Alaska Sleep Education Center

Can't sleep? Try creating a sleep friendly room

Posted by Julia Higginson on Oct 10, 2017 1:05:29 PM

AdobeStock_5220168 (1).jpegTrouble sleeping? When you can’t sleep one of the first things you often change is your bedtime routine. But did you know that the state of your bedroom is can have an impact on how well you sleep each night?

The environment that you sleep in highly impacts the quality and quantity of sleep you get each night. The way your room is arranged, what you put in it, and how organized it is can have a negative effect on your nightly sleeping.


The good news is that you can design your bedroom for better rest. Your bedroom needs to be your sanctuary from the stresses of your day and your place to engage in quality sleep. Use our guide and your style to create the best environment for sleeping.

Decluttering for better sleep

AdobeStock_1106456.jpegThe first step to designing your room for better sleep is to evaluate its current state. Is your room too cluttered and messy? Or do you use your room for a multitude of purposes (i.e. exercise area, home office, entertainment area)?

Too much clutter in your room can make it feel uninviting and unwelcoming to sleep. There are tasks you can do today without spending any money that will get your room feeling more life a sleep haven.

Start by cleaning up and decluttering your room to create a clean and ordered space. Pay attention to piles of unsorted paper, mail, or laundry as this could make you feel anxious about unfinished work.

If possible, move computers, televisions, exercise equipment, and work items out of your room. You want your sleep-friendly room to be free of distractions.

After decluttering, make sure you give your room a good cleaning and scrubbing. Start by vacuuming and wiping down all the surfaces in your room. The dust, pollen, or mold in your room could be causing sniffles and sneezes to interrupt your sleep.

A room free of allergens can lead to more comfort and less disruptions during the night. Plus having a clean room just feels nice and relaxing.

Next, wash all of your bedding including your sheets and pillowcases. The National Sleep Foundation found that more than three fourths of people are more excited to go to bed when their sheets have a fresh scent. Three quarters of people also say they get a more comfortable night’s sleep on sheets that smell clean.

Make it a goal to wash your sheets and pillowcases at least every one to two weeks. That way you are washing away all the sweat and giving yourself the added benefit of fresh sheets more often.

How you arrange your furniture can also impact your quality of sleep. Try to arrange your furniture in a way that feels natural and looks good to you.

Bed makeover

Want to take your room makeover to the next level? Start by evaluating your mattress. Your mattress is one of the most important pieces of furniture in your room that can make or break a good nights sleep.

Your mattress should be comfortable and supportive so that you wake up feeling rested, and not like you slept on a bed of nails. The state of your mattress might be messing with your quality of sleep. Signs you might need a new mattress include:

  • You wake up feeling stiff, numb, or achy.
  • You get a better night’s sleep anywhere but in your bed (i.e. hotel bed, or the couch).
  • Your mattress shows visible signs of wear and tear such as dipping, lumps, rips, spring poking through, or the interior is exposed.
  • Your mattress is more than 8 years old.

If your mattress isn’t doing its job, you might want to consider getting a new mattress if it’s in your budget. The best mattress is the one that feels comfortable to you.

It’s not necessary to sleep on certain type of mattress as long as it supports you and you feel good in it. Use your body and preferences as a guide as you are testing out potential mattresses.

Make sure you take temperature into account when creating your ideal bed. Some mattress materials, coupled with your choice in bedding, can trap heat. Too much heat will you sleep can make it more difficult to sleep. Make sure you choose bedding and mattresses that are more breathable so you don’t overheat.

Don’t forget about your pillows in your quest to give your room a sleep makeover. Pillows age just like mattresses, and over time can lose their ability to support your head and neck. Think about replacing your pillows when they become lumpy or shapeless. They type of pillow you use will depend on if you are more comfortable with soft or firm.

The right decorations

It’s not necessary to take everything out of your room except for your bed. Part of the fun of having your own room is to have it decorated. The way your room is decorated should reflect your personality and create a calming environment.

The colors you choose to decorate can also aid in sleep. Bedrooms that have the colors blue, yellow, green, silver or orange have been shown to encourage sleep. The color blue is often associated with calmness, and helps to reduce blood pressure and heart rate. Red often has the fact of being stimulating and discouraging to falling asleep.

You know your likes and dislikes the best. Choose colors, artwork, blankets, and decorations that are soothing to you.

Your senses and sleep

Pay attention to what your senses will experience in your bedroom as well as what your room looks like. For example, what can you hear in your room while you are trying to fall asleep? Ideally, your room should be quiet but outside noises or noises from your house might be distracting.

Your brain will continue to register and process sounds as you sleep. Distracting noises can disrupt your sleep causing you to wake, move, and shift between stages of sleep. Noise can also cause your blood pressure and heart rate to elevate while you sleep.

Not all noises can be avoided but the presence of white noise can help make your sleep better. White noise works by reducing the difference between background sound and sudden noises (like a car honking). The constant ambient sound from something like a white noise machine or a fan can help mask unwanted noise.

Pay attention to how your room smells. Gross or offending smells can cause you to feel stressed and delay sleep. If desired, you can use diffuser or candles (just make sure to blow out a candle before falling asleep to avoid fire danger). Lavender is a scent that is known as soothing and inviting to sleep. Avoid scents like lemon and peppermint as they tend to awaken your senses.

The lighting inside and outside of your room also plays a role in the quality of sleep you get. Light and darkness are powerful cues that let your body know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up.

Invest in curtains that block outside light from either the sun (think longer daylight in the summer) or from city lights. You want to be surrounded by darkness while you are trying to sleep.

The bottom line is that how your room is arranged, decorated, and organized can affect your sleep patterns as well as how you feel during the day. Call one of our sleep specialists today if you are concerned that your sleep issues can’t be solved by a bedroom makeover.


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