Just the idea of sleep can be a distant pipe dream. You may try to get to bed early, but there’s always a tempting television series or tantrum-throwing toddler keeping you awake. That’s why, when you are finally ready to hit the hay, you need a space that will help you nod off quickly. You need a sleep sanctuary.
The Key Elements of a Sleep Sanctuary
Sleep is a sensory activity. It literally involves your five senses: sight, smell, touch, sound and even taste to a certain degree. In fact, there’s a direct connection between your senses and your brain that produces various hormone signals throughout the body. Depending on the types of signals being stimulated, your brain will either keep you awake or knock you out.
This doesn’t mean you need to a total room renovation. You just need to be sure you’re incorporating these key sensory elements into your sleep sanctuary.
- Muted colors and clean sight lines
- Soothing sounds
- Relaxing scents
- Soft-to-touch accessories
5 Ways to Turn Your Bedroom Into a Sleep Sanctuary
Now it’s time to actually put all those elements into practice. Below are six easy ways you can stimulate your senses for a full and restful night of sleep.
1. Hang Blackout Drapery
Sensory element(s): Touch and Sight
Window treatments provide physical protection between you and the outdoors, which can be all the comfort you need to fall fast asleep. No matter what type of window treatments you choose, they will insulate your bedroom from the wind and cold air, so you feel ready to snooze.
That being said, blackout drapery may be the best option for your sleep environment. They not only add another layer of insulation, but they effectively prevent sunlight from slipping in. This all goes back to the brain-sensory connection. When the sun sets and the lights go out, your eyes signal your brain to produce more melatonin (aka the sleep hormone). The reverse happens when the sun rises. Your eyes see the light and tell your brain to pump the brakes on melatonin, which is why your body begins to feel more alert.
While Everhem offers both privacy and blackout linings for drapery and window shades, we suggest our blackout linings to keep your room adequately dark for a restful night. The darkness will help regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle – no magic pills or fancy potions needed.
The best part is you can add a blackout lining to almost any type of window treatment, including drapery, Roman shades and even woven woods. The lining will add weight and structure to your drapery, which may be another visually pleasing element in your room’s design.
2. Invest in a Quality Mattress
Sensory element: Touch
It goes without saying how important it is to have a quality mattress. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all mattress. You have to research what works best for you and your family. Yes, you have to physically visit the stores and test different options. That being said, there are a few factors that will directly affect your sleep for better or worse, including size, support and breathability. A six-foot-four man would feel more comfortable in a king-sized bed the same way someone with chronic back pain is going to appreciate a very firm mattress. Keep these things in mind when you’re shopping.
3. Ditch the Screens
Sensory element: Sight
It’s a difficult thing to ask and even harder to do, but getting rid of digital screens will significantly improve your sleep habits. Remember when we said sunlight inhibits melatonin production? Your brain responds the same way to the light emitted from your television, smartphone or tablet. In fact, blue light from these devices can actually delay your REM cycle, making you feel drowsy upon waking. If reading helps you wind down at the end of the day, pick up a hard-copy book or newspaper. You’ll get all the entertainment and none of the light.
4. Adjust the Temperature
Sensory element: Touch
The National Sleep Foundation recommends setting your thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for a good night’s sleep. This might be a tough sell in the summer months. So if you’re still tossing and turning, use a fan to generate a little breeze. Sometimes, just a cool gel eye mask is enough to make you feel more at ease. Plus, it’s a great way to prevent puffy eyes come morning.
In the winter, you may need to adjust the temperature up. For rooms that get drafty – especially those with an exterior door – you might need to invest in a space heater. It’s also helpful to add drapery. Window treatments on French doors, for instance, serve as an extra layer of insulation between your bedroom and the outdoors. Otherwise, a pair of fuzzy wool socks and cable knit throw blanket will go a long way in keeping you warm.
5. Bring in Nature
Sensory element(s): Touch and Smell
Sensory element(s): Smell, Sight and Sound
Nature has a way of freeing the human spirit. When you’re immersed in the great outdoors, you feel like you can completely let go of any and all inhibitions. If this sounds like a recipe for relaxation, that’s because it is. Bringing the outdoors in will instantly ease your worried mind and allow you to succumb to your dreams.
There are several ways you can add a touch of nature. We already mentioned white noise machines. They mimic the sounds of nature, which are innately calming. You could also incorporate a water feature. A small fountain works double duty as a white noise creator and visually soothing décor piece.
If you have fond memories of camping as a kid or jumping in leaf piles, you might respond well to nature-inspired scents. Aromatherapy is another solution. A few drops of lavender essential oil in an aromatherapy diffuser may be just enough to calm your nerves. Diffusers have become such a popular home accessory that you’re sure to find a design that blends in with your style.
Of course, don’t forget nature itself. I would argue live plants are a must-have in any sleep sanctuary. Greenery, more than anything else, will infuse life into your space.
Do you have questions about designing a sleep sanctuary? Our years of interior design experience can help guide you to the perfect setting. Just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’d be happy to talk about your dream bedroom!