I have not been sleeping well lately. I’ve realized that a big part of this was that our bedroom was a mess. Actually, that’s being too kind – our bedroom was a complete dumping group and definitely not a calming sleep oasis.
Our room was where I simply “crashed” at the end of the day. In today’s hectic world, your bedroom should be a sanctuary where you can retreat to rest, relax and get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, this was definitely not our bedroom!
In My Top 5 Tips for a Peaceful Night’s Sleep, you can read more about how I tried to address my issues sleeping. But one of the key things I changed was my sleeping environment ie our bedroom.
In figuring out how to tackle this issue, I came across so many great tips for creating a cozy bedroom. So I wanted to share my top tips to create a calming sleep oasis.
1) Declutter Your Surfaces
This one was actually a pretty big undertaking for us. I mentioned our bedroom had become somewhat of a dumping ground? Well in order to really declutter our surfaces, I had to:
- Clear all the clothes and miscellaneous debris littering our floor;
- Declutter and organize my nightstand so it holds what I actually need; and
- Seriously purge my closet so I actually had enough room to put my clothes away.
This genuinely made a huge impact on creating the calming sleep oasis I wanted. I would highly recommend that anyone experiencing sleep issues declutter their bedroom!
2) Put Your Bed In The Right Place
So I found some of the psychology around sleep habits really interesting in my exploration of the best ways to create a calming sleep oasis, so I’ve included it here. But if that’s not your thing, in short, put your bed where you’re mostcomfortable and skip on to point 3!
Apparently, as humans, we have a primal need to sleep in a secure location. Psychologically, this means we like to keep our beds as far as possible from doors and windows, while making sure we can still see them from the sleeping position. It seems this so that our subconscious knows we will still be able to see dangers entering our sleeping space.
I also had a look at feng shui. I identified that for optimal flow of “life energy”, it is recommended pushing the bed up against the main wall of a bedroom. The exception is where there are drainage pipes or gas pipes running through the wall. (If you ask me, this is logical anyway from a noise perspective anyway). It also recommends avoiding placing your bed under a chandelier or ceiling beams, or between two doors.
I know our primal instincts to still affect us though I’m not sure I buy into feng shui. However, I did find some very practical tips for bed placement. Essentially where possible, keep your bed away from windows and doors, in order to avoid drafts and exposure to external light sources which can interfere with sleep.
The conclusion I came to is that for us, the right place for our bed is where it already is. If you are frequently awoken by light from a window or noise from pipes, or constantly toss and turn trying to find the “right position” it may be that there’s an issue with your bed. If your bed is already optimized for comfort, look at rearranging the layout of your bedroom. Try moving your bed somewhere you are more comfortable in order to create a calming sleep oasis.
3) Set The Tone With Soothing Colors
Our rental is painted top to bottom in an off-white color which is accentuated by lots of bare oak woodwork. I like it but sometimes it can be a little dull. I often try to inject a little interest with bright colorful furnishings. But I realized our bedroom needed calm soothing colors. So I invested in some new bedding in calm soothing greys. Though I did keep a cozy blanket in deep pink to keep a little personality in the room.
4) Keep It Dark
I don’t mean board up your windows! On the contrary, natural light is one of the best ways to wake up. But light exposure has a profound effect on sleep, as light affects your body’s ability to produce Melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep.
We are programmed to “rise with the sun”. When our environment transitions from darkness to light, our brains tend to wake, whether we have had our regular sleep or not. Even the glow of the numbers on your alarm clock can mess it up.
So some tips for keeping your room dark and creating a calming sleep oasis:
- Invest in blackout blinds or curtains – I live in a northerly location, with very limited hours of darkness during the summer months. As I’m going to bed while it’s still bright out for several months of the year, blackout blinds or curtains are essential!
- Use soft lighting – our bedroom is in the eaves so the only overhead light available was spotlights sunken into the ceiling. These are pretty harsh bright lights so we also use two bedside lamps for much softer light at bedtime.
