5 Things to Change in Your Bedroom to Get Better Sleep
Have you caught yourself nodding off today? Feeling a little cranky? Pouring another cup of coffee? Studies show that up to 70 million Americans aren’t getting quality sleep. Pick your head up — there are foolproof ways to change your bedroom so that you wake up feeling refreshed and stay that way all day. Here are the top 5:
- Black out or back out
Fact: if your room isn’t dark enough, you’re not getting quality sleep. Research has shown that people who sleep in darker rooms have higher levels of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. A pair of blackout curtains will keep light out and your brain at rest until you wake. Bonus: The higher your levels of melatonin and deeper your sleep, the more body fat you’ll burn at rest. Darker room = more donuts.
- Grab an app
Wearables like FitBit and Apple Watch can measure the quality of your sleep by sensing how often you’re tossing and turning. You can use the info to optimize your bedtime and wakeup, and try other things on this list until the data is on your side. And it couldn’t be easier and more affordable. Now apps are hitting the market that don’t even require a wearable. GoodMornings uses the accelerometer in your iPhone (the same mechanism that tracks your steps and estimates calorie burn) to sense how long and how well you’re sleeping. The typical REM cycle lasts 90 minutes, and you can feel tired if you wake up in the middle of one instead of at the end. The app will track your cycles and give you an ideal wake-up time. It’ll even soothe you to sleep with calming music.
- Put a wake-up light on your bedside table
Being jarred awake to a bleating alarm is the worst — it scientifically disturbs your body and contributes to the woes of morning drowsiness. An automatic wake-up light, like the Philips HF3520 ($149), can replicate a sunrise in your bedroom and wake you gradually and naturally. Starting thirty minutes before your wake-up time, the light gradually brightens, bringing a warm glow to the room and easing you awake. To add to the zen vibe, you can even replace the alarm tone with the sound of chirping birds, a burbling stream, or the faint sound of sizzling bacon. Yes, please.
- Add a white noise machine to your dresser
Even if you don’t live on a busy street or above a bar (or with a loud roommate), it’s almost certain that noise has left you sleepless. A white noise machine helps outside sounds blend into the background, preventing sleep disturbances. The Marpac Sound Machine ($50) is the official white noise machine of the National Sleep Foundation and has an average four-and-a-half-star rating on Amazon.
- Repaint your walls
Having trouble getting to sleep? Constantly waking up with headaches and pains? It might be time to ease out of your Asian bordello or hardcore goth period and repaint your walls. Dark colors such as brown, purple, red and grey have been determined to be disruptive to sleep. The most relaxing color? Blue. In one study, subjects with blue rooms slept the most, reporting 7 hours and 52 minutes on average, followed by yellow and green.