Medically reviewed by
Dacelin St Martin, MD
Triple board-certified in Sleep Medicine,
Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics.
A night of tossing and turning can leave you frazzled and running on empty. Insomnia is a widespread sleep disorder, with an average of 10-30 percent of the population suffering from it on a regular basis.
Many of us excuse away sleeplessness, not realizing that it can take a toll on the quality of your life and longevity. Sleeping is one of those things where the harder you try to sleep, the more difficult it is to sleep.
One thing you can do, however, is change your sleeping environment and behaviors. A few changes may be enough to help you encourage sleep to come a little more easily.
Not everyone can go out and buy a new orthopedic bed or weighted blankets, so if you’re on a budget and you want to prepare your room for sleep, keep on reading.
9 Ways to Improve Your Sleeping Environment
1. Essential Oils
Certain essential oils are ideal for encouraging sleep and relaxation, such as lavender and chamomile. Why not invest in a diffuser and allow the scent of your favorite oil to fill the room, working its magic and enabling you to sleep more easily?
2. Keep Your Room Cool
If you’re sleeping in a cold or hot room, you will struggle with sleep. Studies show that the optimum sleep temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Evaluate your current bedroom set up and see whether you need to open the window to reduce stuffiness, add or reduce blankets, or look at whether your windows require new insulation. It’s also a good idea to make sure the heating is off when you sleep, to allow you to breathe more easily.
3. Turn Your bed Around
Are you directly facing the window when you’re sleeping? If so, and if your curtains are a little thin, the sunlight is going to be directly in your eyes, probably waking you up earlier than necessary. Try to move your bed around so that the sunlight is either to the side of you (preferably the side you don’t sleep on) or behind you.
4. Invest in Comfy Bedding
Is your bedding uncomfortable in some way? Is it scratchy, or does it stick to your skin with excess static? Uncomfortable bedding can be distracting when you’re trying to sleep, so it may be that you need to change your bedding to something a little cozier. You should also assess whether your duvet is too thick or too thin and whether you have the right amount of blankets on your bed in the first place.
5. Replace Your Pillows
Old pillows lose their support and can give you neck ache and even a headache. Over time, pillows also collect dust and other nasties that you don’t want to lay on.
The general rule is to replace your pillows every 1-2 years at the most, so try and think back to the last time you had a new set of pillows, and replace them if necessary.
6. Say “Buh-Bye” to Digital Devices
If you have a TV in the bedroom, it’s time to relocate it elsewhere. If you have a desktop computer, again, you need to move it. The bedroom is not the place for any technology, and the blue light that these devices emit can play havoc with your sleep routine, tricking you into thinking it is daytime.
Avoid taking your phone into the bedroom as much as you can, and avoid using it in an hour or so before you’re planning on sleeping. If you need an alarm clock to wake up, invest in the old fashioned kind, or use your phone, but make sure it’s facedown and on silent mode.
7. Make Your Room Sleepified
Your room has to feel relaxing and cozy to make you feel in the mood for sleep. Color psychology teaches us that specific colors affect our moods, and if you want to feel relaxed and ready to sleep, you need to look towards pale blues, pale greens, pastels such as lavender, or even silver or grey.
8. Turn Your Mattress
Your mattress is an integral part of your sleep set up. It needs to be firm but not too firm, and it needs to comfortably support your body while you’re sleeping.
The wrong type of mattress can easily cause aches and pains, and it can be a distraction to stop you from nodding off in the first place. The general advice is to replace your mattress every 7-10 years, but you can flip it over or turn it around if purchasing a new mattress isn’t in your budget.
To be in the right frame of mind to sleep, you need a room that isn’t full of clutter. The psychological effect of clutter is well-known, so streamline anything you have in your bedroom and create an aesthetically pleasing look, yet not full of knick-knacks you don’t need.
Just a Few Changes Can Make a Difference
By utilizing these 9 easy tactics, you can improve your quality of sleep, and wake up feeling rested. However, if you continue to struggle with sleeplessness, you may need to make an appointment to see your doctor.
There are programs accessible online that use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) to help you overcome insomnia by adjusting your thought processes and behavior, including how to incorporate a healthy sleep regimen.
1. Prevalence of chronic insomnia in adult patients and its correlation with medical comorbidities. (n.d.). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5353813/
2. The Ideal Bedroom. Extreme Remake: The Bedroom Edition (n.d.). Better Sleep Council. https://bettersleep.org/better-sleep/the-ideal-bedroom/
3. Lauren, A. (2019, April 30). How To Design Your Bedroom For A Better Night’s Sleep. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/amandalauren/2019/04/29/how-to-design-your-bedroom-for-a-better-nights-sleep/#5536e3364ff4