Turn your bedroom into a zen palace
Posted by AMH Team
8m read time
Mar 1, 2022
For many of us, our bedroom is our sanctuary. The bedroom offers a unique experience compared to the rest of the house. It’s where we’ll spend about a third of our day, yet we’re (ideally) not awake for most of the time we’re there.
In that sense, the bedroom is a comforting, inviting place. At least, it should be. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to start letting your bedroom slip, or to allow life’s stressors to come and invade our safe space. Consider these easy steps to turn your bedroom into a zen palace, and keep it that way.
Make your bed every morning
The easiest thing you can do to start off your day? Make your bed. It only takes a couple of minutes and it sets you up for success for the rest of your waking hours. A morning routine leads to decreased anxiety and depression and makes you more creative. That means you can accomplish more during the day and feel better while doing it.
Making your bed also leads to an organized environment, which offers ample health benefits, including improved focus, productivity, and lower levels of stress. Your environment plays an important role in sleep hygiene, which includes anything that could distract you, like noise, lights, stress, or messes. An unkempt bed could be keeping you from getting consistent sound sleep.
Besides, it’s more fun to hop under cozy sheets and pull them snugly around you, an activity that is less gratifying when your bed is unmade.
Get rid of clutter
A messy work desk might mean you’re a genius. A messy bedroom might mean you have trouble getting to sleep. That extra stimuli and clutter can be great for creative projects, but in the bedroom, they serve as both a mental and physical distraction. Decluttering can help bring a soothing vibe into the bedroom.
Getting rid of clutter doesn’t mean you need to throw everything out except for your bed. Rather, take stock of the things you have in the bedroom. A bedside lamp, alarm clock, phone charger, and enjoyable book on a bedside drawer? Those are all perfectly fine things to have. A pile of old magazines, worn-out receipts, dirty socks strewn about the floor, and an unwanted birthday gift from three years ago that you’ve never opened? Those are taking up space in your room and your mind, so start getting rid of them.
It might take a bit of adjusting at first, but you’ll soon enjoy all the open space you have in your room. You might even take advantage of the extra square footage and introduce a meditation space, offering a safe zone where you can focus on the moment and embrace your inner calm.
Reserve your bed for sleeping
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of us were adjusting to work-from-home life. We hadn’t yet developed reliable office or desk space to get our work done, so there were many trips around the house, trying to find a change of scenery that would spur productivity. At some point, you likely brought your laptop onto your bed, hoping to get work done while being extra comfortable.
There’s a problem with doing that regularly, though. When you use your bed and bedroom for things other than sleeping or meditation, it becomes less of a zen palace and more of a bustling metropolis. Hopping in the bed to work, watch TV, or eat meals tricks your brain into thinking you’re doing something that requires you to be vigilant and attentive, instead of introducing a sense of tranquility.
Television and phones are the worst offenders. The artificial light of the screens restricts melatonin production and interferes with circadian rhythms. Instead of a relaxed, soothing environment, your brain gets more alert and ready for action. Looking at screens too close to bedtime will lead to more tossing and turning and less restful sleep.
The obvious solution is to not look at your phone or TV an hour before bed. Failing that, investing in blue light screens or glasses, and keeping the TV out of your bedroom will help limit your exposure to harmful blue light before bed.
Pay attention to lighting
Lighting is one of the most critical elements to consider when setting up your bedroom. Draw the blinds or shades before you go to bed, and you’ll manage to avoid light coming in from outdoor lamps, car headlights, and, most obviously, the sun. Especially if your room faces the east, a burst of sunlight hitting you in the eyes may not be your favorite way to wake up.
Beyond avoiding the blue light of TV and phone screens, your bedroom lighting factors into your sleep quality. When it’s too bright, our brains believe it’s daytime and get our bodies ready for the day. Using bedside lamp bulbs with warm temperatures (in the 2,700-3,500 Kelvin range) puts us in the right mindset for sleep.
Many bedside lamps now come with different light temperatures, so you can adjust as needed. You might use the brightest light in the morning while you’re getting ready and dim it to a softer, warmer white temperature at night.
