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Most of us have probably experienced some sort of insomnia. Maybe you’re having a particularly stressful time at work that makes it difficult to calm your mind enough to fall asleep, or you wake up at 2 AM and toss and turn for hours. Most adults need at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but the majority of Americans are not reaching that goal.
Lack of sleep can have serious effects on health, including reduced brain and cognitive function, weight gain and obesity, heart disease, adrenal fatigue, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, stroke, decreased sex drive, reduced work performance, increased accidents, and much, much more.
The design of your bedroom can have an enormous impact on your sleep quality. If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, follow these bedroom design and organization tips to help you get a great night’s rest.
For more natural sleep tips that really work, check out the following:
20 Bedroom Tips for Better Sleep
1. BUY A NEW MATTRESS
If you regularly wake up sore and stiff, you may need a new mattress. According to Consumer Reports, you should change your mattress every 5 to 10 years when it wears out. Few mattresses can last longer than that and still provide a good night’s sleep. I really like the new online mattress companies that have been cropping up the past few years, including Nest, Leaf, Casper, and Leesa, to name just a few. You might be afraid to buy a mattress online, and I totally understand. However, most of these companies offer free shipping and let you try the mattress for around 100 days risk free with easy returns.
I just bought my new Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid (with a 10+ year warranty!!!) last year, and I love the comfort and support of my mattress and the money I saved by buying online. Luckily, I liked the first one I tried. I think this is because I researched A LOT before my purchase. If you are interested in purchasing from one of these mattress companies, I recommend you check out sleepopolis.com. This invaluable website has recommendations for people of all sizes and sleep types. I’m a side sleeper, and the Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid was one of the mattresses recommended for side sleepers by Sleepopolis. These mattress companies send their mattresses to Derek Hales, founder of Sleepopolis, and he and his wife personally and thoroughly test each one.
2. BUY A NEW PILLOW
Experts recommend replacing your pillow every 12 to 18 months. Pillows can lose their support quickly with nightly use, and dust mites love pillows (if you don’t use a pillow cover), which may cause allergy attacks.
I got my Easy Breather pillow from Nest at the same time I bought my mattress. I actually got my pillow for free with a deal they were running with the purchase of the Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid mattress. I’m sleeping on a $100 value pillow I got for free, and I love it! I NEVER would have bought a $100 dollar pillow before trying this one, but I would pay for mine now because I love it so much more than any other I’ve ever had.
I’m not saying every $100 pillow is wonderful. I’m just saying that mine has worked really well for me. This pillow supports my head, stays cool, and has maintained its shape and condition for over a year now. I know I will definitely use this pillow for longer than 18 months because I think it’s of such high quality that it will last longer than most pillows on the market.
3. GET A NEW ALARM CLOCK
Traditional alarm clocks startle you awake, which can make you wake up feeling groggy. Get an alarm clock that will ease you awake like this Wake-Up Light, which wakes you up more gently using gradually increasing light and calming sounds. I find I need a wake up light, especially in winter. I have always had an extremely difficult time getting up for work (or school when I was young), and light therapy is an absolute necessity for me when I have to wake before dark in the colder months.
4. USE AROMATHERAPY + HERBS
Certain scents have a calming effect that may help you sleep. The best scents to promote a good night’s sleep include lavender, Roman chamomile, cedarwood, bergamot, sandalwood, and ylang-ylang. My favorite herb for treating minor insomnia is lavender because it’s effective, easy to find, and safe to use. Place cut lavender flowers on your nightstand, spritz lavender water on your pillow, or put an essential oil diffuser like this nebulizing diffuser or this ultrasonic diffuser near your bed. For more information about herbs, please check out my post, Best Herbs for Sleep + Herbal Tea Recipes to Help You Fall Asleep FAST.
PRO TIP: Using certain essential oils can cause serious health problems for pets, especially cats. Please research this topic and use caution when using essential oils around animals.
5. USE A HUMIDIFIER
The ideal humidity is between 30 and 40 percent. The air tends to dry out in cooler months and can cause issues, such as dry skin, nose, throat, and lips and worsening sinus problems, all of which can affect your sleep quality. To combat this, use a Cool Mist Humidifier to moisten the air. Humidifiers can also help cold and flu symptoms.
