If your bedroom is more chaotic than calm, here are some straightforward ways to create a relaxing retreat to help send you off to sleep.
We all know how important sleep is to our wellbeing, but that doesn't make it any easier to get our full eight hours every night. During the pandemic, many of us have reported even more disrupted sleep, with weird dreams and restless nights.
While there's no magic cure for poor sleep, you can improve your chances of getting a good night's rest by making your bedroom as restful a space as possible. Here are a few ideas of how to do so.
Upgrade your bed
It's easy to get used to your current pillows, duvet and sheets and assume that there's nothing wrong with them, but each will impact the quality of your sleep, so they're worth replacing if they're old.
Upgrading your pillow and duvet can make a huge difference, or switching to a light, summer duvet at this time of year, especially if you often wake up too warm. Do some research beforehand to determine what material would suit you best, as well as the level of warmth, and decide how much support you need from your pillow.
Bedsheets are next to your skin throughout the night, so the fabric you choose will definitely have an impact on the quality of your sleep. Natural materials like cotton suit most people, but if you're often too warm at night, opt for linen, which is more breathable. They tend to be more expensive than cotton, but they're more hardwearing, too.
Add some life
Although claims that plants purify the air in a bedroom and therefore aid sleep might not be as true as once thought, having some plant life around as you drift off can still be helpful. It's been proven that plants make us feel calmer, and looking at them can actually lower our heart rate, perfect for calming you before you go to sleep.
Choose your plants carefully according to the levels of light your bedroom has, as well as how likely you are to remember to water them. A plant that stresses you out every evening when you look at it because it's slowly dying is probably not that relaxing.
Pay attention to scent
Scent is a powerful way to change our mood, and can make us feel relaxed almost instantly. Too-strong scents can be distracting, however, so perhaps stay away from a scented candle right before bed, unless it's one you know will help you drift off.
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If you want something more subtle, something as simple as dried lavender or a few drops of essential oil on some fabric next to your bed can create a naturally relaxing smell. A sleep spray or balm is also a great way to surround yourself with a relaxing scent as you drift off.
You've been told plenty of times by now that the blue light from your phone inhibits sleep, but what you may not realise is that other forms of light can have the same effect. As you're winding down for the day, keeping light at a low level, and keeping it limited to warmer tones will help you drift off more easily.
Candlelight is actually ideal for this, as it's soft and has a yellow light, but low-level lamps placed around your room will have a similar effect.
Sound is also an important factor when we're trying to drift off. While noise from outside can keep us awake, others prefer to have something to listen to as we fall asleep.
If you're trying to create quiet, heavy soft furnishings are a good way to absorb sound that enters your room. Thick curtains and high-pile rugs are good options, and will also create a cosy atmosphere. If your bed is against a shared wall with neighbours, try a padded headboard as this can absorb some of the sound that might pass through the wall.
For those that prefer to listen to something as they fall asleep, whether it's a white noise app, a relaxing playlist or guided meditation, a speaker is a good idea, as it means your phone doesn't have to be beside your bed. This Ikea one doubles as a small bedside shelf.
Featured image: Ingredients LDN
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