Make sound decisions
Just as important as lighting, having too many sounds—or the wrong ones—in the bedroom will take you from feeling cozy and relaxed to a level of intensity typically seen in horror films.
Luckily, you have plenty of options that can help. Consider investing in a sound machine or using an app that plays white or pink noise; the random noise does a wonderful job of blocking out sounds that might come through your walls, like car or train engines, TV chatter, and inclement weather. Alternatively, use guided meditation to wind down before your head touches your pillow. Even YouTube is a great resource to find soothing sounds for sleep.
If you prefer no sound at all, pick up a pack of earplugs or buy a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to block out other sounds. Just make sure you use an alarm that has an extra high volume and vibrates if you need to be up at a certain time.
Additionally, if you have wood or tile floors in your bedroom, placing a thick rug helps reduce excess sound. Plus, it’s more fun to rub your toes on a plush or fluffy rug. To avoid slipping or scuffing the floor, add a nonstick felt pad underneath the rug before placing it down.
Put some layers together
Add layers with a fitted sheet, flat sheet, soft lightweight blanket, and a comforter with a duvet to create a warm and cozy setting. If you find yourself running cold during the night, wool, fleece, and cotton blankets or comforters will add some heat to your bed. Try using flannel sheets or weighted blankets on particularly chilly evenings.
Layering is an especially great option if you’re sharing a bed with someone who sleeps at a different temperature than you. Cold sleepers can pull the sheets up to their chin, while warmer sleepers might kick off everything but a thin bedsheet.
Don’t forget about your pillows, either. While body size and personal preference may influence pillow size, stick to a height of four to six inches to best support your head, neck, and shoulders.
Add a bit of color
The color palette you choose for your bedroom can play a major role in your bedtime mindset. Certain colors evoke specific emotions. Opting for soft colors like white, blue, or green in your pillows, comforters, duvets, bedside tables, and wall décor builds a consistent theme of serenity throughout your bedroom.
Consider bringing in a few plants to introduce natural tranquility into your space, too. While fake plants are easier to take care of, they don’t provide as many perks as real ones. The vibrant green colors not only produce a calming effect, they also offer a host of other benefits, including reduced stress levels, improved indoor air quality, and faster recovery from illness. Indoor greenery like aloe vera, snake plants, fiddle leaf fig trees, and English ivy are all fairly easy to take care of and will bring an extra sense of comfort into the bedroom.
Build a designated pet space
Your pets are a friendly, loving presence within the house. In the bed? Sometimes they can be downright pests. Just when you’re about to doze off, they decide their new snoozing spot should be right on top of your stomach or they need to stretch all their claws into your side. If you happen to be sensitive to pet dander, you could find yourself sneezing and sniffling throughout the night, which is no way to get a good night’s sleep.
To try and eliminate some pet trouble, create a designated space for your pet to relax. A cat might find a scratching post with a ball and string is plenty soothing. Dog owners can place a comfy bed and cozy blanket on the floor, complete with a couple of chew toys—ideally without squeakers, to avoid introducing an entirely new distraction into the bedroom!
If your pet is recently adopted or seems extra nervous in the bedroom, a pheromone spray often helps turn unfamiliar areas into more welcoming spaces.
Create a comfortable environment
The ideal temperature for a bedroom is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range offers a more stable REM sleep, which means you’re getting deeper, more consistent sleep with less stirring. Ensuring your bedroom is cool and comfortable is a big step toward more relaxing nights.
Instead of dropping the thermostat a few degrees, though, utilize your ceiling fans and keep your shades drawn during the day. Curtains and drapes can reduce heat gains by up to 33%. Not only will both of those methods leave your bedroom nice and cool, but you’ll also save on your electricity bill.
A humidifier and essential oil diffuser can help keep moisture in the air, limiting the likelihood you’ll wake up with dry lips and a scratchy throat. Some of those products add pleasing scents, offering you a nice aromatherapy without having to head over to a spa. If you don’t want to invest in an oil diffuser, simply spraying a few mists of your favorite scent in the air or on your pillow will introduce a calming atmosphere.
Implement the above bedroom tips and enjoy your home’s new zen palace feel. You’ll be getting more—and better quality—rest in no time.
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