Spring Sleeping: 6 Elements for a Healthy Bedroom
Spring is here and I’m sure you’re excited about the sun, flowers, and less layers of clothing. Spring cleaning is a ritual for some. It’s a time to dust off the chilliness of winter and shed some light on projects that may have hibernated in those colder months. Many of my clients change out winter clothes, organize their closet, clean out under the kitchen sink, or buy a new shower curtain after a deep scrub of the bathroom. All important and achieve a sense of accomplishment and excitement for summer entertaining. But what about the most important room in the house for self-care: the bedroom?
When I work with my clients, I have a full page of questions about their bedroom, sleeping habits, sleeping challenges, etc. It is important as a designer to make design choices based on the client’s needs and current challenges ie be a problem solver! Many of my clients have trouble sleeping for varying reasons. They also get sick frequently and overall feel a little run down. Below are 6 key elements to ensure a healthy bedroom to support self-care, a strong immune system, and tranquil sleep. (Note: None of the links included in this article are sponsored; although it would be nice.)
Electronics emit a blue light that boost alertness during the day, yet at night it can disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle. In addition, a million cords flying around the bedroom are an unsightly tripping hazard. It is best to keep your electronics out of the bedroom but I personally find that challenging. If space is an issue or you want a place to stash work before you go to bed, opt for a stylish well-priced desk armoire like this one from Room & Board. It has great storage and when closed looks appropriate for a bedroom. With this piece of furniture, desk supplies, stacks of bills, cell phones, and laptops can be closed off when it’s time to start counting sheep.
For guest rooms, dorm rooms, and other small rooms, organization is key so expensive devices aren't lying on the floor or perched on a tiny nightstand. I recently purchased this Bed Butler for a client’s guest room and they love it! Everything has its place and is still within close reach. Also the lucite is a style chameleon.
A little common sense is necessary here. No reptiles or birds in the bedroom. But what about dogs and cats? Experts say they don’t belong in the bedroom, but anyone who knows me knows that Benny my shihtzu comes with me everywhere and is my primary snuggle companion.
If evicting your sweet furball from the bedroom is a non-starter, there are a couple of tactics I have implemented to keep myself healthy. Invest in an air purifier that is specially designed to reduce allergens such as pollen, dust, and dander and take smells out of the air. Make sure you get a HEPA filter like this one and read reviews on the noise level. A bit of white noise is OK but you don’t want the machine to be too loud.
Another essential is a night time blanket that is just for your pet. Roll their blanket out on top of the bed at night and fold up during the day. The hair, dander, smell, etc. stay on the blanket and not on your comforter. I just spyed that Target has partnered with Deny for some cute patterns.
Carpeting and Pillows
For my clients who struggle with allergies, hay fever, or asthma, I like to suggest removing the carpeting and replacing with hard surfaces and a small rug at the side of the bed. Removing carpet reduces the dust and dust mites which means fewer allergens and less congestion. The same applies to a sea of pillows on the bed. I use a rule of thumb by capping the total pillow count to 6 (2-3 sleeping, 2 euros, 1 throw). Hypoallergenic pillows are a great option. Look for those made of natural latex, bamboo, wool, or cotton. Bamboo is my personal favorite. Most pillows may be washed regardless stuffing. Hint: Wash and dry 2 pillows at a time to avoid distorting the stuffing.
Light and Temperature
Happily, spring means longer days and earlier sunrises. However, along with the time of year, street lights, and light from nearby homes, our circadian rhythms can get disrupted. Blackout curtains, room darkening shades, or shutters block out the light and may be set on a remote control. Remember the old “clap on, clap off” lamps? Now we have smart devices like Hue that are able to dim and turn off all lights at once with a phone or voice command (via alexa or google home).
The National Sleep Foundation suggests a bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 degrees. A Nest, Lutron, Honeywell or other smart thermostat will help you auto program your HVAC to achieve the right temperature at the right time of day.
A few years back, Travelodge in the UK surveyed over 2,000 British households who reported the amount of sleep they got by the color of their bedroom walls. Individuals with blue bedrooms got the most sleep, clocking in an average of 7 hours and 52 minutes per night. If blue is not your preference, according to the survey, there are lots of options! Moss green, pale yellow, grey, and silver followed close behind.
My personal favorite in the bedroom - greenery. Research from Texas A&M shows that merely being in the presence of plants indoors can boost one’s mood, productivity, focus, and memory retention.
Succulents, in particular, are the best type to keep by your bedside because they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen at night. This makes succulents excellent snoozing companions!
Just implementing one of these bedroom improvements is a step towards self-care. We all deserve some rest and relaxation to begin another day doing what we love with the people we love doing it with.
Nelly Arnold is the owner of personalspace. She coaches clients to build self-confidence through the power of interior design.