Did you know that UK Google searches for ‘how to reset my sleep schedule’ have grown by more than 5,000% since early March 2021? With lockdown lifting soon, it seems that Brits are trying to get back into a routine and adjust their sleeping patterns as they hope to return to normal life.
One thing you can do is make sure your surroundings aren’t disrupting your sleep schedule. To help, we have pulled together our top 10 tips for designing your bedroom for a better night’s sleep, before enlisting the expertise of Xander Shreenan, an Interior Designer at Dowsing & Reynolds to confirm.
1. Create a cocoon effect by painting your ceiling and walls
Paint your bedroom ceiling in the same colour as your walls to create a soothing space that can help you get a great night’s sleep. Xander says, ‘This has a cocooning effect which is great for relaxation.’ This on-trend tip can also make your bedroom look bigger, as one colour gives the impression that you have a higher ceiling.
2. Choose a light blue colour scheme to destress
‘Choose a colour scheme that you personally find relaxing,’ says Xander. Research shows that blue is the most calming colour, making it the perfect choice for your bedroom’s colour scheme. The study also says that lighter, cooler colours are linked with a happier mood when compared to heavier and warmer colours. If your bedroom is painted red or orange, these colours could be bringing your mood down and impacting your sleep.
3. Improve air quality with plants
The air quality in your bedroom can affect your breathing and make it harder to drift off. But certain plants can purify the air and remove nasty pollutants, which can improve your sleep.
‘Plants improve air quality and can change the humidity in a room, making the atmosphere more pleasant,’ says Xander. An analysis by NASA shows that the most effective plants for purifying the air include a spider plant, peace lily and bamboo palm.
4. Move your bed for good feng shui
The location of your bed could affect your sleep, according to the principles of feng shui. It’s said that your bed should be in a ‘commanding’ position which isn’t directly in line with your door.
You can also take your feng shui practice one step further by making sure the head of your bed is against a wall and not underneath any windows. This helps to minimise any disruptions, such as sounds and shadows, which can affect your sleep.
5. Choose natural bedding to regulate body temperature
Sleep is strongly linked to your natural body temperature. Our core body temperature changes during our 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, cooling down during sleep and warming up when we’re awake.
To help you sleep better, Xander says to choose ‘soft, breathable fabric for bedding to regulate body temperature.’ The most breathable options include natural materials such as cotton and linen.
6. Tidy away clutter before sleeping
A messy bedroom could be making your sleep worse, as one study suggests that hoarding and poor sleep are connected. While you might not be at risk of a serious hoarding disorder, you should still tidy away clutter before bed to help your mind relax before going to sleep.
Xander says, ‘Try not to let the clutter pile up. This can make you feel unsettled and will make it harder for you to relax before bed. It’s like having a visual reminder of something you were supposed to sort that day.’
7. Accessorise with an essential oil diffuser
Inhaling lavender can improve your sleep quality and make you feel less tired during the day, according to science. Invest in lavender essential oil and a diffuser and you have the perfect bedroom accessory that will also help you get a great night’s sleep.
8. Control your bedroom’s ambience with a dimmer lamp
Regular room lighting supresses melatonin, a natural hormone produced by our bodies to help us sleep. What’s more, exposure to room light shortens your melatonin’s duration by 90 minutes, making it harder to drift off.
Since many of us don’t like to lie down in complete darkness before going to sleep, try reducing the brightness in your bedroom with a dimmer lamp. Xander says, ‘Install all lighting in the room on dimmer switches so you can control the ambience. Turn down the ceiling lighting in the evening or use a bedside table lamp so that your eyes aren't strained before bed.’
9. Make your bedroom a phone-free zone
Avoiding your phone before bed will help you get to sleep quicker and improve your overall sleep quality, according to a study. Xander advises, ‘Avoid using your phone or laptop in the bedroom an hour or two before bed. The blue light emitted from these devices negatively affects sleep.’
Even if you turn your device’s blue light off, using your phone for just 30 minutes before bed can impact your sleep quality and cause fatigue. Even simply placing it beside your pillow can disturb your sleep, so keep it out of the bedroom as much as possible.
10. Invest in blackout curtains to help you stay asleep
Darkness sends sleep signals to your body, so it’s important to keep your bedroom dark to stop you waking up in the early hours. At the beginning of March 2021, online searches for ‘blackout curtains’ increased by 236% at 7am, suggesting many Brits have been woken up by the earlier sun rises.
If you haven’t hopped on the trend, take the expert’s advice. Xander says, ‘Use blackout curtains to help keep the room dark – it’s especially important in summer. Thick curtains will also help insulate the room in winter if you have single glazed windows.’