Well-Being//

How to Optimize Your Bedroom For Better Sleep

Finding a routine that sets you up for a restful night of sleep starts with your physical environment.

Adene Sanchez/ Getty Images
Adene Sanchez/ Getty Images

We know that getting quality sleep can improve our focus, memory and decision making, and even help boost our mood. And when it comes to creating a nighttime routine that helps set us up for a restful night of sleep, it’s important to start with our physical environment. After all, the room we sleep in can impact the quality of sleep we get — and how we feel when we wake up.

We asked our Thrive community to share with us the tips that help them turn their bedrooms into an oasis for sleep. Which of these ideas will you try?

Utilize natural light

“One thing that I’ve found makes a difference in my getting a good night’s sleep and waking up effortlessly is a lot of natural light. This helps me stay in sync with the natural rhythms of the sun rising and setting.”

—Lisa Quattlebaum, social impact entrepreneur and consultant

Place your phone outside of the room

“I took a cue from Arianna Huffington, and now I don’t have any devices plugged in my bedroom. I noticed when I plugged them in elsewhere I was falling asleep faster. Now,  I wake up on my own now without an alarm. This is an instant game changer.”

—Kristin Meekhof, author and therapist, Royal Oak, MI

Keep a book on your nightstand

“If you can’t sleep, the worst thing you can do is pick up your phone or iPad. I bought a little reading lamp that is affixed to my headboard and I always have a book on my bedside table. If I wake up and can’t get back to sleep within 15 minutes or so, I’ll turn on the little lamp and read. The light shines only on the book so that the room stays dark and cozy rather than triggering daytime. The other key is not to pick up a page-turner, but to have enough of a distraction from the ‘I only have x number of hours left to sleep’ thoughts that only stress me out and keep me up longer.”

—Adriane David, executive and personal coach, Calgary, Canada

Remove clutter

“Your bedroom is your space for rest and recovery. Having physical clutter on the floors,  surfaces and bursting from drawers and closets creates mental clutter. Ensure this area contains only bedroom-related items, not receipts, food, business papers, and whatever else gets dragged in. Do this so that you’re not carrying to bed with you the weight of your life each night.”

—Jolene Monaco, professional organizer, Dallas, TX

Add some greenery

“Bringing in a little bit of the outside in has added a new level of tranquility to my space. And plants are not just nice to look at! They improve air quality, remove particles from the air like dust, mold spores and bacteria; and some plants can filter out formaldehyde and other indoor air pollutants. Even caring for the plants brings a sense of zen to my bedroom, helping me fall asleep and wake up in a more positive mental state.”

—Glenn Paradise, founder of Dēp Slēpwear, Boston, MA

Use aromatherapy 

“My favorite method to enhance the quality of my sleep is to create a spa-like atmosphere in my room. The main item I use is an aromatherapy diffuser with lavender oil, in addition to an aromatherapy-scented sleep mask.”

—Karisa Karmali, personal trainer and nutrition coach, Ontario, Canada

Add a calming lamp

“Every night as I get ready to tuck into bed, I turn on my Himalayan salt lamp on the bedside table. The dim red glow of the light immediately relaxes my mind and helps me fall asleep.” 

—Kate MacLean, PR manager, Vancouver, Canada

Keep your bedding and decor simple

“I’m a feng shui junkie and very particular about getting rid of distracting items in my bedroom, like mirrors and a TV. I love the feeling of being in a luxurious hotel, so my bedding is simple and elegant, layered with textured pillows and throws. I have a few beautiful pieces of art that both soothe and inspire me and a number of candles to keep the vibe calming and spa-like.” 

—Lisa Quattlebaum, social impact entrepreneur and consultant

Limit blue light

“For better sleep and ease of falling asleep, I turn off or block all LED lights, no matter what color they are. Shorter wavelength blue or green lights impede secretion of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. While red light is better, it’s still annoying. Total darkness is natural and optimal.”

—Patricia Bonnard, life coach, Glen Echo, M

Adjust the room temperature

“I made my bedroom dark, quiet, and relaxing — and also I make sure it’s not too warm or too cold. To achieve this, I added a closet along the noisiest wall of the room for insulation from sound, covered the windows with extra bedding, and put some flowers and fresh cut plants around the room.” 

—Sara Leandro, health coach, Wolfsburg, Germany

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