Much of what keeps us from sleeping is the clutter in our minds. Clutter in our physical space creates further stress by reminding us of what’s incomplete. If the last thing you look at before you go to sleep is clutter it's likely to influence any of your anxious or worrying thoughts.
Ask yourself: Is my bedroom a sanctuary? How do I feel when I enter? Does it make me want to luxuriate in bed? If it doesn’t tempt you to snuggle in, you may need to make some changes.
Your master bedroom is for sleep and sex. It shouldn’t be your office, gym or playroom. To make it a place where you 'want' to sleep you need to get the things that don't belong out of the bedroom and edit the things that may belong but are misplaced or no longer used. The UK Sleep Council recommends decluttering your bedroom for a better night’s sleep because "A tidy room makes for a tidy mind… and a restful night’s sleep!"
Fortunately, it’s easy to transform your bedroom into a space that encourages a peaceful night’s sleep. Here are six top tips:
1. Keep your bedroom dark for sleeping.
Ideally you shouldn’t be able to see the other side of the bedroom! Even when you’re sleeping, light can be detected through your eyelids and we need darkness to stay fast asleep.
Choose room-darkening blinds, shades or drapes that allow you to plunge the room into tranquil darkness for sleep but let the sunshine in the rest of the time.
Strategically place alarm clocks, radios, lap tops and other LED light sources where they won't disturb your sleep.
Choose bedroom light bulb wattage according to the purpose each lamp serves. Bright lighting may be necessary near a mirror. Lower wattages (45 to 50 watts) is appropriate light for reading in bed. Lampshades also help diffuse light.
Install dimmer switches to control brightness of overhead lights.
Keep bedroom doors closed to avoid additional light filtering in from the hall, bathroom or other bedrooms.
2. Lower Temperature for a better sleep.
Hot, cold or draughty rooms can seriously impact on your sleep, in particular REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Temperatures over 24°C (75°F) are likely to cause restlessness, while a cold room of about 12°C (54°F) will make it difficult to drop off.
set the bedroom temperature for around 16-18°C (60-65°F). Consider adding a programmable thermostat.
avoid too many duvets, throws and pillows, they can make sleeping hot and uncomfortable. If your bed is piled high, plan to remove most pieces at night.
acknowledge when you and your partner's temperature preferences don't mesh, adjust your pajama weight or add or remove separate blankets. If one person is uncomfortable, it will disturb the other’s sleep.
3. Declutter and tidy your bedroom for a restful night’s sleep.
Not just the UK Sleep Council recommends decluttering your room to help declutter your mind for a better night’s sleep. As well, a study conducted by New York’s St. Lawrence University, revealed that a messy bedroom can lead to a poor night’s sleep and increased anxiety. So, decluttering your bedroom not only creates a space that’s neat and simple, but also supports a better night sleep.
put away clothes hanging over the bed or on a chair. Put the clean clothes away, put dirty ones in the laundry and ones being worn the next day on a chair. (You'll feel calmer if you have chosen your outfit and accessories.)
remove everything under the bed. If needs be store items there that are a simple category such as seasonal clothing.
clear away daily anything on your night table that is unneeded.
shelve books other than the one or two that you’re currently reading. Don’t leave piles of books to gather dust.
4. The bed is key to a good night sleep.
You should select the best mattress for you, offering the correct support and comfort for your weight and build, and if someone else is going to be sharing the bed, spend extra time finding a bed that’s mutually comfortable. Face your bed away from the door or window so light is less likely to bother you. Place your bed on an interior wall if possible.
Consider replacing your mattress if:
It is older than 7 years.
The bed is too small. A couple should select a queen- or king-size mattress.
You wake up regularly with aches and pains.
The mattress has visible signs of wear and tear.
Your bed does not feel comfortable and welcoming.
5. Reduce Noises for a peaceful sleep.
Getting sufficient undisturbed sleep is critical for feeling good and performing well.
Noises and notifications from your cell phone, tablet or computer may prevent you from sleeping well. Charge your phone in another room. Turn your tablet off.
Adding rugs, cushioned furniture, or thick curtains to your bedroom might help block or lessen noise both coming in from the street and from within your house.
Mask sounds with white noise which helps block out distracting noises for better sleep. Use sounds from a fan, air purifier, air conditioner or a white noise machine or app such as White Noise Lite app, available for Android and Apple.
6. Add special touches to create a bedroom that's pleasant and relaxing.
ban clutter. Your mind is already full of the day’s clutter, so keep your bedroom somewhat sparse and your accessories to a minimum to create a calming environment.
display a few significant photographs and memorabilia pieces to add personal history to your room.
make the bed the focal point by hanging a piece of art over it.
include plants (lavender) or fresh flowers to bring energy into the room and remove toxins from the air.
design your space so that everything has a place (you might have to do some purging!) and then make sure you keep it all where it belongs. This makes it easier to find things and your room more inviting.
If clutter is preventing you from getting a good night's sleep, give us a call.
We are Brad and Cathy Borg; siblings and professional home organizers serving the Greater Toronto Area.