If you're having trouble sleeping, it could be because of your crazy, busy, stressful life — or it could be because your bedroom just isn't conducive to getting a good night's rest. Here at Apartment Therapy, we've put a lot of thought into the elements that make for a restful sleeping space. This is a roundup of seven of the things that we think are most important — things that you can tweak in order to get some uninterrupted shut-eye. If you build it, sleep will come.
1. The right mattress.
When it comes to sleeping comfort, nothing is more important than your mattress. The right mattress can make the difference between tossing and turning and sleeping like a baby. If your mattress is over ten years old, or you feel achy every morning, or you find yourself waking up multiple times in a night to adjust positions, it may need replacing. Here's a comprehensive guide to finding the right mattress for your sleeping style.
2. The right pillow.
It may seem a little silly, but if you're using the wrong pillow for your sleeping style, this could also make you uncomfortable and keep you awake. Jen wrote a great guide to picking the perfect pillow that I found really helpful — after I read this, I started using a flatter pillow and discovered that I woke up less. No joke.
Artificial lighting is pretty great — without it, we'd all be ending our day at 6:30 PM. But keeping bright lights on late at night can also mess with your natural Circadian rythms. Being in a brightly lit space (or staring at a computer screen) right before bed can trick your body into feeling more awake than it actually is. Switching from bright overhead lighting to the softer, dimmer glow of a lamp about an hour or so before bed is a good way to clue your body into the fact that it's sleepytime. Here's a great guide to properly lighting your bedroom.
4. Blackout curtains.
If you live in the middle of the country, without a streetlight in sight, you can skip this part. We are jealous of you. But if you live in the city, with bright streetlights or a chicken sign right outside your window, all that extra light may be keeping you awake. The solution? Blackout curtains. Blackout curtains (or shades) will make your room nice and dark and womb-like, so you sleep like a baby. This post has plenty of sources, plus ways to DIY your own.
5. A noise machine.
Another unwanted side effect of city living is noises all. night. long. Or maybe you're trying to block out your partner snoring or the cacophony of the country. Even in a relatively quiet house, a white noise machine can help you sleep more soundly by evening things out and making those little bumps in the night less noticeable. Here's a roundup of a few good ones.
6. A fan.
For some people, a fan serves the same purpose as a noise machine: covering up ambient noises so you sleep more soundly. For others, having a fan on serves another purpose — keeping cool while you sleep. A bedroom that's the wrong temperature, either too hot or too cold, can make sleeping iffy. For many people, a cooler room is the way to go, and a fan can help with that, especially in cases where you aren't able to change the thermostat, or want to save a little on your electric bill.
7. A heavy blanket.
Some folks hold that sleeping under a heavy blanket does more than just keep you warm in a cold room — it can also help you sleep. In the same way that swaddling helps babies sleep, a heavy blanket can help calm your nerves. There are special weighted blankets available for this purpose, or you can just toss on a comforter and turn down the thermostat a little (or turn up the fan).
Now it's your turn — what are the things you can't sleep without?
(Image credits: Claire Bock)