A friend recently asked me, “What’s your favorite room in your house?”
As a sleep nerd, I immediately responded, “My bedroom!”
I adore all things that take place in the bedroom (wink, wink!) and have put a lot of effort into making it a place for intimacy that also gives off Zen vibes.
Here are some of my sleep tips to help you and your family set up the bedroom as a place to achieve great rest and intimacy.
1. Set the Tone for the Bedroom
After my children graduated to their own rooms, I wanted to create a space that was just for my husband and me. First and foremost, I wanted to get great sleep, but I also wanted the space to feel calm, intimate, and all about us as a couple.
We didn’t go all 50 Shades of Grey, but we set the tone by relocating photos of our children to other areas of the house. Replacing the frames with photos of us, our wedding vows, and other tasteful décor that celebrates intimacy.
Also, we set a firm boundary that the kids were not allowed to leave any belongings in our room. And it felt so good to have a space in our house focused on our marriage and relationship.
This can be tough to achieve with young kids. The intimacy factor typically gets pushed to the back burner when room sharing with children. And that’s ok. Just focus on a healthy sleep environment and add the spicy flair back in when the time comes.
2. Remove Distractions & Clutter
It’s best if the bedroom, especially the bed, is used for sleep and intimacy only. Partaking in other activities (working, watching TV, reading, eating, etc.) will make your brain associate the space with these tasks, making it harder to shut down for sleep.
If you have to use your bedroom as your office, try to create a physical barrier between the bed and your desk. You can easily find a cute room divider at Target, Hobby Lobby, or Lowes. This is also a wonderful technique to implement if you room share with your baby.
My husband and I even went as far as removing the TV from our room, so we’re not associating our bed as a place for entertainment.
Then you’ll want to remove any unnecessary clutter. Piles of laundry, bags of clothes to donate, old décor, random Amazon packages: these items can subconsciously trigger your mind with your to-do lists as you are lying in bed trying to fall sleep. A clean and well-organized space will help you relax and fall asleep faster.
The bedroom should be dark for quality sleep. Dark, dark! Like can’t see your hand in front of your face dark.
Light levels regulate our internal clock. When the body senses change in light levels in the environment, it responds by releasing the sleep hormone melatonin.
Historically, humans used to go into caves and sleep from sunset to sunrise to avoid nocturnal predators. Now that we have access to artificial light sources our circadian rhythm is quite confused, and our sleep is suffering. When we are exposed to light sources (especially blue light from screens), our internal clock thinks it’s daytime, and we should be out hunting and gathering food. Cortisol, our alert/awake hormone, is then stimulated and causes wake ups.
The combination of blinds and black out curtains can help to prevent any outside light from coming in. And black electrical tape can be used to cover any other light sources in your room, like the power light on any electronics. Avoid any light sources with a blue, green, or white hue. These colors are more alerting to the brain and will impair your sleep.
When assessing the light pollution in your children’s rooms, check the video monitors. There always seem to be blue, green, or red light around the camera that can only be seen in the dark. And when considering night lights, avoid LED if possible and stick to options that have a red or yellow hue: these colors are more calming.
4. Keep It Cool
It’s best to sleep in a cool environment, since the body’s core temperature naturally decreases when we sleep. Setting your thermostat anywhere between 60-67 degrees at night can be very beneficial for your slumber.
And if you’re a person who gets cold easily, another sleep tip is to try sleeping with socks on. The increased blood flow to your feet will help you stay warm, and the increased temperature regulation in your body will send a signal to the body that it is ready for sleep.
Sleeping in a quiet environment seems like a no-brainer, but I want to take this one step further. Quiet is great; however, I recommend sleeping with some form of consistent background noise like white, brown, or pink noise.
Our nervous system is always scanning the environment for stimuli in an attempt to keep us safe. If you sleep in a silent room and then hear a small noise around the house, like the furnace kicking on, a dog barking down the street, or a car driving by, it can stimulate a wake up in an attempt to ensure our safety.
6. Squeaky Clean
Keeping the bedroom clean is just as important as the kitchen or bathroom. We spend 1/3 of our lives in this space so we want to ensure that the air quality and our sheets are as fresh as possible.
I don’t want to gross you out, but dead skin cells, dust mites, sweat, and miscellaneous accumulation in the environment can cause a plethora of problems with our skin and airways. It is so important that you are washing your sheets and changing out your pillows to prevent allergy issues. Here is a cleaning checklist to reference throughout the year.
Bedroom Cleaning Checklist
- Wash walls and floors.
- Wash curtains.
- Clean rugs and carpets (every 4-6 months).
- Wash or wipe the blinds.
- Flip mattress (every 6 months).
- Vacuum the mattress (every 3 months) to remove any excess skin cells or dust mites.
- Wash the sheets (weekly).
- Get a new pillow (every 6 months).
- Dust ceiling fans and other surfaces.
- Wash the windows.
7. Reset the Energy
Once your bedroom is set up perfectly, I would recommend opening the windows (even if just for a moment) and sage the space or say a prayer.
This process will help you clear any old or stagnant energy in your room. Then set an intention or say a prayer like, “Let this be a space of peaceful sleep and connection.” And continue this process anytime you feel the energy in your space needs a boost.
Repeat Throughout the House
All of these factors should be considered and applied to your children’s bedrooms as well (just skip the intimacy factors).
It’s amazing how the dynamics in the family shift once everyone is getting good sleep. And I hope these sleep tips help you and your family. Cheers to great sleep and Zen vibes!