It's supposed to be a sleep sanctuary. The bedroom is where you relax and wind down after a long, tiring day. It's comfortable and cosy...but then you keep battling endless hours of tossing and turning and you wake up several times during the night.
You wonder what's preventing you from achieving a blissful slumber. Did it ever occur to you that some items in your bedroom are robbing you of your precious sleep? Time to remove or change these things that are keeping you up at night!
1. Thin curtains
There's a reason why experts recommend sleeping in total darkness. The brain responds to darkness by preparing us to sleep; hence a room where lights are switched off is recommended. A thin curtain will not help block artificial nighttime light coming from the lamp post outside or even the moonlight.
2. Television set
Maybe it's high time to get the TV out of your bedroom. The television set is primarily meant to entertain and looks out of place in a room meant for relaxing. Admit it or not, but the temptation to watch 'til the ending of your show is what's disrupting your sleep cycle. "Don't sleep with the TV on. If you're used to falling asleep that way, get unused to it," suggests Jonny Bowden in The Most Effective Ways on Earth to Boost Your Energy.
3. Night light
Exposure to room light (especially if it's too bright) suppresses melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles. When melatonin levels decrease, we lose that feeling of sleepiness so we stay alert and awake. Keep your room as pitch black as possible.
4. Uncomfortable mattress
A mattress can make or break a good night's sleep. Nobody wants to sleep in an uncomfortable bed. When choosing your mattress, think of two things: support and comfort. Your sleeping needs also determine the specific mattress you should go for. Softer mattresses cater more to side sleepers while medium-firm mattresses are perfect for back sleepers. Read our Guide to Mattress Shopping.
They're cuddly and cute so we enjoy snuggling with them. However, a study released by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center found that 53 percent of pet owners surveyed considered their sleep to be disrupted to some extent every night. While you enjoy their company, you can keep them out of the bedroom as they have the tendency to jump on and off the bed while you are sleeping.
6. The wrong blanket
Waking up to uncomfortably cold room temperature is just the first part of your beauty rest disruption. If you don't have a thick blanket to keep the chill away, chances are, it will be hard for you to go back to sleep or you'll wake up again once you feel cold. On the other hand, ultra-warm blankets like fleece or cashmere can make you feel too hot. The trick is to choose one that gives you just the right amount of comfort.
7. Pillows that don't support your sleeping posture
Picking the perfect pillow is also dependent on your sleeping habits. Ultimately, the goal is to rest your head on a pillow that can promise you a restful sleep while providing you with proper head, neck, and back support. If your current one doesn't provide you with the above-mentioned benefits, it's time to replace them.
8. Super-bright wall
The colour scheme on your bedroom should exude a feeling of comfort, rest, and harmony. Cool colours work best for bedrooms because they provide a soothing effect while warm hues are ideal for rooms where socialising is encouraged. Warm colours like cheery yellow or bright orange on your bedroom wall are stimulating—something that might be too overwhelming for a serene space.
A research by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School on external factors that influence sleep shows that the "ideal temperature range for sleeping varies widely among individuals, so much so that there is no prescribed best room temperature to produce optimal sleep patterns. People simply sleep best at the temperature that feels most comfortable." Before you hit the sack, check if the room temperature is comfortable and adjust the AC if it's not.
"Most of us would be better off keeping the bedroom off-limits for work, and reserving it as a place of refuge and relaxation (and maybe even pleasure, if we get lucky). What it should not be is a glorified workstation with a bed," says Bowden.
You cannot achieve a dreamy bedroom if your office paperworks and office laptop are taking precious space in it. Otherwise, you'll just keep checking these files and reading emails, disrupting your sleep cycle. Work stuff belongs to the home office and not in your snooze area.
11. Alarm clock
If you think your trusty alarm clock made dragging yourself out of bed on a Monday morning much easier, think again. You may have not noticed but being jolted awake in the morning is stressful—and you're just in the first few minutes of a long day.
Bowden furthers, "Sticking to a sleep schedule (preferably one that allows you eight hours of sleep) will get you back into the rhythm of your internal clock..." When you practice a regular sleep pattern, in time, you'll never need an alarm clock again.
According to the Harvard Medical School, blue light emitted by electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs has a dark side. "Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown."
How can you create a relaxing enclave when all you see is clutter everywhere? If your bedroom's a mess, no need to wonder why you have trouble sleeping. Clear out the clutter and you also bid dust and allergens adieu.
Share with us your own tips on creating a dreamy bedroom. Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration by Phoebe Marquez