It might sound crazy, but your cluttered bedroom could be stealing your sleep. A cluttered bedroom can make for a mixed-up anxious mind that can’t relax naturally into sleep. If a good night’s sleep is the sacrificial lamb of a full and busy life, consider this your wake-up call to get organizing.
Sleep cleans the mind, sorting and storing important memories while washing away the day’s minutia and stress to make room for tomorrow’s experiences. A night spent tossing and turning puts you at risk for needless accidents in the car, at work and at home – not to mention reduced ability to handle stress and remember details. Long term sleep deprivation can lead to a laundry list of health risks, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease.
Neuroscientists at Princeton University looked at people’s behavior in an organized versus disorganized environment and results showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in increased stress.
Quite simply, a good night’s sleep can save your life. Your well-organized bedroom? Treat it like an ambulance that delivers you to a healthier, happier you – without a detour to the hospital.
If you’re struggling with sleep, start by looking at the sleep thieves lurking in your bedroom. Your laptop screen left open, piles of books on the floor, a dresser overflowing with knickknacks make for a busy sleep space. When it comes to humans and sleep, the less distractions the better.
If you can eliminate the stuff in your bedroom that’s not related to sleep, your brain will start to associate the room with only sleep and intimacy, says Lawrence Epstein, MD, medical director of Sleep Health Centers in Boston and coauthor of The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep.
Need more breathing room in your bedroom? Follow these 7 steps to a simpler, more relaxing sleep space.
1. Eliminate electronics
You might enjoy a little screen-gazing before bed but that electronic blue light is sending a signal to your brain that it’s time to wake up. Same for your smart phone and your laptop. The language of light is complex but electronic light mimics sunrise, acting like a rooster to your brain and waking it up just when you should be getting sleepy.
2. Put it away
If your bed does double-duty as a shelf for folding laundry, put the clothes away rather than stacking them in piles on your dresser or on the floor. Same goes for books and magazines piled around the room. Store them in a closed cupboard, donate or recycle them.
3. Decorate with intention
Interior designers understand that successful bedroom design is best measured by the quality of sleep it delivers. Surrounding yourself with items that make you happy or remind you of loved ones help clear the mind of the day’s stress before sleep. Tap into seriously smart bedroom design with these interior designers.
4. Pay attention to scent
While you’re busy cleansing the visual palate, pay attention to the aroma palate in your bedroom as well. Air your room out regularly – an open window during the day provides a healthier breathing space at night. Chamomile, lavender and jasmine are just a few aromatherapy scents that will help relax your mind and body and make it easier to drift off into dreamland. Learn how to create your own sleep spa.
5. Limit incoming stuff
Apply a digestive rule to everything that comes into your bedroom. If something comes in, something needs to go out – just like it does in your body. If you can’t decide what to take out, force yourself to wait to bring it in the bedroom until you can. Might sound silly, but it works.
6. Purge monthly
Even good organizational habits slip when life gets busy. Make a monthly date with yourself to clean up your closets and other storage space. Doing this monthly will help you keep your closet current without buying anything new.
7. Don’t make your bed
Your mother nagged you to make your bed before going to school – but she was wrong. During sleep, we shed skin cells and lose a liter of liquid through breathing and sweating. When you make your bed in the morning, you create the perfect environment for dust mites and bacteria to flourish. So throw back those covers. Just don’t tell mom…
We know a new mattress can’t solve all your sleep challenges but if your mattress has seen better days, we’d love to help you find a new one. We’ve been making mattresses for more than 75 years and we know a thing or two about getting a good night’s sleep. Click on our Find a Retailer link and let’s talk.
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