Bedroom design tips for better sleep

Audrey J. Powers
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  • A good night’s sleep has a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. As recent research and a slew of books has shown, ‘sleep hygiene’ is key. Surprisingly, our bedroom ideas and the decor we choose can improve this. From the furniture, bedding and accessories we choose, to what to avoid, there are plenty of bedroom design tips for better sleep.

    This is important, as according to the sleep doctor, Michael Breuss, poor quality slumber can contribute to cardiac issues, memory, focus and attention problems and depression or anxiety. ‘The research is very clear, poor sleep causes problems physically, mentally and emotionally,’ says Dr Breuss.

    So how can the way we decorate our bedroom help us sleep better?

    10 Bedroom design tips for better sleep

    ‘Think of your bedroom as a sanctuary, it’s where you go to relax and unwind after a long day, therefore the space needs to be tranquil and soothing,’ says Adam Black, founder, Button & Sprung. ‘Not only will a relaxing bedroom reduce overall stress levels, it will enhance your quality of sleep.’

    1. Hang blackout blinds

    Yellow blinds in pink room

    Image credit: Hilarys

    Waking up with the sunrise may have worked for our ancestors, and can be lovely at certain times of the year. However, during the summer, most of us prefer not to be woken by bright light at 4am.

    Therefore, blackout blinds are a must bedroom curtain idea in the bedroom if you want to enjoy a full 8-hours shut eye in the warmer months.

    As well as blocking early morning sunlight, blackout blinds can help keep your bedroom cool in the summer too.

    2. Paint walls in dark muted tones

    Navy blue bedroom with upholstered headboard

    Image credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole

    Dark colours like blue bedroom ideas will create a cocooning effect that feels instantly relaxing. Interior designer, Yoko Kloeden opted for moody tones in her main bedroom for this reason.

    ‘We had a white bedroom with blackout blinds in our old home, but it was still very bright, particularly in the summer,’ says Yoko. ‘This bedroom is at the top of the house in the loft, so I wanted to create a calming escape with dark, moody colours.’

    3. Choose a natural mattress

    Wooden wall with mattress

    Image credit: Naturalmat

    Choosing a mattress and mattress topper made with natural materials, will help you sleep better. This is because wool, cotton and the like regulate body temperature, unlike synthetic materials, such as foam, which cause us to overheat.

    ‘When it comes to bedding, natural materials including coir, flax, cotton and wool are the healthier choice for overall wellbeing and quality of sleep,’ says Mark Tremlett, Co-Founder, Naturalmat.

    ‘Changes in your body temperature can often cause disruption to your sleep, particularly in the summer heat. Natural materials are more responsive to body temperature changes, maximising your body’s ability to cool down and regulate your body temperature whilst you sleep.

    ‘Synthetic materials will make this worse, as they tend to absorb heat, increasing your body temperature further, which in turn will lead to more perspiration and discomfort during the night.’

    4. Line curtains with bump

    white bedroom with grey curtains

    Image credit: Loom & Last / Jon Day

    As well as lining curtains with blackout fabrics, it’s worth including bump too. Bump, otherwise know as interlining, sits between the surface fabric and the lining. It can not only assist in making the room dark enough for sleep, it often has acoustic qualities too.

    So, in addition to blocking light, bump-lined curtains will muffle any outside noise, such as traffic or trains too, making your sleep space, darker, quieter and more peaceful.

    5. Install solid shutters

    Lime green shutters in white room

    Image credit: Californa Shutters

    Again blocking out early morning light, or even light at night from street lamps or a particularly bright full moon, will aid sleep.This is as important for adults as it is for little ones, especially when  it comes to getting them to sleep through the night.

    Solid shutters will not only block light, but they will also often reduce outside noise from disturbing your sleep too.

    6. Invest in fitted wardrobes

    design ideas for better sleep

    Image credit: Future PLC / Dominic Blackmore

    Bear with us, this is not as mad as it might sound. Less stress means better sleep – and it’s commonly known that clutter equals stress.

