Sleep Better Tonight: Turn Your Bedroom Into a Sanctuary

There’s nothing more frustrating than tossing and turning. It’s a feeling that many of us deal with regularly: According to a National Sleep Foundation (NSF) survey, 48 percent of Americans struggle with insomnia on occasion, and 22 percent deal with it on a regular basis.

How can you sleep tight every night? The secret may be found in your bedroom: Research shows that where you lay your head has a huge impact on your sleep quality. By removing distractions and creating a comfortable environment, you’ll start snoozing soundly in no time. Sweet dreams!

1. Tidy up.
Mom was right: It’s important to make your bed. According to a survey by the NSF, people who did so every day or every other day were 19 percent more likely to get a solid night of sleep on the regular. That’s because a messy bed can feel disorienting, which affects your sleep quality.

2. Freshen up your sheets with lavender.
In a recent NSF study, 71 percent of participants reported sleeping more comfortably when they spritz their sheets with a fresh scent. Try a fabric refresher air freshener scent, like lavender vanilla: Research shows that the smell from this purple flower can help you fall asleep sooner. 

3. Boost your melatonin production. 
“All kinds of ambient light can suppress your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle,” explains J. Todd Arnedt, Ph.D., director of the behavioral sleep medicine program at the University of Michigan. So draw the blinds, switch off the night-light and turn your electric alarm clock towards the wall.

4. Keep your room cool.
During sleep, your body temperature drops. Having a too-warm room can disrupt this process, which can make nodding off a struggle. Case in point: 42 percent of people with sleep issues say that their temperature is often a problem. So swap that heavy bedding for lighter sheets, or turn down the thermostat before heading to bed.

5. Banish electronics at least an hour before bed. 
It’s convenient to catch up with email right before bed, but the artificial light from smartphones and computers can interfere with the brain chemicals that promote sleep. Have a lights-out policy at least an hour before bedtime, recommends Arnedt.

6. Pick the comfiest bedding.
You spend a third of your life asleep, so what better investment is there than quality sheets and pillows? According to a study from Tokyo’s Research Institute on Sleep and Society, people who used an ill-fitting pillow were 1.5 times more likely to feel tired during the day than those who slept on one that provided the right neck support. Bottom line: The more comfortable you are in bed, the better you’ll snooze.