Sleep is the foundation for physical and mental health—it’s a chance for our brains and bodies to hit the refresh button. While the importance of sleep is becoming common knowledge, many of us struggle with getting even the minimum recommended number of hours a night.
There’s no magic formula for good sleep, but a few tweaks to your bedroom could lead to a more restful night. The key is to create a relaxing, stress-free sleep environment. These tips can help you fall—and stay—asleep by maximizing comfort and minimizing possible distractions.
Light is the most powerful clue for your circadian rhythm, part of your body’s internal clock that regulates sleep. Too much light, including the glow from your electronic devices, can make it hard to drift off as well as to interrupt your natural cycles after you’re asleep.
Let your body know it’s time to wind down by lowering the lights an hour or so before bed. When you’re ready to fall asleep, make the room as dark as possible. If there’s a lot of extra light out of your control, try blackout curtains or a sleep mask.
A room that is too hot is more likely to cause discomfort and restlessness—plus temperature is another important cue for your circadian rhythm. While the ideal temperature might vary a few degrees from person to person, The National Sleep Foundation recommends aiming for 60–67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Similar to the lights, turn your thermostat down a couple of hours before bed as a signal to your body that it’s almost time to sleep. If you don’t have access to the thermostat or can’t precisely control the temperature of your bedroom, try a fan and breathable, temperature-regulating bedding.
Keeping noise to a minimum can be crucial to getting quality sleep, but the issue isn’t always noise level as much as it’s the unexpected nature of a jarring sound. Intrusive noises can make it almost impossible to stay asleep, and too many disruptions in a night can lead to lower sleep quality and overall health.
For some, soothing sounds from a fan, sleep app, or white noise machine can both drown out external sources and help them fall asleep. If that’s you, try setting a sleep timer to avoid sudden sounds surprising you awake later. If you have to deal with noises outside of your control, try earplugs or headphones to help block them out.
This should come as no surprise, but electronic devices are terrible for sleep. They emit light, keep your brain active, and research shows that just having your phone in the same room can detract from your sleep.1
Do your best to disconnect from your devices 30 minutes to an hour before getting into bed. Ideally, keep them out of the room entirely if you can. If using your phone as an alarm, a classic alarm clock can help keep your room device free. If you need to have devices in your room for other reasons, try to keep them on the other side of the room.
Stress is a known barrier to quality sleep, so your bedroom should be a welcoming place that invites you to relax and unwind. Uncomfortable pajamas, scratchy sheets, or unsupportive pillows can all be distractions that get in the way of your best sleep.
First, declutter. The visual stress of a messy room can be just as disruptive as mental stress. Next, stick to clothing and bedding made of comfortable, breathable fabrics. Finally, try to invest in a mattress and pillows that meet your firmness preferences and provide the appropriate support for your sleeping position.
Building a comfortable, stress-free bedroom is an essential first step in the search for better sleep. But when you’re creating your oasis, remember that it’s not all or nothing—even one or two small improvements to your environment over the next month could have a positive impact on your sleep quality.
If you’d like to learn more ways to improve your sleep—and your overall well-being—a MOBE Guide can help. Get started today.
1. Patrick Pacheco, Danielle. "Can Electronics Affect Quality Sleep?" Sleep Foundation, November 6, 2020. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/why-electronics-may-stimulate-you-bed.