More and more research is uncovering how insanely vital sleep is for your mental and physical health. Not getting at least seven to eight hours a night messes with your hormone levels, affecting everything from appetite to mood to memory. In fact, there was a study done that showed improving your sleep patterns had more of a measurable, positive effect on people diagnosed with depression than some antidepressants did! (Yep, that’s how powerful sleep is.) Good sleep also starts way before you get into bed. Here’s a cheat sheet I like to use for eliminating things that might disrupt my sleep:
Cut off caffeine six hours before bed; alcohol four hours before bed; large meals, three hours; nicotine, two hours; and strenuous exercise, one and a half hours before bed.
6. I will calibrate my light intake.
Day: In addition to getting regular sunlight, some studies show that watching the sunrise IRL is a healthy way to get your vitamin D. The mix of reddish lightwaves (infrared) with the blue light (the good kind!) is fantastic for your health, including your mood
Night: Chill out your lights at night. Bright light in the evenings (including blue light) can prevent the natural release of melatonin (the hormone that starts up your body’s natural sleep program). Incandescents, warmer temp LEDs, and even candles are all fair game.
7. I will keep my cool.
Your body temperature naturally lowers before and during sleep to conserve energy, so it’s important to keep your bedroom cooler during the night to help facilitate this (65 degrees Fahrenheit is the sweet spot). Higher core body temperatures not only increase the chances of you waking up in the middle of the night but also have been linked to less restorative, slow wave/REM sleep overall. Luckily, there are lots of ways to help cue your body temperature to start cooling off.
COOL YOUR BODY: Take a lukewarm shower. Drink cold water. Wear breathable pajamas.
COOL THE BED: Choose breathable fabrics. Skip the flat sheet. Choose a bed frame lower to the ground.
COOL THE ROOM: Use insulated curtains/window treatments. Create airflow using a fan or an open window. Turn off all devices(electronics that are plugged in produce heat).
8. I will declutter my nightstand.
When it comes to the bedroom, my advice is to always keep things as simple as possible. You want to be cognizant of what’s in your line of sight, especially in a room that should be tailored to help you shut down. Now, that’s not to say your bedroom should be boring or plain (remember, your design style is whatever makes you happy!), but there are ways of styling this very personal space that keep your personality intact while optimizing for a good night’s sleep. The nightstand in particular is a bedroom workhorse that is prone to becoming a major clutter magnet—it’s just way too easy to start piling stuff onto it, so make sure to lean toward keeping it minimal, tidy, and clutter-free.
9. I will be intentional about the colors I use in my bedroom.