Eager to get a better night’s sleep? There are lots of things that can affect how well we sleep from our diet to how physically active we are during the day. One big factor is the environment that we go to sleep in. By making a few improvements to your bedroom, you can make it a more peaceful and comfortable place, helping you to sleep better.
Here are just several ways to create the perfect sleep environment.
Choose the right bed
Let’s start with the most essential ingredient of any bedroom: the bed. There are lots of factors to consider when choosing a bed including the material (wood or steel?), the cost and whether you require storage underneath. Most of these factors won’t affect your sleep quality, however there are some factors that could make a big impact.
Most of us prefer a big bed. However, depending on the size of your bedroom, you may be limited as to how big you can go. A super king is the largest you can go at 6’0” x 6’6”, followed by a king at 5’0” x 6’6” and then a standard double at 4’6” x 6’3”.
Those that are taller will want a larger bed. If you don’t have a partner and aren’t the type of person to toss and turn, you may find that a single bed is all you need to meet your needs.
Some people like to have their feet hanging off the side of the bed. If so, you could find that a footboard or bed posts are restrictive (if you’re tall, a footboard could stop you from being able to sleep straight). It’s generally considered healthier to have a footboard to prevent foot drop, but not everyone gets one well with them. Similarly, some people find headboards restrictive.
Choose the right mattress
Once you’ve settled on the right bed, you’ll need to find the right mattress. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to mattresses and it can often be worth visiting a mattress store and testing out mattresses for yourself. A couple factors to consider include:
Hard or soft?
A firm mattress can be better if you’ve got a bad back, offering sturdy support. If you sleep on your stomach, you may also benefit from a firm mattress. Innerspring mattresses tend to be best suited for offering firmness.
Soft mattresses can be better for side sleepers and sleepers that move a lot. They’re also better suited to kids – if you’re looking for the best twin mattress for a child, a softer option could be better. Memory foam gel and latex memory foam are two popular materials for soft mattresses.
There are also hybrid mattresses on the market that may combine a combination of latex, memory foam and innerspring technology (often a spongy layer on top of a firmer layer). Hybrid mattresses are great if both you and your partner have different sleep preferences, or if you simply like a bit of firmness and softness.
Night sweats or allergies?
If you get sweaty in the night, it could be worth looking into a bio-based open-celled memory foam mattress. These offer a breathability that keeps them cool – and could stop you from sweating. There are many other mattress technologies out there designed to stay cool (as well as heated mattresses for those that suffer from the opposite problem).
As for those that suffer from dust mite allergies, a hypoallergenic mattress could be necessary. Latex tends to be the best material for such mattresses as dust mites cannot live in it. For this reason, it’s also the cleanest mattress material.
Choose the right bedding
As well as considering your mattress, you should also consider styles of bedding including the type of bedsheets you use, the type of pillows and the duvets or blankets you may use. All of these can have just as much impact on the comfort of your bed.
Bedsheets come in various materials. Cotton is the most common material but quality can vary massively. If you’re looking for ultimate comfort, a high thread count cotton weave such as Egyptian cotton could be your best option.
Cotton is not hypoallergenic, so those that suffer from dust mite allergies may want to consider silk, microfiber or bamboo linen. Silk is often seen as a luxury material and can be great at preventing sweats at night. Bamboo is also very breathable and environmentally-friendly.
How many pillows do you need? It’s generally healthier for your neck to sleep with less pillows below your head, but some people cannot sleep without at least two pillows – so it’s really a case of personal preference.
You can also support other parts of your body with pillows for a better night’s sleep. If you sleep on your side, a pillow beneath your knees could be beneficial, while front sleepers can get a healthier night’s sleep with a pillow under their stomach. Pillows can also be used to prevent rolling if necessary.
As with bedsheets and mattresses, pillows come in all different materials. Memory foam pillows are ideal for those that sleep on their back, while polyester and feather pillows are great for side sleepers. Down pillows are meanwhile great for all sleepers. If you’re allergic to feathers, you should stick with polyester or memory foam.
When it comes to duvets, there are many different styles and fillings to choose from. Some people like a lightweight duvet, while others like something thicker (these tend to offer more warmth). Synthetic fiber mattresses are the best for those with allergies. Natural fiber mattresses – wool, silk and down – tend to be better for those that sweat heavily. Down tends to be a fairly lightweight filling while also offering a lot of insulation, making it well-suited for those that like to stay warm but don’t like a thick duvet.
Blankets may be better suited to the summer. Waffle blankets are a popular option and tend to be made from cotton, although there are bamboo waffle blankets out there that can be hypoallergenic.
It’s worth having a duvet and a blanket on your bed at all times. If it gets too hot or too cold in the night, this gives you the option to easily switch between the two layers.
Choose the right color scheme
It’s not just your bed and bedding that can make an impact – your bedroom décor could also affect your sleep.
The color scheme is something that many people overlook. Generally, speaking cooler colors are better suited than warmer colors – cooler colors are calming, while warmer colors are energizing.
Cooler colors include blues, greys and greens. Warmer colors that are best avoided include reds, oranges and yellows (saving these for the living room or kitchen).
Block the outside light
Many of us find it much easier to sleep in total darkness. Sunlight trickling in during the early morning or the faint glow from street lighting could prevent you from getting as good a night’s sleep as you deserve.
Consider blocking out this light with either blackout curtains, blackout blinds or shutters. Curtains can offer added insulation as well as total darkness, while blinds may be better suited for those that still want to allow some ventilation. Shutters are more expensive, but have the bonus of insulating sound and offering added security against burglars.
If your room is cluttered, it’s possible that this clutter could be affecting your sleep quality. The mind finds it much easier to relax when in a tidy space – clutter can cause stress and anxiety.
Take the time to sort through this clutter. You may have to buy extra storage units or you may have to consider getting rid of items. You can find many guides online on decluttering your bedroom.
Introduce soothing scents
Certain scents can also help us to get to sleep. These include lavender, jasmine, vanilla, sandalwood and frankincense.
Scented candles and oil diffusers are great ways to introduce these scents to your bedroom. You could also consider buying scented fabric softeners and detergent for your bedsheets.
Houseplants can also be great for releasing scents – jasmine and lavender are two prime examples. Houseplants also offer other benefits such as dehumidifying the room and purifying the air. Improved air quality can often have a positive impact on sleep.
Regulate the air temperature
The final ingredient to creating the perfect sleep environment could be to upgrade your HVAC. Being able to regulate the temperature from your bed could help you to get a good night’s sleep. Consider a remote control or smart heating/cooling system that you can control from your bed in order to easily tweak the temperature in the night.
Those that don’t have the money or means to upgrade their heating could look into fans and electric heaters for their bedroom as another way of helping to regulate the temperature. It’s worth shopping around and reading reviews of such products to find something that is both cheap, effective and not too noisy.