It’s all well and good letting your inner Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen loose when you’re creating your boudoir, but what actually makes the perfect sleeping space? To create a room that helps you drift off into peaceful slumber each night, you’ll need to nail some design basics – and these six tips should help you along the way.
1) Take control over light cues
Do you often find that you wake up a few minutes before your alarm clock rings in the morning? If so, don’t be fooled into thinking this is sheer good luck or some sort of spooky sixth sense. In fact, our bodies are programmed to start becoming more alert as light levels build, so it’s common for people to wake up naturally when sunlight begins streaming into their bedrooms. Light cues can trigger a range of physical responses, including a reduction in melatonin levels, a rise in body temperature and an increase in cortisol. This might all seem a little technical, but basically it just means your body is preparing itself to wake up and start the day. So that you don’t find yourself alert and raring to go at 5am on a summer morning when you should be getting more kip, it might pay off to purchase blackout blinds or curtains. These handy window dressings give you added control over light levels in your room.
Also, it’s worth installing some low-wattage, incandescent lights by your bed. These gentle illuminations are better than bright lights at helping you to relax before you hit the hay at night.
2) Introduce soothing scents
Smell can play a role in helping you to drift off at night as well. Research has shown that certain scents have a relaxing effect on people. For example, a study conducted by a team at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok found that when people sniffed lavender before bed, they had deeper sleep and felt more alert in the morning. By using pleasantly fragranced candles or oils in your room, you might find you enjoy a better quality of rest. Of course, you don’t have to use lavender. If you don’t like this scent or find it doesn’t work for you, there are plenty of other fragrances to experiment with.
3) Don’t get lax about your laundry
Another way to keep your room smelling and feeling fresh is to wash your bedding regularly. OK, so if you have a hectic schedule, you might sometimes find that your laundry regime gets a little lax, but it’s important to make an effort to refresh your bedding on a frequent basis. In a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, around three-quarters of respondents reported getting a more comfortable night’s sleep when they use sheets with a fresh scent. Ideally, you should aim to wash your bedding around once a week, and by using detergent with a dreamy fragrance, you could make climbing between the sheets an even more pleasurable experience.
4) Nullify unwanted noise
Then there’s noise to think about. We don’t all have the luxury of living in quiet properties, and like lots of people, you might find you’re often disturbed at night by a din coming from either inside or outside your home. From doors slamming to neighbours screeching and cats scrapping, a whole cacophony of noises can make getting a peaceful night’s sleep seem all but impossible.
One simple way to cut noise out is to use earplugs. Another approach is to mask sounds with the help of white noise. You can buy special white noise machines, or turn to regular household appliances like air purifiers or fans instead. By creating a background layer of sound, you can disguise other noises, helping you to sleep more soundly. To find the right kind of white noise and the perfect volume, you might have to experiment with a few different setups, but especially if you live in a noisy house, it’s worth making the effort.
5) Ditch dodgy beds
If you’re going to focus on one piece of furniture in this part of your property, it should be your bed. In a well-designed sleeping area, there’s simply no place for a rickety, undersized or creaking bed. When you’re choosing a new design, make sure you opt for something solid that will offer comfort and will stand the test of time. For the ultimate in luxury and convenience, you could get yourself an adjustable bed complete with massage functions. These hi-tech sleeping aids make it easier to achieve the perfect resting positions, while the massage features can soothe aches and pains and lower stress levels, making it easier to nod off at night.
Think about your mattress too. Lumpy, unsupportive mattresses can stop you getting the shuteye you need, and they can leave you feeling sore in the morning. Sagging spots around the edges or in the middle of your mattress are a sure sign that it needs to be replaced. Also, if you are disturbed each time your partner shifts in bed, the chances are you could benefit from a better mattress. When perusing the variety of products on offer, look out for versions that suit your preferred sleeping position, as well as your size and weight.
6) Clear the clutter, and grab a paintbrush!
Keeping your room free from clutter could help you to nod off at night too, so make sure you have enough storage in your room, and take a little time each day to tidy this space. Avoid cramming too much into this part of your property as well, and try to keep distractions like TVs and computers out.
It also pays off to think carefully about the colour of your sleeping space. As well as helping you to create a stylish room, the hues you choose could have a major impact on your ability to drift off. Ideally, you should aim for calming colours that help you to relax. Personal preference has a big role to play here, but it is worth taking a look at the science too. For example, a survey of 2,000 Britons conducted by Travelodge found that people who slept in blue rooms reported the best sleeping patterns. Certain shades of yellow came second, while green came in third. At the other end of the spectrum, people who slept in rooms coloured purple, brown and grey had the least sleep on average.
There’s certainly a lot to think about when you’re trying to create the perfect sleeping space, but by bearing tips like these in mind, you can boost your chances of success.