This holiday we’ve had a few more house guests than usual, which has me thinking about what makes a comfy bedroom. Whether it’s your own room or a guest bedroom, there are strategies you can utilize to promote rest and relaxation.
For bedding, I love using subtle colors and natural materials for a calm and organic affect. Linen and cotton are my fabrics of choice, and I opt for minimal color with layers of texture for a feeling of luxury. Crisp white is my go-to on sheets, and I know that people have various fill preferences, but I am a ‘down girl’ all the way (if you are allergic to down, there are good down alternatives available).
Another key consideration is the type of mattress you’ll be using. It is a big expense, there are many choices, and it is such a personal decision (I recall once shopping for mattresses and lying down on so many that by the end of the day I couldn’t tell the difference anymore!). For guidance on this, check out the following article from my friends at SleepHelp.org: https://www.sleephelp.org/best-firm-mattress/.
Organization is also important in the bedroom. I once read a book on Feng Shui design that emphasized that ‘clutter in your space is like clutter in the soul’. That really resonated with me. In particular we should minimize clutter in the bedroom, to clear our minds and renew our energy. Make sure you have ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. This means having an efficient closet (even if it is small, which mine IS!) and keeping clothes, shoes, jewelry, laundry, etc. out of sight. Additionally, don’t bring work or bills into the bedroom. Those should have a designated spot elsewhere so that you can let go of ‘to-dos’ and focus on relaxation. Just writing this post is prompting me to head up to my bedroom and put some things away!
Lighting is a key consideration for a restful night. Exposure to light can have a serious impact on how well you sleep. Your circadian rhythm (the body's internal clock), relies on cues that tell you when it’s time to be alert and when it’s time to rest. One of the most powerful cues is exposure to light. Here are tips to reduce your exposure to light and set your circadian rhythm straight to get the sleep you need:
Don't use your phone before bed. The blue wave light from mobile device screens can be particularly energizing and confusing for your circadian rhythm.
Dim the lights. Turn down the lights indoors when it starts getting dark outside. It helps mimic your indoor light exposure with what's going on outdoors.
Use blackout curtains in your bedroom. Even at night, light exists outside. Headlights, street lamps, even moonlight can disrupt your sleep.
Get light exposure during the day. Just as avoiding light at night is important, you should be sure to get exposed to light during the day, reinforcing the timing for your circadian rhythm.
Lastly, as far as bedroom decor, you might have guessed my mantra is to keep it simple. With clients I usually plan for nightstands and lamps, and maybe a bench or chair for sitting to put on shoes, but not much is needed beyond that (see examples of a few of our projects below). I often have a rug near the bed for a soft place for feet when waking up, but I try to avoid knickknacks and I keep accessories to the bare essentials.
This holiday season, make sure your bedroom is a place where you can relax and recharge. We all need a retreat at times - make it your gift to YOURSELF for this new year!
LBI project photos courtesy of An Indoor Lady
A big thank you to Amy Highland, a sleep expert at https://www.sleephelp.org for providing information regarding lighting and how it affects our sleep.