We all know that sleep is vital to keep us healthy, but sometimes it can be tough to get the sleep you need.
Daily stress can often keep us awake at night, which means we’re tired and don’t function well the next day. This makes us concerned about not being able to sleep, making us more stressed and creating a cycle.
This all sounds worrying, so what can you do about it? You can practice sleep hygiene!
Sleep hygiene is the simplest, most fundamental way to help yourself sleep well. Sleep hygiene refers to both positive habits to help you sleep and having a calming, relaxing bedroom.
There are lots of ways you can create a relaxing bedroom sanctuary to set yourself up for restful sleep. Let’s take a look at how you can do this.
The first thing you can do is probably the most simple: get rid of clutter from your room. Looking at clutter can make you feel stressed, and stress interrupts your sleep.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to reorganize your whole bedroom: that’s overwhelming and can feel too much. It doesn’t mean you have to constantly keep your bedroom tidy either, which let’s face it, is unrealistic for most of us when we have busy lives.
Instead, you can simply rearrange a few cluttered areas that are most easily seen, so that you’re not constantly looking at a mess. You can work on keeping these areas clean so you can feel more relaxed while you’re in your bedroom.
Make the Most of the Space
Even if you have a small bedroom, if you arrange it well it can work for you. Ideally, you want to have some floor space and make sure your bedroom doesn’t feel too cramped.
It’s important to try and avoid feeling stressed in your bedroom, so try to arrange your storage so that you can easily access things. Ensure you can walk from the bed to the door as freely as possible. Keep important things to hand.
Essentially, it’s all about making things as easy and stress-free as possible for yourself so that you can stay in that relaxed mindset while you’re in your bedroom.
Decorating your room in calming colors can be really helpful, which for most people is warmer colors. A color expert from the Pantone Color Institute recommends: “meditative nature shades like blues, greens, and browns as calming options.”
However, we’re all different so take your time to think about what colors you find most calming. For me, brighter colors are calming because they make me feel cheerful, peaceful, and joyful.
It’s not always realistic to repaint your room, but you can add in the colors you choose in other ways, for example adding a wall tapestry, art on your walls, soft furnishings in your chosen colors, or even repainting just one accent wall.
Make It Yours
Adding personal touches to your room can make it feel more homely and safe, so get creative and really make your room reflect your personality.
You might like to add photographs of loved ones to make you feel surrounded by love. You might prefer pictures or items that remind you of happy times. You could add some art to your room or put positive quotes on your wall.
Remember it’s all about what feels right to you and what makes the room feel like your safe space. Try not to compare it to others or worry about what it ‘should’ look like.
Make It Comfortable
Of course, you need to be comfortable to sleep well. The biggest part of this is the bed itself: you need a quality supportive mattress. Research shows that a good mattress can improve sleep, decrease stress, and prevent back pain.
If you have the resources, it’s well worth investing in your mattress. If you’re not in a position to get a good mattress, a mattress topper can be a more affordable way to improve your bed.
Aside from your mattress, you also need a supportive pillow to improve your sleep and prevent neck pain. Comfortable bedding to suit the climate is useful, and you can add additional blankets and pillows to make the room even cosier.
Control the Light
You can think of your circadian rhythm like your internal body clock: it controls when you sleep and when you’re awake. One of the biggest cues for your circadian rhythm is light. When it’s dark, your circadian rhythm knows it’s time to sleep.
Keeping your bedroom dark can help you sleep. You can prevent external light from coming into your room at night by investing in blackout curtains or blinds. Alternatively, an eye mask can be a more affordable option.
The lighting in your bedroom should ideally be dim to help you relax before sleep. You can use a dimmer switch or a bedside lamp with low light. I love using a salt lamp which gives off a very calming glow.
When it’s noisy, it can be hard to fall asleep, but did you know that the noise you hear while you’re sleeping can reduce your sleep quality?
The National Sleep Foundation explains: “External noise can cause frequent awakenings, and these disruptions have been tied to reduced levels of both sleep quality and overall health.”
To drown out external noise you can use a noise machine, which typically produces a range of sounds including white noise. This can mask external sounds, making you less likely to wake up and improving your sleep quality. You could also listen to calming music, like classical music, which can have the same effect.
The blackout curtains we mentioned earlier can be helpful in damping outside noise a little bit. You could also use earplugs, although it’s best not to wear them every night.
Keep it Cool
It’s important to keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature. A range between 60 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended. If you’re too hot, it can stop you sleeping properly, so it’s better for your room to be cooler.
You can do this by leaving a window open if it’s not too cold outside (although if there’s lots of external noise this can be counterproductive). You can control your heating to ensure it’s not too hot in your room. A quiet fan can also be useful if your room tends to get too hot.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils, which can be helpful for relaxation and calming. A lot of people find that essential oils can help them sleep (myself included).
I love lavender and find it very calming. I use it in a roll-on which I roll onto my pulse points, and also in a pillow spray which I find helps me drift off to sleep. You can also use an essential oil diffuser or a room spray.
Take your time to figure out which scents work for you and how you like to use them. You can check out our guide to calming essential oils for more information.
Say No to Electronics
Electronics like your phone screen and your TV emit blue light, which can disrupt your circadian rhythm. As we talked about earlier, this can make it harder for you to fall asleep and to sleep peacefully. Looking at your phone or watching TV before bed can also be stimulating, making you feel more awake rather than relaxed.
To help you sleep, it’s best to keep the TV, games consoles, iPad, and other electronics out of the bedroom. You should try not to use your phone for at least twenty minutes to half an hour before you fall asleep. This isn’t always realistic for everyone, but if you do use it try using the night light setting so it emits a softer light.
Keep It Calm
You want your mind to automatically associate your bedroom with a sense of calm and with sleep. To do this, it’s important to keep the bedroom for sleep, sex, and relaxation only.
Try not to do anything stimulating in your bedroom which could take away from your relaxation. For example, try to avoid stressful conversations in your room; don’t exercise in the bedroom, and don’t use it as a place to work.
The more you keep your bedroom as a place you relax, the more your mind will switch into that relaxed state when you enter your room. Over time, this will make it easier to unwind and sleep.
Your Relaxing Bedroom Sanctuary
In the end, it’s your bedroom, which means you need to figure out what works for you. These tips provide some guidance and you can adjust them to fit your needs. Even trying just a couple of these tips could make a big difference in creating your relaxing bedroom sanctuary.