- Remove Blue Light – TVs emit blue light and most alarm modern clocks have blue LED displays, but this blue light can actually disrupt sleep. While it’s not recommended, we do have a TV in our bedroom, but if watching before bed we make sure to use a sleep timer. This means it shuts off after we fall asleep, meaning the blue light will not wake us later in the night. Also, as we use complete blackout blinds, we like to have a clock that is visible in the dark. But we did move our funky iPod docking station alarm clock blue LED display to the kitchen (it’s where we listen to music the most anyway). Instead, I moved the old-school radio alarm clock from our guest room into our room. The clock uses red light which is the only color that doesn’t interrupt sleep.
5) Keep It Cool
Oh, what I wouldn’t give for AC! As you attempt to go to sleep, your body temperature decreases to initiate sleep so a cool room helps to facilitate this. In general, the recommended bedroom temperature for optimal sleep seems to be between 60 – 67°F/ 15 – 19°C. So if your room is cool, rather than warm, it will be much easier to shut your eyes for the night.
If you have thermostat-controlled heating and cooling, it should be straightforward to regulate the temperature and keep it within this range. However, if like me, you live in a temperate climate, which rarely sees significant fluctuations in temperature, chances are you may not have the luxury of a climate-control thermostat. In that case, you may have to resort to more traditional methods:
- Make sure your bedding is appropriate for the season – it should be common sense, but if your bedding is too heavy in summer you will be too hot or if it is too light in winter you will be too cold. Adjust your bedding with the season!
- Dress appropriately – as with making sure your bedding is seasonally appropriate, make sure you have cool, light sleepwear for when it’s warm and warm cozy sleepwear for when it’s cooler
- Use appropriate heating and cooling mechanisms – if you live in a cool climate, make sure your radiators or heaters are sufficient to heat your sleeping space. Consider supplementing them with an electric blanket or hot water bottle if appropriate. Alternatively, if you live in a warm climate, make sure you open your windows to allow cool air in from outside. Also, use fans to circulate air and if possible invest in a small air conditioning unit to keep your bedroom cool.
6) Keep It Comfortable
Just like Goldilocks, you will be most comfortable when your bed is “just right”. You need soft comfortable bedding, in quality natural fabrics like cotton. Also, if possible, invest in a good quality mattress that has the optimal level of firmness for you.
I did invest in some good quality, high thread count cotton sheets. But if however, if like me you can’t afford a new mattress, you can take some steps to make the best of what you have.
For example; my Mom often stays with my grandmother, but her guest room had a very soft bed which she hated. My Dad being the “fixer” he is, added some cheap sheets of plywood between the mattress and the box spring for some extra support. According to my Mom, it made a world of difference!
I had the opposite problem – our mattress was a good orthopedic mattress, but it was just too firm for us. When I saw one on sale, I invested in a memory foam mattress topper to soften our bed. It was the best €50 I ever spent!
7) Create A Soothing Atmosphere
Human beings are creatures of habit. As you’ll read in my post My Top 5 Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep, I’ve come to believe that creating a consistent bedtime routine is key to a restful night’s sleep.
I’ve organized my bedroom and planned my bedtime routine to appeal to all five senses. This creates a soothing atmosphere and aids in a good night’s sleep:
- Sight – I use soft lighting, neutral decor, and clean uncluttered surfaces to create a relaxing haven
- Sound – I’ve made sure our bedroom is a quiet space. I also use an electric fan for both ventilation and white noise contributing to a peaceful bedroom retreat
- Touch – In My 7 Step Routine for a Peaceful Night’s Sleep, I talk about how I ditched “fancy pajamas” for soft comfortable sleepwear. Combined with my tips to ‘Keep it Comfortable’ above, means cozy comfortable space, conducive to rest
- Taste – I usually drink a warm non-caffeinated drink like chamomile tea or hot chocolate, about an hour before bed. My subconscious now associates these flavors with rest and relaxation
- Smell – I do struggle to relax and unwind particularly at night. I now use a subtle lavender pillow spray. I also invested in a diffuser which I use with a few drops of calming lavender & jasmine essential oils. This does also aid me in getting a good night’s sleep
So when you want to create a calming sleep oasis, remember these key tips for organizing your bedroom:
- Declutter your surfaces
- Put your bed in the right place
- Set the tone with soothing colors
- Make it dark
- Keep it cool
- Keep it comfortable
- Create a soothing atmosphere
These are the small things have definitely helped me to sleep better. I’d love to hear your tips for creating a calming sleep oasis for you to relax, rest and recharge. Leave a comment and let me know what has worked for you!