It’s safe to say that most of us could do with more sleep. Maybe you have too much on your plate, young children who stir in the middle of the night or a noisy neighbourhood.
Sleep is the foundation of our health; we need it to rest and repair our mind and body to tackle tomorrow. Without it, we can’t function effectively and are more susceptible to ailments such as anxiety, depression, weight gain and reduced immunity. With this in mind, restyling your room for a better sleep could have a really positive impact on your life.
Your bedrooms should be a peaceful place to rest your head where you feel cool, calm and collected. But how do you do create a room that soothes your senses, so you can increase your chances of getting your seven to eight hours?
When we enter a room, the way it looks is one of the first things we notice: the colour of the walls, how tidy the room is and the light levels. All of these can contribute to the quality of your sleep.
The colour of a room not only impacts how the space looks, but the science of colour suggests it can also make us feel a certain way. Research by Travelodge found that participants who slept in a blue room got the best night’s sleep of any colour, with an average of just under eight hours. What’s more, over 60% of those who slept in a blue room reported starting the day feeling happy regularly.
In the same experiment, blue room results were followed closely by moss green, pale yellow and silver rooms, with participants securing an average of about seven hours and 30 minutes of sleep each night. On the other hand, purple, grey, brown and red all had poor results. Participants in purple rooms got an average of a mere six hours of slumber.
Experts also suggest avoiding anything bright and bold, including sterile whites and primary colours, such as red, which suggests danger and has been linked to increased blood pressure. Feeling anxious or angry is not an ideal state to induce sleep, so experts advise to avoid anything that could enhance those emotions.
While the science of colour can help you to choose, it ultimately comes down to your personal preference. Choose a colour that has a positive meaning to you in a pastel or muted shade to help you feel calm, restful and relaxed.
Clutter may not be something we consider, primarily because once the lights are out and our eyes are closed, we can’t see it anymore. Nonetheless, researchers have discovered a direct link between poor sleep and excess mess.
It is believed that a messy environment is a constant reminder of jobs that have not been done. As a result, consciously or subconsciously, there is a sense of guilt associated with the clutter that has not been cleared.
Invest in some stylish storage solutions for your room or do a spring clean and get rid of the items you seldom use. Alternatively, if you have space, turn a spare room into a dressing room, so your clothes aren’t strewn around your main sleeping area. Each morning, you will wake up grateful for not having to clamber over your clutter and start the day feeling more relaxed and refreshed.
As human beings, our bodies respond to light by feeling more energised. This is perfect during the day as the sun keeps us awake and alert, but many artificial lights now mimic natural light, which suppresses the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
As you probably don’t hit the hay as soon as the sun sets, it can be worth choosing lights in your home to help you sleep. The best bulbs to assist with sleep are lights with a red tone, including those that are amber or orange. Avoid anything that emits white or blue light as they aren’t conducive to sleep.
Needless to say, natural light and street lights can also disturb your sleep. Add some block-out curtains, blinds or invest in an eye mask for when you need to nap while the sun is up.
The reason technology is frowned upon before bed is also primarily linked to light – blue light. Research has revealed a clear connection between technology use and compromised sleep.
If we are exposed to screens not long before bed, the blue light interferes with our ability to produce melatonin. In fact, blue light is so effective at keeping us awake that is it often used to help night workers remain alert.
Try to restrict technology and put it away at least an hour before bed. Better yet, remove technology from your bedroom entirely. If you need an alarm clock, there are so many trendy alarms out there that add another element to your bedside table. Pick up a book or spend some one-on-one time with your housemates or family to unwind instead.
If none of the above is an option for you, many devices have a night display where the screen changes from a distinct blue light to a more orangey-red tone. Turning night mode on will not eliminate the issue, but it can help to reduce it.
When you walk into your room, you want it to feel relaxing. If you are barefoot, one of the first things you will notice is the flooring beneath your feet. Carpet is popular in bedrooms as it helps to create a sense of comfort and luxury and keeps you warm during winter. If your bedroom has hard flooring, try adding a chic rug to soften the space and create extra cosiness.