6. BUY A WHITE NOISE MACHINE
White noise machines offer soothing sound that drowns out random nighttime noises. These machines help you sleep because they produce one sound for your brain to focus on, calming your senses so you can fall into dreamland. This White Noise Machine plays the sound of moving air, without the air disturbance of a fan. This is for those people who sleep better while a fan is running, but don’t need the cool air fans provide, such as in cooler weather. White noise machines are also recommended to help babies and children sleep without being roused by other household noises.
7. LOSE THE CLUTTER
A messy, cluttered bedroom can stress you out, making it difficult to sleep. Keep your room tidy and streamlined, so your room is a haven for relaxation. Also, make sure you have a clear path to the bathroom so that you don’t have to worry about hurting yourself when you get up in the middle of the night. Stubbing your toe or having to maneuver around obstacles will wake you even more and may make it difficult for you to fall back asleep.
8. DECORATE WITH SOOTHING COLORS
Vibrant hues may be your design taste, but they won’t help you sleep! Calming hues in muted shades of blue, green, and pastel will have a calming effect and help you sleep. If you really want some bright colors in your bedroom, limit the colors to accent items like small pillows.
PRO TIP: When painting your walls, choose a low or no-VOC paint, which is healthier for you and won’t leave behind that strong, fresh painted smell, which will disturb your sleep and might make you feel sick.
9. BAN PETS FROM YOUR BED
I know this can be easier said than done for some people – including me!! I sleep with my dogs and cats (up to 2 dogs and 3 cats every night!), but their presence in my bed is NOT conducive to a restful night’s sleep. Their dander can cause allergy, sinus, and asthma attacks for sensitive people, and their movement can make falling asleep and staying asleep pretty much impossible. My cats aren’t too bad, but my dogs really affect my sleep. You will get a much more recuperative sleep if your pup has his own bed.
10. USE LOW LIGHT
Dimmer switches keep the light low around bedtime, so bright, artificial lights don’t stimulate you awake again when you go to get ready for bed. You can also turn on your bedside lamp and quickly turn off the overhead light to achieve the same effect. Natural Himalayan Salt Lamps provide a calming, warm glow and are an excellent choice to provide soft light in the bedroom or as a nightlight for children. Himalayan Salt Lamps also provide air purifying benefits.
11. MAKE SURE YOUR ROOM IS DARK
Buy room darkening shades to help keep your room super dark while you’re sleeping, especially if you live in a city with a lot of light pollution. I love the cordless cellular shades in my room. I live in the country, so I don’t usually have to worry about outside lights keeping me up at night. Now, that it’s summer, I sleep with my window open most nights. During this time of year, I don’t tend to use my blackout shades and enjoy waking to the natural rise of the sun in the morning. However, my bedroom windw faces my neighbor’s carport, so if they have that light on late at night, it’s extremely helpful that I can just close my blinds to block the light. Plus, mine look nice and are easy to operate.
12. ONLY USE THE BED FOR SLEEP AND ROMANCE
While many people like to read or watch TV before bed, it is best to use your bed only for sleep and romance. This way, when you go to bed, your body knows it’s time to rest. If you like to read before bed, sit on the couch or in a comfy chair.
13. MAKE YOUR BEDROOM AN ELECTRONICS-FREE ZONE
Nighttime exposure to blue light emitting devices – such as your TV, smartphone, iPad, computer, and light bulbs – disturbs your natural circadian rhythm and can cause serious health issues, including chronic fatigue, insomnia, chronic sleep deprivation, weight gain, hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, anxiety and depression, and decreased REM sleep and overall sleep quality. To prevent these ill effects, stop using your blue light electronics at least one hour before bed.
I am pretty addicted to my iPhone, TV, and computer, so if I want to use these devices after dark (most nights), I wear Blue Light Blocking Glasses. I use these glasses around the house. They are $69 – so pretty expensive – but they are very nice and fit comfortably over my prescription glasses. I use these cheaper glasses when I’m wearing my contacts, though I usually take my contacts out early in the evening to give my eyes a rest.
