1. Close those shades.
Light greatly effects our sleep cycle. When the sun comes up and our body recognizes the light, it wakes us up. Have you ever slept in a dark room? It's amazing how much longer you can sleep without ever knowing if it's time to get up. In one of our previous apartments, the bedroom was painted a deep violet color, and the drapes were made from heavy, thick velvet. As much as I wasn't a fan of the dark colors in the master bedroom, I had to admit sleeping in what was essentially a dark cave really helped when getting some shut eye.
Lesson here: invest in some darkening shades. If you've never tried it, you should! I bet you'll notice a difference.
2. Remove all technology.
At one time, way back when, I used to sleep with my cell phone. The problem is, in this day and age, we are constantly connected. Bed time is THE time we should be disconnecting - especially when quality sleep is concerned. With that being said, I'm also not a fan of having a television in the bedroom (just personal opinion, sorry!) From an interior aesthetic standpoint, it's difficult to make a television look good in any space - let alone the bedroom. Not to mention, all the cords, the chargers, where does it all go?
And jumping back to point #1: the light coming off the television, and your cellphone for that matter, is very disruptive. So if at all possible, remove the technology, disconnect and reconnect with deep slumber.
3. Get some new sheets. Or at least wash the ones you got.
I'm a avid believer in comfort at all times, and no where is this more important than in the bedroom. This is a time to invest in some great sheets. Something to look out for: high thread count. The higher the thread count, the softer the sheet. This really matters people. You know what they say: once you go high thread count anything low will feel like sleeping on a bed of straw. (I don't really know who said that, but they're right!) A thread count of 200 or 400 is usually good, but they can go as high as 1800 (or higher in some cases). When buying new sheets, definitely have a feel, and see the difference between the different thread counts in the store before you purchase. Also look for cotton and cotton blends, this fabric is the most breathable.
Ok, so not all of us can afford to run out and buy new sheets. An easy way to get a better night sleep - give those sheets a wash. Be honest, when was the last time you washed your sheets. We've all been there, when life gets busy and the bed hasn't been changed in, oh, I don't know, weeks. Throw a clean set of sheets on the bed. Have a hot bath, and slide into that clean bed. You know you want to.
4. Create a calming environment.
During my research for my final project on the Sleep Centre, I found that the most calming color is blue - which makes it the best color to paint your bedroom. I was a little surprised, I thought it might be white. You always see those ads of tranquil bedrooms with white walls and white sheets and white curtains and you think who really does that?! In reality, all that white can make a person feel lost. Pastels, creams, and light shades are usually best to create that calming environment. That being said, I slept great in that dark violet (I'm talking so deep it was almost burgundy) bedroom. It ultimately comes down to personal preference. Because if you love it, and it's you're happy place you will most likely drift off feeling satisfied.
This also brings back the point of #2 - Limit, if not eliminate those electronics. They decrease the overall sense of calm.
It's also important to declutter! There really shouldn't be anything in the bedroom that doesn't belong there. This means removing any paperwork, work files, textbooks. Picking up clothes and putting them away. Anything laying around can cause anxiety and nagging feelings - they remind us of all the things that need to be done. Spend some time putting your bedroom in order so that you can at least go to bed in peace.
I hope that these few simple tips can help you get a couple of extra minutes of shut eye every night. Let me know what works for you and if you have any questions. Or, better yet, let me help you create your perfect sleep environment!