(BPT) - Whether snuggling in for the night or just trying to catch a quick few winks, your environment plays an important role in determining if you're counting sheep or counting Zzzs. From noise reduction to lighting, there are a few easy ways you can turn your bedroom into a tranquil oasis.
"A third of the adult population suffers from insomnia from time to time, but only about 6 percent meet the criteria for an actual sleep disorder," says Dr. Christina Brown from the Florida School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Tampa. "In a good number of cases, getting to sleep and staying asleep is a matter of your surroundings."
Kristina Held, assistant professor of Interior Design at The Art Institute of Charlotte, a campus of South University, focuses on areas of the bedroom that you may want to re-evaluate in order to create the sleep haven you've been craving.
"Creating a bedroom that is conducive to your most restful sleep might require a bit of homework, but I think you'll find it won't take you long," Held says. "As an interior designer, I like to focus on lighting, bedding, furniture and decor."
Humans were created to be in-synch with the sun cycle. For this reason, Held recommends positioning your bed to the east so that you will be able to wake up seeing the sun rays peeking in around your curtains.
"Try several layers of curtains to block out light at night," Held says. "Sheers and heavy protective curtains can help soften the room visually, help with sound absorption, help insulate the window, and are a great opportunity to bring in some color and pattern." You can leave the sheers drawn during the day to diffuse daylight while protecting against views from the outside.
Both Brown and Held warn about electronics that provide artificial light in the bedroom. "Get rid of your phones, TVs and iPads while in bed. The artificial light will interrupt your sleep cycle and keep your brain activated, making it harder to get to sleep and keep you off the more natural sleep patterns," Brown says.
"A comfortable mattress enclosed in a hypoallergenic cover protects from dust mites and allergens such as animal dandruff and pollen," recommends Held. Try to use only natural fiber content for your bedding such as cotton, organic cotton, silk, or linen blend. Also try using hypoallergenic pillows to prevent allergies. Held also recommends placing a humidifier in your room during the winter months, and changing your air filters at least once in three months.
Furniture and decor:
"Don't use reds, it makes you awake and some say aggressive. Neutral colors, along with blues and greens, evoke calming feelings that we get when we are surrounded by nature," Held says.
Place a neutral area rug for noise reduction and decoration. If you live in a busy area, Brown recommends a white noise machine or ceiling fan to drown out the background noise. Don't forget to include some inspiring artwork that is meaningful and brings you feelings of calm.
Horizontal lines inspire calmness and are well-suited for a bedroom. Natural materials bring in a relaxing factor as well. Lastly, unclutter your bedroom as much as possible - it will clear your mind. Some horizontal book shelves may just be the trick to de-cluttering and adding the horizontal line accents.
Both Held and Brown agree that keeping your home cooler during the night will help you sleep better. Keep your thermostat at the most comfortable cool setting, as changes in your body's thermal regulation will wake you.
"In the short-term, just one sleep-deprived night can interfere with your ability to concentrate, affect your mood and even make you drowsy during the day," explains Brown. If getting healthier is part of your new year's resolution this year, make getting adequate sleep part of your goal.