Sleep deprivation is an epidemic these days. It seems that very few of us get enough sleep. We say that we’re too busy to sleep, or that we don’t need very much sleep – but those are just excuses. Most adults need to get seven or eight hours of sleep per night to feel good and maintain energy and focus.
There is one sleep culprit that is rarely mentioned, and yet it can make a huge difference in the amount and quality of sleep you get. It might sound silly, but reorganizing your bedroom can help you get a good night’s sleep. With that in mind, here are some easy changes you can make to reclaim your rest.
#1: Declutter your room
Is your bedroom clean and tidy, or is it a jumbled mess? Many of us have stacks of clothes, books, and other items cluttering up our rooms. When your bedroom is cluttered, your mind may end up being cluttered and distracted, too. A good way to start decluttering is to clean out your closet. Get rid of any clothes you haven’t worn in more than a year, and put everything away. The same goes for books. You’re not reading 20 books at once, so put the ones that are on your to-be-read list back in the bookcase.
#2: Stock your nightstand with sleep-friendly items
What’s on your nightstand or dresser? If you have work piled there, or unpaid bills, those things may be preventing you from getting to sleep at night. Put those things neatly in a drawer. Instead, try having some of the following things close at hand:
- A sleep mask to help block out excess light
- Lavender oil or a soothing linen spray to use on your pillow and sheets
- A small notebook and pen to help clear your mind of worries and distractions (writing them down can help you let go of them for the night)
- A book of meditations or poetry
When you stock your table with sleep-friendly items, you are giving yourself permission to get a good night’s rest.
#3: Banish or hide electronics
Most people these days tend to be connected to their electronic devices – computers, tablets, smart phones, and televisions – all the time. However, the light and distraction these items produce is detrimental to sleep. Let your cell phone charge in the other room, and turn off all electronic devices. It’s very easy to get caught up in social media or other distractions when you have your phone handy. Let bedtime be about bed, not about checking Facebook or watching YouTube videos. You may even want to consider getting a screen to cover your TV, or hiding it in an armoire.
#4: Make it really dark
Getting rid of electronics in the bedroom is a good first step, but it’s not the only one. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, the chances are good that you have some residual light coming in through your windows at night. Invest in some blackout curtains and use them to seal your room off from outside light. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to get to sleep – and stay asleep – when your room is really dark.
#5: Make your bedroom a one-task room
If you live in a small space, you may be tempted to have your bedroom double as an office. However, when you bring work into the bedroom, you also bring unnecessary stress and distractions. It can be very difficult to sleep if everywhere you look you are confronted with unfinished work. Try to make your bedroom all about relaxation. If you must use the room for work, come up with a system to hide the work at the end of the day so you aren’t forced to look at it. A filing cabinet or other storage system can allow you to put away your work so you can focus on sleep.
#6: Keep it clean
Allergies are a common culprit when it comes to disrupted sleep. If you have things stored under your bed, it might be months since you vacuumed there. Keep under-the-bed storage to a minimum, and make sure to vacuum and change the sheets at least once a week. When you minimize dust (and dust bunnies) you ensure that your nose will stay clear and you will be able to rest.
#7: Make your bed every morning
This might seem unnecessary, but research shows that people who make their beds tend to sleep more restfully than those who don’t. Climbing into a neat bed with cool, clean sheets can make a big difference in terms of how you feel.
The organization and cleanliness of your bedroom might not seem to matter, but the bottom line is that they can make a big difference in how long – and how well – you sleep.