This week we are excited to feature a blog written by Myra Campbell, a researcher for the sleep science and health organization Tuck.com. Read below to learn how experts recommend we design the bedroom to get the most zzz's.
Getting enough sleep can be tough under the pressure of modern life.
However, appropriate bedroom design can help you improve both the quantity and quality of your sleep. Watch for trends that not only look amazing and speak to your personal aesthetic, but also support adequate rest.
Best Conditions for Sleep
Before you can choose the right design elements, you need to know the conditions that support a full seven to eight hours of sleep. The bedroom should be kept cool, dark, and quiet at night. You’ll also need a bed that supports your preferred sleep position, so you’re comfortable. While most modern mattresses don’t require a box spring, you want to have a solid foundation to support your body. With the goal of a dark, comfortable, quiet bedroom, you can go to work decorating appropriately.
3 Ways to Improve Your Sleep with Good Design
We’ve put together a few ways you can use design to your advantage. Don’t be afraid of being creative and adapting design elements to fit your personal preference or the unique architecture of your home.
While houseplants aren’t traditionally used in the bedroom, the latest design trends use houseplants in abundance. It’s easy to see why. Nature calms the mind and body. Think of the last time you took a walk through the forest or wandered along a beach. No doubt it was relaxing. That’s what nature, and houseplants, in this case, can do for you—create a calm, relaxing atmosphere.
But, houseplants do more than help you relax. They improve air quality by getting rid of biotoxins and releasing oxygen. Take the snake plant, for example. It releases oxygen at night when you need it most. Clean, fresh air has been shown to improve the quality of your sleep, leaving you feeling refreshed in the morning.
Plants can also help bring balance to a room. Tall, leafy plant varieties work well in tight corners that otherwise might stay empty. A small plant on a nightstand gives movement to the bedroom and puts fresh oxygen close to your bed.
2. Natural Decor
You can bring nature into the bedroom with more than just houseplants. Furniture and decorations that use organic design have a similar effect on the mind and body. Branch-inspired handles on dressers or arms on chandeliers hint at nature with a trendy twist. Nightstands that look more like tree stumps add a quirky hint of nature that’s hard to ignore.
Wood, rock, and stone can all be used to bring natural textures, and colors to the bedroom. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when looking for nightstands, accent chairs, or mirrors that remind you of nature.
Lighting plays an important role in your sleep quality. Natural light exposure helps set the internal clock that controls the sleep-wake cycle. The decrease in natural light that comes with dusk triggers the release of sleep hormones like melatonin.
Because of the powerful effect light can have on your sleep, it needs to be used carefully in the bedroom. Heavy drapes, blackout curtains, and blinds should keep out as much outside light as possible, especially if you live in an area with a lot of light pollution.
You should also consider the types of light bulbs you use. High-efficiency LED bulbs that give off a blue light that simulates natural sunlight and can suppress the release of melatonin. The light from electronic devices like televisions and smartphones can have the same effect. For the best sleep, use incandescent bulbs and keep electronics out of the bedroom. If you can’t remove them altogether, at least turn them off an hour before bed to prevent sleep disruptions.
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.
Tuck Sleep is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NPR, Lifehacker, Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations.
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