Alaska Sleep Education Center

Difficulty Sleeping In Your New Bedroom?

Posted by Jane Sandwood on Jun 27, 2020 1:15:00 PM

New decorations can make your room too unfamilial.

The lack of sleep costs Americans $411 billion each year, with 1 in 3 people struggling with insomnia. Considering the average person spends 11 hours in their bed daily, ensuring your bedroom is a sanctuary should be a top priority. However, in some cases transforming your bedroom can end up hindering your sleep goals.

Finding it difficult to sleep in an unfamiliar or newly decorated bedroom is not uncommon. In fact, it is now referred to as the 'first night effect.' So how can you ensure you get a good night’s sleep when you’re sleeping in a newly decorated place?

Get Ample Ventilation If The Room Is Newly Painted

If you have redecorated and repainted, the paint fumes may be keeping you awake. Wet or drying paint can be toxic, particularly to children and other vulnerable groups. This is because it emits high levels of VOCs (volatile organic compound) which can cause short term health effects like dizziness and headache. The American Lung Association has also linked paint fumes to lung damage, organ failure, and other long term effects.

The Healthcare Environmental Resource Center recommends looking for the Green Seal when choosing a paint, which indicates no presence of heavy metals. Ventilation in a freshly painted room is also crucial — even if you have chosen zero-emission VOC paint. Starting from the painting process, open windows, and encourage cross ventilation in the room to get rid of the fume. This should extend to after the paint has dried as well.

Ideally, experts recommend that you leave the room to dry for at least 24 hours. To speed up the drying and smell elimination process, you can also opt for fast-drying paints or turn to DIY tricks for eliminating VOCs, like placing baking soda or activated charcoal pellets in the room to absorb the odor. 

Stick To Your Nightly Routine As Much As You Can

One of the most common tips for encouraging good sleep habits is the establishment of a nightly routine. Having a calming pre-bedtime routine can help you relax and with regular practice, conditions your body to recognize it is time to sleep. It also helps you sleep better throughout the night and for longer. In a new place, having the familiarity of your nightly routine can provide a sense of comfort to your body and your mind.

If you are traveling and sleeping in an unfamiliar room for the first time, try sticking to your regular bedtime and pre-bedtime activities such as a bath and reading before sleeping. For those in newly decorated rooms, why not keep a small element of familiarity from your old room? A good example is keeping a room diffuser with essential oils if you used it before. 

Choose Warming Accessories Or Try A Warm Shower

The aesthetics and temperature of your new bedroom may be the thing stopping you from sleeping. HGTV recommends going for calming wall colors when repainting your bedroom as warm shades like browns, beiges and oranges can be more relaxing. You can also try opting for a heated blanket in your redecorating choices to help your room feel cozier. Another great tip when redecorating a room is to position your bed away from the window to minimize any drafts.

When it comes to the temperature of the room, most experts recommend a temperature of between 60 and 67 degrees Celcius. A study by the University of Texas in Austin and published in Sleep Medicine Reviews found that having a 40 to 43-degree Celcius bath or shower 90 minutes before you sleep can help you fall asleep 10 minutes quicker.

Respondents in the study also slept for longer. So, if you are still having trouble sleeping in a new place try incorporating a warm shower/bath for at least 10 minutes before you hop into bed. 

While there remains a lot of unanswered questions around achieving optimal sleep when in unfamiliar places, there are things you can do to help you sleep better. Simple steps like these can help you- and your brain- feel a bit more comfortable and hopefully, sleep more comfortably too.

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Topics: life with sleep apnea, bedroom, getting better sleep

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