If you’re looking for a way to help you get a better night’s sleep, a good first step is to look at your surroundings! Here’s how to set up your bedroom for better sleep.
The reasons why people are able to get a good night’s sleep or not can of course be really complex and multi-faceted, but it can often be really helpful to get back-to-basics first before you look into more complicated matters. Believe it or not, the environment that you’re sleeping in can have a huge impact on your efforts to be more well-rested. You may think that your surroundings don’t matter, because you’re unconscious when you’re sleeping after all, but your bedroom can actually cause you stress or discomfort in small ways that can really add up night after night. Here are some ideas for things to look at when you’re setting up your bedroom for better sleep.
Setting Up For Better Sleep: Tidy Up
Walking into a tidy, orderly room on the way to bed has a definite calming effect. Walking into a messy room, having to step over piles of clothes, or move things off of your bed just to get in it will do just the opposite. Before you do any of the other items on this list, make sure your room is organized, tidy, and peaceful. There’s a reason why people have been known to say that they sleep like a baby after a day spent decluttering their home. 🙂
Setting Up For Better Sleep: The Mattress
Once your room is tidy, you’ll want to start looking as your mattress, which is basically the foundation that your sleep routine is built on. Mattresses come in all different shapes, sizes, materials and levels of softness and what kind of mattress you choose is really a matter of personal preference. Figuring out whether your mattress is working for you or not really comes down to asking yourself a few super simple questions. “Do I like my mattress?” “Do I feel like I want to flop down on in when I walk in the room?” “If I need to sit down, do I go right for the side of the bed or do I avoid it and try to find somewhere else to sit?” Your mattress should be the most welcoming place for you in your home and things like the wrong softness level, springs sticking out, or squeaks can really subconsciously discourage you from going to bed on time and being able to really get comfortable when you get there.
If you think your mattress could use an upgrade, but a new set isn’t in the budget, I love the idea of using one of these memory foam toppers to make your bed instantly more comfortable. I’m not talking about the old camping foamies that people used to throw on their beds 30 years ago. These new memory foam toppers are more like just adding on the fancy top layer that a lot of high quality mattresses have built in to them now. The mattress set we bought a few years ago has that extra top layer and it really is like sleeping on a cloud. It sounds silly, but having this extra cozy mattress to crash into just gives me such a sense of wellbeing at the end of the day.
Setting Up For Better Sleep: Sheets and Pillows
Of course the next thing in building your better sleep environment is your bedding. This was a really fun part of my little experiment to figure out ways to improve the quality of my sleep because we got to test out some new stuff! Chris has weird shoulder/neck issues at night when he sleeps because he broke his collarbone playing hockey about 2o years ago and as a result, we’ve tried so many different types of pillows and spent so. much. money. on all the different fancy pillows you can find out there. We were excited to try this pillow from Coop Home Goods (c/o) because it was so different from anything we’ve tried before. It’s made of shredded memory foam, which to me kind of feels like it acts like a firmer down pillow. I 100% love it and feel like it’s supportive while it also makes me feel like I’m collapsing into a cloud. Chris isn’t fully ready to put his word behind this pillow yet, because he’s a little more of a pillow cynic than I am, understandably. We’ve been using these pillows for a few weeks, and while they’re great so far, he’s not sure if he can trust this pillow not to go flat yet. He’s been burned by fancy pillows before, clearly. 🙂
The Coop Home Goods pillow (c/o) is guaranteed not to go flat though, so I’m pretty excited about it. If it can maintain this level of comfort long term, I’ll be thrilled. These pillows are definitely worth giving a try in my opinion if you’ve had a hard time find a good pillow in the past.
