If there’s one thing you shouldn’t skimp on, it’s sleep. But when you’re ready to call it a day, the quality of your shut-eye matters just as much as the quantity—which is why it’s so important to create a bedroom that’s conducive to 40 winks.
Creating a restful retreat isn’t difficult. Here’s how to get started.
1. Keep things dark
The darker your room, the sounder you’ll sleep. And a dark room starts with window treatments.
Shades with room-darkening fabrics do the job by helping to block exterior light, including streetlights and bright morning sunshine.
Room-darkening shade liners also help block exterior light. Some liners are available sewn directly onto the back of the shade, while others operate independently from the shade, giving you more flexibility when it comes to letting in natural light during the day.
In addition, you can help block natural light by mounting shades outside your window frame or by adding side panels or drapery.
2. Dim the lights
It’s easier to feel drowsy if your bedtime routine includes soft, instead of bright, light. The solution? Install a dimmer. Options include plug-in lamp dimmers that you plug into a bedside lamp, as well as in-wall dimmers.
3. Limit electronics
Another key to winding down is minimizing (or eliminating) before-bed tablet or phone screen time, as the blue light from these electronics can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Trolling social media, reading the news and checking your email doesn’t help your mind wind down, either. (Same goes for watching TV.)
4. Rethink your mattress
The general consensus for replacing a mattress is every 7 to 10 years. But if you’re waking up with an achy back, it’s probably time to get a new mattress, no matter how long you’ve had it. And while a mattress isn’t inexpensive, it’s worth it to invest in a quality brand for both comfort and spine support. Make sure you take into consideration the position you sleep in, how much firmness you want, and what the mattress is made out of before you make your decision.
5. Upgrade your pillows
Pillows also play a part in getting a good night’s rest. Not sure if yours need replacing? Fold them in half. If they don’t spring back, it’s time for some new ones.
6. Turn down your thermostat
When it comes to sleep, the cooler the better—temps between 60 and 70 degrees are ideal. Invest in a smart thermostat, and you can easily schedule a bedtime temp that’s just right, every night.
7. Block noise
Outside commotion—whether from cars, a yapping dog, or the all-night block party—can wreak havoc on the quality of your sleep. White noise from a machine or an app on your phone may help drown out the racket, helping you to relax and fall asleep (or back to sleep).
8. Cut the clutter
Removing stacks of bills, exercise equipment, piles of magazines—anything that you don’t absolutely need in your bedroom—helps decrease stress and anxiety. Make an effort to put clothes and shoes away, and store “needed, but don’t need to see it” things in your closet.
(Keep in mind that decluttering doesn’t mean getting rid of meaningful items. A few framed photos, special mementos, or a book or two on your nightstand all add warmth and personality.)