If you regularly find yourself tossing and turning at 2 a.m., it might be tempting to blame the occasional car driving by, a dog barking in the distance, or even a snoring partner. However, the fact that your room can’t overwhelm these distractions is telling: if you want to get more sleep, it may be time to make some changes to your bedroom. But this process will take more than some blackout blinds and a new mattress; follow the steps below to create the right amount of light, noise, and the perfect temperature for a restful night.
First, Clean Up
If your daily schedule is hectic and busy, this may be easier said than done, but that pile of dirty laundry in the corner is only going to remind you of all of the things on your to-do list. Take a few moments every few days to clean and organize, and while you’re at it, consider moving your television and electronic devices to another room. Researchers say that these implements stimulate your brain at the worst possible time, and the light exposure can also disrupt your sleep-wake cycles.
Second, Block Out That Untimely Light
Light pollution has been a growing problem for decades: in urban and suburban areas especially, it is almost impossible to find true darkness. To escape this problem, look for window treatments that can block out streetlights and other distractions. Blackout blinds work best, but if you’re looking for something that matches your home decor, consider investing in custom draperies made from a thick fabric.
Third, Drown Out Noise Pollution
Some sleepers will see the best results from investing in a white noise machine, while others will prefer ear plugs. Most people, however, will simply need some form of ambient noise, like a fan or sounds from a smartphone app.
Fourth, Regulate Temperature
Because our body heat naturally decreases at night, the average person prefers sleeping in a cold room with plenty of layers to keep them from getting too cold. Turn on a fan or invest in a good thermostat, and make sure you have enough sheets and blankets to insulate you.
How does your room smell? Because your ability to smell is your most active sense while you are asleep, this factor can have a significant impact on your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and even your dreams. Remove anything with a foul odor from the room, and consider placing a vase of flowers or something else with a calming smell by your bed.
By making the changes above, you’ll have access to a sanctuary from the light, noise and other distractions that can make it difficult to sleep. However, if you aren’t taking steps to relax and get a healthy amount of sleep, blackout blinds and ambient noise won’t do a thing. For this reason, try to avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed, go to sleep at a regular time, and avoid distractions or stressors for a few hours, and you should see better sleep patterns in no time. Great references here.