We also got to try out the Lofton Organic Sheet Set from Saatva (c/o) for this experiment. These sheets were really unlike anything I’ve ever tried in my own home before, but they reminded me of something really familiar. As soon as I took them out of the dryer after washing them the first time, they immediately took me back to that feeling of sleeping over at your grandma’s house when you were little. You know the kinds of sheets that grandmas always had? The ones that were really high quality that were a million years old, but that had been washed and re-washed over and over again until they were just about the softest thing you’ve ever felt? These sheets felt just like that right away. I’m actually really curious as to how in the world they do that with them because these sheets are 100% cotton, just like I always try to buy, but there’s just a world of difference between these and the sheets I had before. And I thought I was pretty happy with my old sheets!
I also really love that the Lofton sheets are 100% organic cotton and made in a fair trade certified factory. Saatva ensures that their sheets meet rigorous standards for environmental and social responsibility, meaning that the livelihood of every farmer and textile worker who help create the sheets has benefited and their practices for creating the sheets are guided with stewardship for the earth in mind. Knowing that will definitely help you sleep better at night! 🙂
Setting Up for Better Sleep: Kids’ Rooms
So this is where I thought I got pretty clever. We decided to try out one of these Saatva memory foam mattress toppers (c/o)- but not on our bed. Instead we put it on Jack’s! A couple of years ago when we upgraded him to a “big boy bed” we purchased just a very basic mattress and covered it with a mattress cover during those potty training year. Well, now we’re past all of that of course, but we aren’t past the stage where Jack wakes up and comes to our bed every single night around 3am! As little kids tend to do, he likes to spread out a bit when he sleeps and I end up on the couch fairly often because there just isn’t enough room left for me!
I’m pretty excited to report that, although it isn’t 100% successful every night, we’ve definitely had the most number of nights with Jack staying in his own bed since we started using the memory foam mattress topper. I think he must just sink into that thing and get so comfortable that he just doesn’t want to both getting up. 🙂 It’s a pretty big deal in our house!
I’ve been working on giving his room a bit of an update too lately, so I think some of the fun StarWars stuff in there is probably helping too. 🙂
Setting Up for Better Sleep: Other Tips
There are SO many points of discussion when it comes to trying to create a better night of sleep for yourself, but I thought I’d mention a few other points that I’ve learned about and tested out recently.
Blackout Curtains: It’s actually a good idea to avoid these whenever possible. Ideally, you want to get into a rhythm where you’re waking up at approximately the same time every day and you want that to coincide with the natural rising and setting of the sun if you can.
Glasses of water on the nightstand, midnight snacks, and nightcaps: It’s best to avoid any kind of eating or consuming of alcohol for the three hours leading up to your bedtime. Going to bed on an empty stomach allows your body to do the important work of resting and making repairs during the night, rather than having to spend energy on digestion while you sleep. Although a nightcap before bed might seem like it helps you fall into a deeper sleep, the truth is that studies have shown that your natural sleep patterns are severely interrupted during the last half of your night of sleep after consuming alcohol and you end up much less well-rested in the end. Having a nightcap can also cause dehydration, which leads you to need a glass of water on your nightstand. Waking up in discomfort because of thirst causes you to wake up fully in order to sip some water, which causes you to wake up even further. It’s best to drink your water or some herbal tea before bed and go to bed well-hydrated, rather than having to rehydrate during the night.
Scents and humidifiers: If you find you’re having a hard time with dry air and thirst in the night, a humidifier can help by putting moisture right into the air that you’re breathing while you sleep. Scent can also be unbelievably useful for things like this, so you may want to consider adding some essential oils to your humidifier or diffuser. Check out my post on creating an essential oil rollerball for sleep for some ideas for what essential oils might work well for you for this.
I’ve been so amazed at how much better my sleep has gotten when I’ve followed some of these little guidelines and tips to create a better night of sleep for myself. When I have a good night of sleep, I feel so much better the next day and more like myself, which is such a relief when you’ve been sleep deprived for years as a new parent. 🙂
Have you ever conducted your own little experiment to try to improve your sleep? What did you discover works for you?
Thanks so much to Coop Home Goods and to Saatva for providing some of the products I needed for this project!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.