As an interior designer I’m infinitely aware of the impact our physical environment has on how we feel and function. When I was contacted recently by the team at Tuck.com, who’ve been researching the science behind sleep, and why certain design choices create a relaxing sleep environment, I jumped at the opportunity to have them write a guest post. Here’s what they found –
Designing the Ultimate Bedroom for Sleep:
The design of every room is important, but it’s especially critical to get the design right in the bedroom. Creating a restful, restorative sanctuary can support a better night’s sleep that will help prepare you for the day. When designing a bedroom, it’s important to focus on color, airflow, and furniture placement. At night, bedrooms should be cool, dark, and quiet, and good bedroom design can help with that.
Consider these essential tips when designing the ultimate bedroom for sleep:
Paint Walls a Soothing Color
Bold, bright colors are visually appealing, but they are often too stimulating to have a place in the bedroom. A bright red is energizing, and purple is so mentally stimulating it may provoke nightmares. These colors aren’t good choices for a bedroom. However, blue is relaxing and soothing and can discourage nightmares. In fact, blue is the best sleep inducing color for bedroom walls, so a light blue is a great choice for any bedroom. Overall, light pastels, neutral tones, and earth or skin based tones are the best choices, promoting calming energy.
Leave Room for Airflow
Heavy, stagnant air isn’t helpful for sleep. Cool, openly flowing air is best for sleep, allowing you to rest at a cool temperature and enjoy the fresh air at night. Even if you’re working with a small bedroom, make sure you’re leaving room in between furniture for adequate walkways and airflow. Leave plenty of space between your mattress and the wall, and separate your bed from other large furniture pieces. If you need to purchase a new mattress to fit your space better, that’s an option. Using a fan can help encourage better airflow throughout your bedroom. A powerful overhead fan is best, but a fan in the corner of the room is a good choice, too. If weather and security are not a problem, it’s a good idea to open windows and doors to ventilate.
Block Out Nighttime Light
Nighttime light exposure is detrimental to sleep. Light is a powerful cue for your circadian rhythm, so when you’re exposed to light at night, your brain gets a signal that it’s daytime, and therefore time to wake up and be alert — even when in reality, it’s time to get to sleep. It’s a good idea to dim the lights in the evenings and avoid screen time at least one hour before bed. In bedroom design, you can use blackout curtains, which will block most of the light from windows. Blackout curtains can be closed at night, then opened during the day to let light in when your body benefits from exposure to light.
Turn Down the Volume
In today’s busy lifestyles, we live with practically a near-constant buzz. There is always a noise or other distraction. And although this is unavoidable in most instances of daily life, it’s important not to let the volume of the day reach your bedroom. Your sleep environment should be a quiet, calming sanctuary. Encourage quiet hours in your home, asking family members to keep it down when others are sleeping or winding down into a bedtime routine. Shut your door to keep noise out as well. The fan you use to keep your room cool can help with white noise, or you can use a white noise machine to block out distracting sounds.
Clear the Clutter
Another distraction is clutter, which can make you feel anxious. Anxiety is not a quality you want to encourage anywhere in design, but it’s especially something to avoid in the bedroom. Make sure you’re clearing clutter from your bedroom, including piles of clothing, cords and devices, excessive knick knacks and design accessories so your space can radiate rest and relaxation. After all a more peaceful space will lead to deeper and more restorative sleep.
About the Author: Myra Campbell is a researcher for the sleep science and health organization Tuck.com. Her passion for art and design brought her into the field. She began by researching how to create a relaxing bedroom and learned that great design can help improve our health and well-being. Myra lives in southern California and shares her queen-sized bed with two rescue dogs.