Designing your bedroom for a decent night's sleep
By Laura Firszt, Networx
Almost everyone knows how unpleasant the occasional sleepless night or early morning awakening is. Even worse, chronic wakefulness is a condition that may have far-reaching negative effects on the mind and spirit, impairing your ability to concentrate, make judgments and view life from a positive perspective. There is hope for insomniacs, though. Designing – or revamping – your bedroom can create a restful haven and make a significant difference in the quality of your sleep.
The bed is the most important item in your bedroom and the mattress is the most important part of your bed. Whether you opt for a box spring or a platform, make sure that your bed is large enough, particularly if you are tall and/or share it with a partner. Your mattress should be comfortably firm and lump-free. Rotate it frequently for more even wear and vacuum occasionally. Some homemakers freshen mattresses with a baking soda sprinkle before vacuuming. Or use a washable mattress cover. A high quality mattress will need to be replaced after 8 to 10 years.
Sheets made of natural fiber with a high thread count are recommended. Silk is ideal ... comfortably cool in summer and warm in winter. Here are two tips to please your senses. Hang sheets to dry in the sun after washing for a delightful fresh scent, and iron lightly before replacing them on the bed. Blankets are best when they are lightweight, cozy and non-slip. Get into the habit of making your bed every morning, no matter how rushed you may be; this creates a clear distinction between sleep time and wake up mode. Besides, crawling into a tangle of sheets in the evening is definitely not conducive to relaxation.
Like a good mattress, your pillow should also be relatively firm. Down is a comfy natural filler. If you suffer from allergies, however, you might be better off choosing an anti-allergen pillow so your night is not disturbed by sneezing fits. For a quick, easy-to-do spirit lifter, change your pillowcase daily, especially in summer. (All bed linens should be changed once a week.)
Electronics vs. electrics
For a restful night, banish electronics like TV, computing devices and video games from your bedroom. Electric items are a different story, however. A clock that rouses you gently with music means you're less likely to stay awake anticipating the harsh sound of an alarm. Many insomniacs are soothed to sleep by white or pink noise, either from a special machine or a fan, humidifier, air purifier or the like. Another option is playing a DVD with meditation or relaxation exercises just before bedtime. A bedside lamp, ideally with dimmer switch, provides a cozy atmosphere (as well as consuming less energy than an overhead light).
Human beings are hardwired to sleep better in the dark. Choose window treatments not just for their looks but for the ability to shut out light at all hours, including early morning. At the same time, they must permit adequate air circulation. Try blinds, blackout curtains in attractive fabrics or layered drapes which can be adjusted to block varying amounts of light according to your needs.
A study by Travelodge found that a bedroom with blue walls is the most sleep-inducing, followed by soft yellows, green and silver. If your walls are purple (overly stimulating), brown (depressing) or gray (ditto), you might want to consider hiring a painter. Of course, the best color is one that you find soothing and harmonious to create a decorating scheme that you really love. Hang wall art with positive, peaceful associations, such as a photo of your favorite place.
Any furniture that you use in the bedroom should fit in with the overall scale and color scheme. Avoid jarring elements and orient your furnishings toward relaxation. A rocking chair or a plushy love seat will send the message that your room is a calm haven. Try not to have a home office in the bedroom. (If space is truly at a premium, hide your work desk in the closet.)