    Therefore, having plenty of bedroom storage ideas means clothes, shoes and accessories are out of sight. As well as being easy to find when you do need them, this will reduce general clutter.

    ‘The big advantage of fitted wardrobes is of course that they can fill the space and cope with any idiosyncrasies,’ says Simon Tcherniak, Senior Designer at Neville Johnson. ‘It’s amazing how much storage you gain by going high up the wall. And if you make them no deeper than necessary, your room will still feel more spacious too.’

    7. Choose bedside tables with storage

    Blue bedroom with white bedding

    Image credit: Future PLC / Simon Whitmore

    This is another tip that is about reducing clutter build-up. By having more drawer space, surfaces are more likely to stay tidy. In turn, this will help reduce stress and intrusive thoughts that may keep you awake.

    ‘If you’re sleeping next to a cabinet laden with clutter, the mental weight of that is likely to impact how relaxed you feel,’ says Kate Yiannacou, APDO Member and Founder of Tidy Happy Calm.

    ‘If the last thing you see before closing your eyes is a pile of bills, work documents to read, or a random assortment of items that doesn’t belong there, chances are you’re going to fall asleep thinking “I really need to deal with those”. This is going to affect the quality of your sleep. If you can only tackle one area of clutter, make it your bedside cabinet.’

    8. Sleep on 100% linen sheets and duvet covers

    Purple bedroom

    Image credit: Secret Linen Store

    Natural materials rear their head again, as it’s not just about your mattress. Sleeping on synthetic sheets (or nightwear) can cause overheating too. Linen is particularly good at regulating temperature, helping us stay warm in winter and cool in summer. Its slubby style looks lovely too.

    ‘We’re all too familiar with those ‘stick-your-leg-out-of-the-duvet, finding-the-cool-part-of-your-pillow’ nights that keep us restless and a little bit grumpy after a bad night’s sleep,’ says Molly Freshwater, Co-Founder, Secret Linen Store.

    ‘The right fabrics make a big difference and 100% linen is a superhero. The natural fibres make it brilliantly breathable and also highly absorbent. So it wicks away any moisture, keeping your body temperature regulated throughout the night.’

    9. Ditch your phone in favour of an alarm clock

    White bedside table

    Image credit: Future Plc

    We all know the drill – ‘keep electronics out of the bedroom’. But it’s astonishing how many of us ignore this adage, to the detriment of our sleep quality. Opting for an old school alarm clock, instead of your phone alarm, will not only look charming, it will help you nod off at night too.

    ‘For many, sleeping without your phone on your bedside table may seem like an impossible task,’ says Rob Davey from Snoozel Green. ‘However, the blue light from your mobile can trick your body into thinking it’s still light outside and keep you awake.

    ‘As little as 2 hours of blue light exposure before bed can slow or stop the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. So it’s best to keep your phone out of the bedroom.’

    10. Sleep on a king size bed

    White bedroom with grey bed

    Image credit: Button & Sprung

    Size matters when it comes to sleep, particularly, if you share a bed with a fidget or a furnace. Being woken by an accidental kick or covers being thrown off is not a recipe for good relations. So ensure your bed is big enough to keep the peace.

    ‘One of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep is to ensure you have plenty of space, especially if you are sleeping with a partner,’ says John Lewis Home Design Stylist Alexandra Fox. ‘A little extra room will never go amiss for those who like to change sleeping positions throughout the night or during the hotter months of the year.’

    What are 3 tips for better sleep?

    If you’re looking to improve your sleep the first step is to make sure your room is as dark and quiet as possible. Blackout blinds and deep pile rugs that will help absorb sound are all your friends when it comes to sleep. Limiting electronics usage before bed is another tip, while it might seem convenient to have your phone charging on your bedside table, consider moving your charging point to another room to avoid the temptation to scroll before bed. Finally, make sure you have the best mattress. Nothing will improve your sleep better than a comfy bed, that you can sink into after a long day at work.

    What colour helps you sleep?

    Various studies, including one by hotel chain, Travelodge, claim that blue is the most relaxing colour. Therefore, a blue bedroom may help you sleep. However, choose dark tones rather than vibrant ones.

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