reality.