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Turn Your bedroom into a Sleeping Heaven

A good night’s rest starts with the right setting for your body and mind to relax and recharge. With a few simple changes to your bedroom, you can get a better night of sleep. Start the makeover from lighting to bedding today so you can sleep better tonight.

Make your room dark

Dim the lights while you get ready for bed, or turn off bright overhead lamps and switch to a soft, bedside lamp. Your body is programmed to sleep when it’s dark, so you can encourage that rhythm by easing into nighttime.

Light inhibits the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that naturally promotes sleep. Even if you doze off, light can be detected through your eyelids—and your brain won’t produce melatonin if it’s confused between night and day. “You want as much darkness in your bedroom as you can handle without tripping over things.”

Make Like a Vampire

Hide digital clocks and glowing electronics from view. Phones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets emit light that can tell your brain it’s time to get up, not rest. Power them down when you turn in. Or if you just can’t switch off your phone, put it in a drawer so its glow won’t keep you up. Put a night-light in your hallway or bathroom in case nature calls at 2 a.m.; that’s better than turning on a ceiling light, which would disrupt melatonin levels. And if street lamps or moonlight shines in from outside, consider installing heavy window shades or wearing a dark sleep mask.

Keep your room cool

Your body temperature naturally drops as you drift into sleep, so cooling down your bedroom can jump start the process and make it easier to doze off. Most experts advise setting your thermostat 5° to 10° lower than your average daytime temperature.

Before you leave home, close the blinds or curtains in your bedroom to block the sun and keep the space cool. A couple of hours before you turn in, open a window to allow cool air to cycle through. Or use fans to push the warm air out.

It’s different for every person, but your bedroom should probably be under 70°. Menopausal women experiencing hot flashes—or those who like to bundle up in blankets—may want to aim even lower.

Keep your room quiet

If your bedroom is victim to unwelcome sounds of ambulances, catfights, or whipping winds, a thick rug and heavy blinds might help buffer the noise. If not, try a white noise machine or soothing CDs that can drown out disruptions, or even earplugs to muffle the sound completely. If you do fall asleep to music, use a player with a “sleep” function that can shut down automatically after 30 or 60 minutes, recommends William C. Dement, MD, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and author of The Promise of Sleep. As your body transitions through different stages of sleep, unexpected noise may wake you during shallower cycles.

Keep your room calm

After you’ve achieved these conditions, get rid of anything stimulating that distracts from the room’s main purposes: sleep and sex. That means no treadmill, no television or computer, and no reminders of anything stressful. Adding personal mementos, calming color schemes, and soothing sights and sounds will also make your bedroom a more inviting place to rest and relax.

Hey, That’s My Blanket!

You might want to rethink the way you and your partner make the bed. If you each have your own blanket and top sheet, you can each make yourself comfy and avoid fights over the covers. You’ll both be free to move around and stay as warm (or cool) as you like.

Avoid your Pet

While cuddles with a furry friend might comfort you, your pet can disrupt a good night’s sleep, especially if your dog or cat moves around a lot at night. For some people, a pet in bed can also trigger allergies. Help your pet get used to sleeping in its own spot instead of climbing into bed with you.

 

Build Your Bedding

Sheets, comforters, and your mattress can all affect the way you sleep. Be choosy when you shop.

A breathable fabric like cotton for sheets can help you stay cool through the night. Other fabrics can wick away sweat during warmer seasons. You may also want to have a thinner comforter when the seasons heat up and a thick and toasty one for winter.

Your mattress should support you and feel good. The same is true for pillows. Replace them when they become lumpy or lose their original shape.

Make Your Bed

This simple morning chore pays off. A clean, well-kept bed can have a psychological effect on the way you sleep. A National Sleep Foundation poll found that people who made their beds in the morning were 19% more likely to sleep well every night.

Dispel Chaos

Your super-long day is finally over, and then you walk into your bedroom. What’s your gut reaction: “Ah, at last!” or “Oh no!”

A messy bedroom makes some people feel stressed. So try to keep your bedroom orderly and neat so you can relax more at night.

Likewise, your bedroom isn’t the place to multitask. You want a calm atmosphere in your bedroom that makes rest irresistible. Work, read, pay bills, and do other tasks in another room. Remove distractions, such as a TV, so you’re not tempted.

 

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