A good night’s sleep has a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. As recent research and a slew of books has shown, ‘sleep hygiene’ is key. Surprisingly, our bedroom ideas and the decor we choose can improve this. From the furniture, bedding and accessories we choose, to what to avoid, there are plenty of bedroom design tips for better sleep.
This is important, as according to the sleep doctor, Michael Breuss, poor quality slumber can contribute to cardiac issues, memory, focus and attention problems and depression or anxiety. ‘The research is very clear, poor sleep causes problems physically, mentally and emotionally,’ says Dr Breuss.
So how can the way we decorate our bedroom help us sleep better?
‘Think of your bedroom as a sanctuary, it’s where you go to relax and unwind after a long day, therefore the space needs to be tranquil and soothing,’ says Adam Black, founder, Button & Sprung. ‘Not only will a relaxing bedroom reduce overall stress levels, it will enhance your quality of sleep.’
1. Hang blackout blinds
Waking up with the sunrise may have worked for our ancestors, and can be lovely at certain times of the year. However, during the summer, most of us prefer not to be woken by bright light at 4am.
As well as blocking early morning sunlight, blackout blinds can help keep your bedroom cool in the summer too.
2. Paint walls in dark muted tones
Dark colours like blue bedroom ideas will create a cocooning effect that feels instantly relaxing. Interior designer, Yoko Kloeden opted for moody tones in her main bedroom for this reason.
‘We had a white bedroom with blackout blinds in our old home, but it was still very bright, particularly in the summer,’ says Yoko. ‘This bedroom is at the top of the house in the loft, so I wanted to create a calming escape with dark, moody colours.’
3. Choose a natural mattress
Choosing a mattress and mattress topper made with natural materials, will help you sleep better. This is because wool, cotton and the like regulate body temperature, unlike synthetic materials, such as foam, which cause us to overheat.‘When it comes to bedding, natural materials including coir, flax, cotton and wool are the healthier choice for overall wellbeing and quality of sleep,’ says Mark Tremlett, Co-Founder, Naturalmat.‘Changes in your body temperature can often cause disruption to your sleep, particularly in the summer heat. Natural materials are more responsive to body temperature changes, maximising your body’s ability to cool down and regulate your body temperature whilst you sleep.‘Synthetic materials will make this worse, as they tend to absorb heat, increasing your body temperature further, which in turn will lead to more perspiration and discomfort during the night.’
4. Line curtains with bump
As well as lining curtains with blackout fabrics, it’s worth including bump too. Bump, otherwise know as interlining, sits between the surface fabric and the lining. It can not only assist in making the room dark enough for sleep, it often has acoustic qualities too.
So, in addition to blocking light, bump-lined curtains will muffle any outside noise, such as traffic or trains too, making your sleep space, darker, quieter and more peaceful.
5. Install solid shutters
Again blocking out early morning light, or even light at night from street lamps or a particularly bright full moon, will aid sleep.This is as important for adults as it is for little ones, especially when it comes to getting them to sleep through the night.
Solid shutters will not only block light, but they will also often reduce outside noise from disturbing your sleep too.
6. Invest in fitted wardrobes
Bear with us, this is not as mad as it might sound. Less stress means better sleep – and it’s commonly known that clutter equals stress.
Therefore, having plenty of bedroom storage ideas means clothes, shoes and accessories are out of sight. As well as being easy to find when you do need them, this will reduce general clutter.
‘The big advantage of fitted wardrobes is of course that they can fill the space and cope with any idiosyncrasies,’ says Simon Tcherniak, Senior Designer at Neville Johnson. ‘It’s amazing how much storage you gain by going high up the wall. And if you make them no deeper than necessary, your room will still feel more spacious too.’
This is another tip that is about reducing clutter build-up. By having more drawer space, surfaces are more likely to stay tidy. In turn, this will help reduce stress and intrusive thoughts that may keep you awake.
‘If the last thing you see before closing your eyes is a pile of bills, work documents to read, or a random assortment of items that doesn’t belong there, chances are you’re going to fall asleep thinking “I really need to deal with those”. This is going to affect the quality of your sleep. If you can only tackle one area of clutter, make it your bedside cabinet.’
8. Sleep on 100% linen sheets and duvet covers
Natural materials rear their head again, as it’s not just about your mattress. Sleeping on synthetic sheets (or nightwear) can cause overheating too. Linen is particularly good at regulating temperature, helping us stay warm in winter and cool in summer. Its slubby style looks lovely too.
‘We’re all too familiar with those ‘stick-your-leg-out-of-the-duvet, finding-the-cool-part-of-your-pillow’ nights that keep us restless and a little bit grumpy after a bad night’s sleep,’ says Molly Freshwater, Co-Founder, Secret Linen Store.
‘The right fabrics make a big difference and 100% linen is a superhero. The natural fibres make it brilliantly breathable and also highly absorbent. So it wicks away any moisture, keeping your body temperature regulated throughout the night.’