September 08, 2017
Moving into a new house or apartment can be a big stressor, but it’s also a great opportunity to start fresh with home design, particularly in your bedroom. While some people may find it comforting to recreate the bedroom they had in their previous home, others prefer to take a chance on something new. Whether you absolutely love sleep or feel like you just don’t get enough of it, our tips will help you create a soothing space that’s perfect for restful snoozing.
If you opt to give your new bedroom a “snoozeable” makeover, there are several facets to consider. Keep in mind the cave-like elements of the ideal sleep space: dark, quiet, and soothing.
Bedrooms should be bright, inviting spaces by day but dark enough to both fall asleep and stay asleep at night. That’s a lot of multitasking, but it can be done. Specialty window treatments, called blackout or light-blocking curtains, are backed with a special material that cuts down on sunlight and artificial light, such as street lamps. The darker the curtain, the more light it will block. Several lower-wattage lamps around the room, with soft white or yellow-toned bulbs, will give you plenty of task lighting options. Finally, reduce ambient light by banishing electronics from the bedroom–that includes TV, computer, cell phone, and other gadgets. It might take a little getting used to, but you’ll soon be glad you did when you’re reaping the benefits of better sleep.
You may not be able to control external noise factors, like traffic or rowdy neighbors, but there are a few ways to make your bedroom a quiet zone. Heavy drapes, such as blackout curtains, can pull double duty–not only do they help darken your room, but they also muffle outside sounds. In general, the more textiles a room has, the better when it comes to reducing noise. For example, carpet, rugs, tapestries, and an upholstered headboard can all help cut the overall acoustics of your bedroom. Run a white noise machine or box fan to drown out any additional racket.
Color and Décor
Can the color of your bedroom have an affect on your sleep? Science says yes. Neutrals, such as gray and beige, and colors on the cool end of the spectrum (greens, blues, and some shades of purple) are soothing hues for most people. For those who prefer warmer colors, stick to earth tones rather than bright or bold versions, and avoid red, a stimulating color. When decorating your new space, enhance your room’s sound-deadening qualities by layering with textiles and upholstered items. Add a few throw pillows to the bed and maybe a pouf or floor cushion, and consider decorative quilts or woven hangings for the walls.
Have you ever noticed that you don’t sleep very well on your first night in a new place? You’re not alone, and there’s some interesting science behind this phenomenon. A 2016 finding confirmed what sleep researchers have suspected for decades: half your brain is on alert during sleep in an unfamiliar environment. It’s an involuntary response that hearkens back to the days when our ancestors had to stay alert to stay alive, and it’s a trait shared by some types of birds as well as sea mammals like dolphins. In humans, this half-alert sleep state disappears on the second night because by then you’ve established a mental map and sense of familiarity with your surroundings.
Your bedroom should serve as an oasis in which to escape from life’s daily stressors. It should be a space you associate with relaxation and sleep, not work and unpleasantness. Do you have any tried-and-true tips for turning your bedroom into the ultimate sleep retreat? Share them in the comments!