Get your Zzzs: Maximize Your Apartment Bedroom For The Best Sleep Ever
The average person spends nearly one third of their life sleeping, assuming eight hours of sleep per night. That’s approximately 229,961 hours of sleep! For many of us, though, a solid night’s rest is difficult — if not impossible — to achieve. In one Consumer Reports survey, 27% of people said they had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep most nights, and 68% — an estimated 164 million Americans — claimed to struggle with sleep at least once a week. Do you fall into one of these categories? If so, you’re not alone.
As we know, sleep is essential to overall well-being and general health. This is why optimizing your apartment bedroom for restful slumber is essential. If a full eight hours of shut-eye eludes you or someone you love, then read on for the best tips from TLC Properties for catching more Zzzs.
Go dark.Light interferes with the body’s sleep clock by delaying the release of your natural sleep hormone, melatonin. It’s not just natural light that negatively impacts your ability to snooze; artificial light from electronics has the same affect. Blackout your bedroom by following these tips:
- Turn off all light-emitting electronics before hitting the hay. If there are electronics that can’t be turned off, such as your alarm clock, consider covering it with light-blocking material.
- Use a sleep mask. This can take some getting used to at first, but a sleep mask is a great way to further block light that may still be emitted from electronics that you aren’t able to turn off, such as that pesky alarm clock.
- Hang blackout curtains. Blackout curtains block the majority of outdoor light much better than regular curtains. Added bonus: Most blackout curtains are also thermal, meaning they’ll help reduce your energy bills.
- If you need light, go red. If you require a nightlight (such as for a child’s room), use one with a red bulb. Red is a long wavelength light that’s been shown to be less disruptive to sleep than other light wavelengths. If possible, place the nightlight in a hallway or another room.
Set the right scent.
The use of essential oils for medicinal purposes has an ancient history, dating all the way back to early Egyptian, Chinese, and Roman societies. Aromatherapy is the modern term for this ancient practice. Certain scents have been shown to induce relaxation and reduce anxiety, thereby promoting sleep. Lavender is perhaps the most well-known essential oil for promoting sleep, but other essential oils that have been shown to have relaxation benefit include Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage, and Bergamot.
Diffusing essential oils and breathing in the relaxing scent is one of the best ways to take advantage of their benefit. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can add a few drops to a cotton pad and place it by your pillow to lightly breathe in as you fall asleep. Always make sure to follow the directions on the bottle, though, for optimal benefit and safety.
Use consistent sound or silence.Whether it’s from outside traffic, neighbors, or your own family down the hall, noise is another common stealer of sleep. You might be surprised to learn, though, that it’s not so much noise itself that prevents sleep: it's the inconsistency of sound or silence that is disruptive.
If your apartment sleep environment produces inconsistent noises beyond your control:
- Use a sound machine. Sound machines produce soothing, mellow sounds that not only help you relax for sleep, but drown out other sounds that may wake you from sleep. You can even download sound machine apps to your phone, like White Noise Free or Ambiance.
- Try ear plugs. If you are someone who requires absolute silence for optimal sleep, ear plugs are your best bet. Like a sleep mask, ear plugs can take some time to adjust to, but after a few nights it’ll feel like second nature to your ears.
According to Sleep.org, the optimal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Why so chilly? As you fall asleep, your body temperature begins to drop to prepare for slumber. Keeping your room cool can help aid this process of cooling your body.
If keeping the thermostat so low (especially during the summer months) is of concern from a utilities and/or energy-savings standpoint, consider other methods of staying cool, such as: using a box fan, sleeping in breathable pajamas, and equipping your bed with light cotton sheets.
Embrace feng shui.Feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of using energy to harmonize people with their surrounding environment. Good quality “chi,” or energy, in your apartment is believed to promote health and wellness, among other benefits. If your apartment bedroom has bad chi, some believe it might negatively affect your sleep. Here are some basic feng shui tips to optimize your bedroom’s chi:
- Create your bedroom “command center.” In feng shui, placing your bed in a “commanding position” is ideal. This means that your bed isn’t directly in line with the door and that you can see the door in front of you when you’re lying down. Another important aspect of positioning your bed is to make sure you have equal room on both sides. By making this space, a balance of energy is created on either side of the bed.
- Declutter your bedroom and under your bed. Those who practice feng shui believe that the energy from the things you store underneath your bed can transfer to you. That’s why feng shui practitioners advise clearing out the clutter, so energy can flow easily around you while you’re sleeping.
- Consider mirror placement. Different schools of feng shui have opposing views on mirrors in the bedroom, but some believe having round or oval mirrors symbolize continuity in a relationship and helps with the flow of chi in the room. Many feng shui experts advise against having a mirror directly in front of your bed, because it might be jarring to see your reflection if you wake up in the middle of the night. Instead, position a full-length mirror away from your bed or on the inside of your closet door.
Decorate using blue, yellow, and green.
Color has the ability to shape our mood and emotions. It’s no surprise then that a British study showed that the colors used in your bedroom can impact hours of restful sleep. In a survey of over 2,000 British homes, it was found that the colors blue, yellow, and green helped individuals achieve the most hours of sleep with blue averaging 7 hours 52 minutes, yellow at 7 hours 40 minutes, and green at 7 hours 36 minutes. These colors are often associated with calmness and relaxation and can help put your mind at ease as you are trying to rest.
On the other hand, colors such as purple, brown, and gray can potentially reduce your sleep count. Average hours for these colors are 6 hours 12 minutes for gray, 6 hours 5 minutes for brown, and 5 hours 56 minutes for purple. It’s theorized that purple is an artistic color that stimulates the creative mind, and browns and grays are often associated with dreariness and depression.
Keep blue, yellow, and green in mind when selecting bedding and artwork to adorn your bedroom.
Invest in quality bedding.When it comes to choosing your bedding, your best bet is to visit a local home goods store to test fabrics for yourself. Cotton sheets are recommended for their breathability, but softness matters too. The general rule is that the higher the thread count, the softer the sheets. The National Sleep Foundation recommends selecting a thread count between 200 and 400 for maximum comfiness.
A quality mattress matters too; however, mattresses usually don’t come cheap. Fortunately, there are plenty of companies who offer quality memory foam mattresses that won’t break the bank, like Nectar and Ikea.