There will always be things that keep us from getting a good night’s sleep. There is a truckload of chores, a thrown-off sleep schedule, stress, anxiety, or someone else in the house snores.
But even when the sleeping stars align—the schedule is open, the mind is calm, and grandpa remembered to put his nasal strips on before bed—we still can’t manage to doze off. If that’s you, the issue may be your sleep space. Hopefully, our tips for creating the perfect environment for sleep may help you slip off to dreamland tonight.
Turn Down the Lights
Back in the old days, when most of us lived on farms, we didn’t have much electric lighting, so we rose and went to bed with the sun. We’re far from those days, but our bodies don’t know that yet. In other words, our bodies still think the dark means “time to hunker down” and light means “rise and shine!”
We can keep this idea in mind when improving our sleep environment; thus, having dimmer switches or lamps with darker shades are perfect for tricking our brain into getting restful before bed. Throw on some black-out curtains to keep out any pesky streetlights, and you’ll be ready to sleep.
Keep Things Cool
When it gets a little chilly out, we all want nothing more than to snuggle up under a few acres of quilts and blankets. Maybe that’s why our bodies associate cold temperatures with sleep and start producing melatonin when we go somewhere cooler.
When it’s time to turn in for the night, check the thermostat. Many consider 65 degrees Fahrenheit the ideal temperature for sleep, so feel free to give your electric bill a break in the winter. Leave the heat low and pile on more blankets.
We had parents or guardians around to tell us to clean our rooms when we were kids. Now that we’re grown-ups, it’s not always easy to work up the motivation to clean. But there’s a good reason to tidy up our rooms, even if we’re not getting an allowance for it, especially when it comes to sleep.
As human beings, we tend to like order. It’s why we’re always looking for patterns or putting things into groups. When there’s too much clutter, it can make us feel overwhelmed and anxious, even if we know where everything is. Straightening up can make us feel more relaxed and ready to sleep.
Save Your Space for Sleep
Along the lines of our brains loving order, our brains also tend to make associations. If you grew up with a loyal pet dog, you’re more likely to love dogs. If you had a mean dog who barked at you, you might have a more negative association with our canine companions.
We can make associations with a room too. If you do things that require you to be awake and active in your bed, you’ll start associating it with wakefulness too. Try to avoid working, eating, or gaming in bed. That way, your brain will look at your bed and know it’s time for sleep.
Pick Calming Colors
We live in a colorful world, and those colors have a way of playing with our emotions. If you’re giving your bedroom a little refresh, you can look for colors associated with calm and relaxation. Some naturally calming colors include:
In general, warm colors will naturally give you an energy boost, so you’ll want to avoid them for your bedroom. However, yellows and pinks may work as long as you choose pale or pastel versions of them.
Add Essential Oils
Sight isn’t the only sense that can trick your emotions. Some smells immediately change our moods, like the smell of a fresh-baked apple pie, fresh-cut grass, or a barbeque grill. Similarly, some smells naturally make us more inclined to sleep, and you can find those smells in essential oil form.
If you want to fill your bedroom with the sweet smell of sleep, add a few drops of these oils to your diffuser:
Another way to embrace the soothing smell of lavender without using essential oils is to add some lavender plants to your drawers. Your pajamas smell wonderful, and it will deter moths without using mothballs.
Spruce Up Your Bedding
Even if you followed every step for creating the perfect environment for sleep, you would probably still have a tough time nodding off if your bedding wasn’t up to snuff. Here are a few ways to spruce up your bedding.
Change Your Pillow
You can have the biggest, fluffiest pillow in the world and still not have the right pillow for you. The ideal firmness of your pillow depends on how your sleep at night.
- Side sleepers should opt for a firmer pillow
- Back sleepers tend to do better with a medium pillow
- Stomach sleepers usually sleep best with a softer pillow
Pro-Tip: The Fold Test
Even the best pillows get worn out eventually. The fold test is a good way to test if your pillow is too old. Fold your pillow in hand and press down on it with your hand for 30 seconds. If it immediately springs back into shape, it’s still good. If it stays folded, it’s time to replace it.
Choose Breathable Sheets
Remember when we said a cooler environment lends itself to a better night’s sleep? Even if the air in your environment is reasonably cool, you can still have a hot, sweltering sleep if you use stuffy synthetic sheets that trap all of your heat against your body.
For breathable sheets, you can’t go wrong with 100 percent all-natural cotton sheets. And we should know. We’ve been growing it for three generations.
Try Triple Sheeting
A good way to balance the need for extra layers and breathability in your bedding is to try the triple sheeting method of making your bed. It’s the trick that makes the beds in hotels so comfortable.
You start by adding a sheet under a thick, comfortable blanket, like one of our luxury cotton quilts. Then, you add another layer of sheets. The result is a comfortable and breathable sleeping experience.