14. DITCH THE DESK
If you have a desk in your bedroom, you may need to move your desk to get a good night’s rest. Trying to sleep close to your desk may cause you to think about work when you should be resting.
15. USE AN AIR PURIFIER
Dust, pollen, and pet dander can trigger allergies, sinus, and asthma problems that keep you up at night. I prefer using natural products, so I use Natural Himalayan Salt Lamps in my home. These salt lamps provide negative ions to combat the negative effects of electronics and purify the air. If you would prefer to buy an electronic device to purify the air, consider a HEPA Air Purifier or an Ionic Air Purifier.
16. MAKE SURE YOUR ROOM IS COOL
Research shows people are most comfortable sleeping in a 60-67 degree room, a temperature that is difficult to attain now that we are in the middle of summer. At that temperature, you can cover up comfortably, and you won’t need to shiver or sweat to adjust your body temperature. Depending on how much you need to cool your room to achieve the optimal temperature, consider getting an air conditioner or a fan.
Fans provide gentle, customizable air flow that will cool your body and are cheaper than air conditioners. Fans range in price and performance from the cheap box fans (under $20) to more expensive fans that produce a stronger air flow ($200+). In my home, I have both a cheap box fan (like this one) and a Vornado. The box fan is fine most of the time, but I notice a huge improvement in cooling with my Vornado fan, which provides a much stronger air flow than any other fan I’ve owned. For a more permanent solution, consider a ceiling fan.
Fans and air conditioners both provide white noise, a calming and soothing background noise that cancels out other sounds that may be keeping you up at night. However, improperly installed air conditioners can produce a rattling sound that will keep you awake. If this happens to you, simply put air conditioner foam around your air conditioner to prevent movement and reduce or eliminate any jarring noises.
17. USE HYPOALLERGENIC BEDDING
Allergens, bed bugs, dust mites, and molds can all take up residence in your mattress, making you susceptible to a host of health problems that may affect your sleep. Hypoallergenic bedding includes mattress and bedspring covers (which can double the life of these expensive items!), pillow covers, comforters, blankets, and sheets.
Signs that you may need to use hypoallergenic bedding include allergy symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, difficulty breathing, congestion, and watery eyes; bed bugs on your mattress or bites on your body; and damp and musty bedding.
I use hypoallergenic bedding, including a waterproof mattress cover, waterproof pillow covers, and sheets, because I’m sensitive to allergens, and I sleep with my pets (a big no-no; do as I say, not as I do!). My mattress is only one year old. I want to extend its life as much as I can. I know life happens, and with pets, anything can happen. My pets are potty trained, but they may still get sick and have an accident in my bed. This way, not only do I reduce my allergen exposure, I also have insurance that my mattress and pillows can stay newer, longer.
18. USE SEPARATE BLANKETS IN A SHARED BED
This is a great idea if you or your partner likes to steal covers, or one of you runs hotter than the other. With this method, you use the same fitted sheet. Then, you add twin size sheets and blankets as needed for each user. Don’t worry about how this will make your bed look because you can just cover it with a large comforter every morning when you make the bed.
19. CONSIDER A RUG OR CARPET
I don’t like carpeting in my home because I think it’s impossible to keep truly clean – even with a carpet cleaner. However, I don’t like the feeling of cold wood flooring on my bare feet when I get in and out of bed. The cold floor can jar me awake when I get up in the morning or the middle of the night, and that’s no fun. I like to place a super fuzzy, soft rug beside my bed to give my feet a treat.
20. MAKE YOUR BED
Making your bed may seem like just another annoying and unnecessary chore, but a National Sleep Foundation poll found that most people say that making their bed every morning improves sleep quality. Experts think this may go along with people preferring a tidy bedroom. Making your bed every morning also keeps your bed clean, your bedroom neat and tidy, bed linens newer longer, and may help you start your day off right.
I never realized how much my bedroom affects my sleep until I tried these bedroom tips! I especially benefitted from tidying my room and making my bed every morning. My room now feels like a cozy getaway where I can forget all my troubles.
I would love to hear from you!
Have you tried any of these tips? What helps you get a good night’s rest? Please share your experience below!