According to literally every doctor and just common sense, getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can to for your health. The NIH says that inadequate sleep can lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardio vascular disease, and depression. It’s also important for safety, which is why there is a significant uptick in accidents and heart attacks on the Monday after daylight savings. So what does that have to do with houses? Turns out, your bedroom has a major impact on how well you sleep. Here is how you can optimize it.
- Get rid of the TV. Save everything but sleeping/sex for the bedroom so that your body knows exactly what it is doing when you go to bed. Turns out that mindless tv isn’t actually that mindless. Same thing goes for scrolling through social media when you get into bed.
- Get blackout blinds. Scientists say that light pollution from our environment has a seriously negative affect on our health, and that just turning off the lights in the house isn’t enough to tell our bodies that it is truly night. Your body knows to rest when it is dark, so it is no surprise that light in the bedroom or peeking in from outside has an impact on your sleep, suppressing the production of melatonin and making it harder to fall and stay asleep.
- Make your space ideal for sleeping. This means decorating with cool colors, decluttering as much as humanly possible, and making your bed everyday. We tend to think of making our beds as a routine morning chore, but it turns out the ritual may be more meaningful than that. The results of a recent Bedroom Poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that people who reported making their bed in the morning were 19 percent more likely to get a good night’s sleep every night. Many people believe clean, neat and comfortable elements of the bedroom environment are important to getting a good night’s sleep.
- Get a fancy sound machine. It’s crazy how white noise can help you turn off your brain. According to the National Sleep Foundation, while you sleep, your brain continues to register and process sounds on a basic level. Noise can jostle your slumber—causing you to wake, move, shift between stages of sleep, or experience a change in heart rate and blood pressure—so briefly that you don’t remember the next morning. White noise works by reducing the difference between background sounds and a “peak” sound, like a door slamming, giving you a better chance to sleep through it undisturbed. If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, creating a constant ambient sound could help mask activity from inside and outside the house.
- Make the bedroom cooler. Many sleep experts say that a cool room, somewhere around 65 degrees, makes for the best sleep, and research backs this notion. During the course of a normal day, your body temperature rises and falls slightly. This pattern is tied to your sleep cycle. As you become drowsy, your temperature goes down, reaches its lowest level around 5:00 a.m., and climbs slightly as morning begins. This is why the air in your room can affect the quality of your sleep: if it’s too hot, it may interfere with your body’s natural dip and make you more restless through the night. In fact, studies indicate that some forms of insomnia are associated with an improper regulation in body temperature. Of course each of us has a slightly different optimal temperature for sleep, so experiment with keeping your room cool and find what makes you most comfortable.
Besides just being a place where you spend some time, your home and how you design it has a huge impact on your health. It’s up to you to decide whether that impact is going to be positive or negative.