There are a few steps people can take to set up their bedroom for optimal sleep — backed by science, too! Here’s what the experts recommend.
Pay attention to the temperature.
The National Sleep Foundation estimates that the ideal temperature for sleep is 65 degrees, though everyone is slightly different so one’s temperature needs may vary. They recommend keeping the bedroom between 60 and 67 degrees, so people should program their thermostat, set up a fan, or open a window to help them reach that sweet spot.
Make it as dark as possible.
Ensure that no distracting light gets into the bedroom at night, whether that’s from streetlamps or the moon. People can set up blackout shades or solid drapery, and have a good eye mask on hand as a backup option.
The absence of light is crucial for getting proper rest.
When it gets dark, one’s body releases melatonin — a hormone that helps people feel drowsy. The National Sleep Foundation explains this in more detail: “Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the retina in the eye to an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. There, a special center called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) initiates signals to other parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide awake.”
So, darkness helps cue one’s body that it’s time to go to sleep and stay asleep.
Find sheets you love.
There’s nothing more relaxing than crawling into a bed made up with comfortable sheets. If people get hot at night, they should focus on breathable, crisp, and lightweight sheets. If people often wake up feeling chilly, or it’s the dead of winter, flannel sheets might be their friend. Also, people should make sure their sheets are regularly washed and odor-free.
Eliminate distracting noises.
Unexpected noise can interrupt sleep, so do your best to drown it out. Using a fan or white noise can help mask noises, creating a pleasant background buzz that will aid your rest.
Make sure the room smells pleasant.
Even though one study found that scent can’t necessarily rouse people from slumber, keeping their bedroom pleasant-smelling will make sleeping there a much more pleasant experience. Experiment with air purifiers, an essential oil diffuser, or a gentle-smelling candle to keep the room fresh.
Keep electronics off.
Studies show that blue light from electronic screens can prevent the brain from releasing melatonin, thus making it harder to fall asleep at night. So avoid watching TV, browsing the laptop, or looking at the phone at night as much as possible.
One way to make this easier is to keep electronics out of your bedroom entirely. Store your computer in another room, leave your phone charging in the kitchen and use — gasp! — an old-fashioned analog alarm clock to wake you up.
And finally, practice good sleep hygiene.
Only use your bed for sleeping and sex, which will keep your brain associating your bed with rest and not, say, frantically answering emails at midnight.
Featured image: Digital Genetics/Shutterstock
Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.
He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.
Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.
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