One of the most significant items that will impact your sleep in your room is the feel of your mattress. If you want to feel rested each morning, you can’t compromise your comfort. Ultimately, your mattress will be of personal preference, but experts advise to get the correct support, try before you buy and choose something that will minimise partner disturbance.
Closely followed by how your mattress feels is the quality of your pillowcases and sheets. Experts suggest that it is better to choose cotton sheets from 200 to 800 thread count. Synthetic sheets do not breathe as well as cotton, causing trapped heat and often an uncomfortable sleep. You can even get moisture-wicking sheets, which help to keep you at an optimal warmth.
With your temperature in mind, if your room is too hot or cold, you will find yourself waking in the middle of the night, so it’s important to get it right. It is believed that a room ranging from around 18oC to 22oC is an ideal temperature for adults. Ultimately, your room should feel like a cool, dark and peaceful place to enhance your sleep quality.
Although research has shown that smells don’t disturb us while we sleep, they can certainly impact us when we’re in the early transitions. As your room should be the number one place you feel relaxed, it could be worth adding some top fragrances to transport you to sleep.
For centuries, lavender has been used to reduce anxiety and agitation and is well known for its ability to relax the mind and body. Vanilla and jasmine are also renowned for their similar qualities. Incredibly, an experiment showed that participants who undertook a stress test in a room with a vanilla scent had more stable heart rates and better blood pressure than those who took the same test in an unscented room. In another study, jasmine helped people experience better sleep efficiency, less movement and overall better quality of sleep.
If those scents don’t appeal to you, chamomile has been used to assist with insomnia for centuries, and bergamot is known for its ability to increase a neurotransmitter in the brain that slows nerve activity and relaxes you. More importantly, though, choose a scent you love. Smelling something that releases positive emotions or memories releases feel-good chemicals that can help you to relax.
Once you have found your favourite scent, there are many ways you can incorporate it into your room. Place a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle with plenty of water and lightly mist your bedding before sleep, drip oil into a bowl of hot water or purchase a diffuser to release essential oils in your room. Better yet, get someone to give you a relaxing massage with your chosen scent. You will be drifting off in no time.
If you are a light sleeper, even the subtlest sound may stir you. Even if you sleep like a rock, the bump in the night may not wake you entirely, but it can take you from a deep, rejuvenating slumber to a shallow sleep.
To ensure you have the best chance at an uninterrupted sleep, you will want to reduce the likelihood of something waking you in the middle of the night. If your bedroom is susceptible to environmental noises such as road traffic, trains or planes, you could look into double-glazed windows or seal any gaps in window frames to reduce the intensity of outside noise. Alternatively, place your bed away from external walls, hang heavy curtains or invest in additional insulation to reduce external disturbances. If the noises are coming from inside, such as a snoring partner, keep a set of earplugs on your bedside table. You can even style your room with a large bookcase against a wall to act as a buffer against noises in the next room.
With so much research focusing on the detrimental side effects of sound, it’s important to point out the benefits of specific sounds to help you sleep. Low to moderate white noise or gentle rain has been found to improve people’s sleep by masking potentially disruptive noises, such as doors slamming or dogs barking. It is well worth exploring the many apps or devices out there designed to do just that.
There are so many ways you can transform your room to make it a tranquil getaway from the daily grind. Whether you paint it a beautiful blue to make it more relaxing, invest in new light bulbs to adjust the mood, add a stylish rug to make it more feel more luxurious, set up essential oils or hang some heavy curtains to reduce external disturbances, you will be on your way to soothing your senses for a sound sleep.
PLEASE NOTE: If renting, you must obtain landlord permission before undertaking any permanent works. Works include, but are not limited to: painting walls, changing window furnishings or flooring and adding wall hooks. If in doubt, always contact your landlord or managing agent to seek permission in writing before doing anything that will change the property.
Check out our article five ideas to transform your rental kitchen and there you can see simple ways you can transform your home without attracting negative attention from your landlord.