The Rub: With all the stresses of modern life, it's important that the bedroom helps us rest and recharge. But even in the room that's supposed to be our refuge, it's hard to disconnect from our devices, quiet our minds and get the sleep we need.
The Remedy: A serene bedroom can help calm our senses. Turn off screens (or keep them out entirely), invest in quality bedding made from natural, breathable materials and pay attention to lighting, air quality and scent. Here are 8 steps to peace, quiet and calm...
- Keep a notebook on the nightstand. When your mind races at night, it can help to have a place to put your thoughts. It can be anything: a diary, dream log or whatever, just as long as you're not typing a to-do list in your phone.
- Pare back and be picky. The best thing you can do for your bedroom isn't to buy more but to be choosy about what you decide to bring in. Unclutter surfaces, keep floors clear and contain clothes in the closet, dresser or laundry basket.
- Love your mattress. Replacing a mattress can be very expensive, so do your homework before you buy a new one. A good one should last ten years, and these days there's so much competition in the mattress market that many retailers offer 100-night trials. At minimum, lie down on a mattress in the store to see if it's comfortable.
- Splurge on better bedding. Bedding can have as much impact on your sleep as a mattress, and it's much less expensive to upgrade. Natural-fiber sheets like organic cotton or pure linen are breathable, meaning they absorb moisture to help keep you cool, dry and comfortable.
- Layer your lighting. Our bodies are tuned into the rhythms of natural light, and bright artificial light before bed can disrupt sleep. Dimmers help signal that it's time to wind down, while layered sheers and curtains can lower light levels, especially in the city.
- Clear the air. Cleanliness and air quality can have an impact on sleep, especially if you have allergies, so wash your sheets once a week. If air quality is a big deal for you, consider investing in a HEPA (High-Efficiency Air Particulate Absorbing) air purifier with a good CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate), but beware of non-HEPA purifiers as they can release ozone emissions, doing more harm than good.
- Soothe with scent. In addition to keeping your bedroom clean, you can use linen sprays or sachets to help you relax and fall asleep. The best scents are really whichever ones you like, but lavender, vetiver and chamomile essential oils are all traditionally associated with creating a calm environment.
- Invest in little luxuries. True comfort comes from taking care of ourselves. Treat yourself as a guest in your own home, and add something small but beautiful: a bud vase, a glass water carafe or a cozy throw for the bed.
Written by Sarah Coffey & Photographed by Nick Steever