We all know, getting enough sleep each night is important for our health. Time spent sleeping is only part of the equation, though.
Yes, getting a full night’s rest is great, but only if it’s actually restful.
Those seven to nine hours aren’t as restorative if they aren’t uninterrupted, in line with your body’s natural rhythms, and balanced with the right amount of REM (Rapid Eye Movement).
Below, eight sleep experts share their advice for the best ways to set up your bedroom to ensure you get a good night’s rest. *Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
1. Invest in a good mattress
Ideally, the bedroom has the best mattress you can afford.
We’re on that surface for what should be a third of our lives, so investing in a mattress is critical.
Take the time to shop around for your mattress and choose a company that makes research and development its focus.
In addition, you really want to invest in a nice set of sheets so that you’re instantly soothed and relaxed.
You also want a pillow that’s supportive of your head, neck, and spinal column.
2. Wash your sheets often
If you’re not doing it weekly, do it at least every two weeks.
In a National Sleep Foundation survey, one of the top things people said they liked in their bedrooms was the smell of fresh, clean sheets.
3. Ban all screens
There are special receptors in the retina that are specifically there to help us differentiate between night and day.
Those receptors are especially sensitive to certain wavelengths of white light, blue light, and green light.
A number of papers have been published showing that artificial light in the room—whether it’s from a phone, a TV, or a computer screen will interfere good sleeping pattern.
So it’s important to keep your bedroom dark.
4. Cool down
When your body temperature drops, this is one of the cues to your internal clock that it’s time to sleep.
Keeping your bedroom too warm can throw off this balance, so consider keeping it between 19- 22 degrees for optimal sleep.
There are also cooling pads that can be placed on mattresses for more precise regulation of temperature during sleep.
Sleep in a dark and cold place.
Sometimes, people try to save money on air conditioning, and they’ll adjust the temperature before going to bed so it becomes warmer.
But a lot of times, that can negatively impact your sleep. If you don’t want the AC on, you can always adjust your temperature by getting a fan, it’s more eco-friendly as well!
5. Think of light as a tool
Natural light is kind of a stimulator of our wake cycle, so getting natural light within about 30 to 60 minutes of waking up in the morning can be a good cue for wakefulness.
People who have a typical sleep schedule should open their windows or curtains in the morning and let the natural light come in.
For those who have trouble waking up in the morning, we like to see a lightbox in the bedroom.
Exposure to light at the same time every day tells your brain it’s time to be awake by signalling the stopping of melatonin production.
If you can find a lightbox with an alarm feature, it’s a great way to wake up.
6. Have a bedtime scent
The most helpful thing people can do is set up a routine that gives their body some environmental cues that it’s time for bed, and aromatherapy can absolutely be useful here.
For a lot of people, scents like lavender, valerian root, and chamomile can be a cue.
If you do it at the same time every day, that starts your bedtime routine and gives you a 20-minute period where you can wind down and get yourself ready for sleep.
7. Clean up
If you have a messy room, then cleaning it is just another thing you could be thinking about in bed.
It’ll just spark things you have to do like if you have laundry on the floor, for example, it’ll spark thoughts about one more thing you have to do.
Room colours should generally be soothing and create a relaxed atmosphere in the bedroom.
It should be a comfortable, cosy den, with colours, furniture, bedding, and soft lighting that make the space special for you.
You have to love your bedroom.
8. Stick to a sleep uniform
Some people sleep in the nude; some people have pyjamas on—whatever the case may be, something consistent is ideal.
The brain really likes being keyed into that bedtime routine. So if you have a good bedtime routine and environment, you’re going to have better quality sleep.