How to create a sleep-friendly bedroom
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Washington - Research has shown how relevant sleep is to health, so it's important to get a good night's sleep.
In the bedroom, that means not just decorating in calming colours but also minimizing stressors and optimizing conditions for a restful night. We asked some experts for advice and products to achieve that.
A key obstacle to uninterrupted sleep is noise. To reduce it, Brooklyn-based architect and designer Adam Meshberg, founder of Meshberg Group, recommends soundproofing the walls - building an additional thin wall in front of the original, adding a layer of QuietRock sheetrock, or sealing any cracks or gaps within the walls.
To a lesser extent, wallcoverings can also absorb sound, he says, though a padded wallcovering will do more than a simple wallpaper.
Cracks and gaps are also a problem when it comes to windows. Restoring or replacing drafty windows won't just improve your heating and cooling bills; doing so can make a huge difference in the amount of noise seeping in.
For a simpler fix, getting an upholstered headboard (or a bed that comes with one) helps with acoustics, says Florida-based designer Adriana Hoyos. Go for fabrics at least one millimeter thick; suede, velvet, leather and leatherette are stylish options for absorbing excess noise.
Alternatively, try white noise. A fan might do the trick, but Julien Baeza, assistant project manager at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles, suggests Spotify and soundscape machines.
Keep the lights out
Lights out is essential to bedtime. In particular, avoid exposure to the blue light from LED bulbs and electronic devices, says Pablo Castillo, sleep medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic. "The body reacts to this artificial light as if it (were) still daytime," he said in an email, "and the pineal gland will stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin, resulting in poor sleep quality."
That's why you should stay away from bright light for at least three hours before bedtime, reduce screen time, and set devices on night mode an hour or two before bed, plus use blue-light-blocking coating on screens or glasses if you "use computers and digital devices heavily", Castillo wrote.
Andrew Bowen, director of staging at ASH NYC, likes the Rug Company's Deep Pile Merino Natural Rug. Picture: The Rug Company
Go soft and simple
Simplify your space for sleeping only. It doesn't matter whether you live in a mansion or a studio, you can declutter for a calming effect, according to Meridith Baer, founder of staging company Meridith Baer Home.
A sleep-friendly bedroom is like a "good snuggle" - one that makes you "feel embraced and safe," like a cocoon, Alex P. White, a furniture designer and decorator based in New York and Los Angeles, said in an email. So keep things "tonal and tactile with as many luxurious materials as your budget allows."
As for decor, keep things light and uncomplicated, says New York designer Ryan Korban. He recommends using light-coloured paints that are warm and not stark (he likes Lily White from Benjamin Moore) and light-wood floors.
Regulate your schedule
Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep, but to "avoid chaos in your circadian rhythms, it is suggested that you maintain the same schedule every day," says Rachel Salas, sleep specialist and associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
"Lights in the bedroom should be dimmable or have the ability to adjust to a low setting," Meshberg says. They can help your brain transition to slumber mode. Go for bedside sconces or lamps.
Focus on the bed
No doubt, the most important component is the bed. That's why selecting the right mattress, sheets and pillows can help you get a good slumber.
As for pillows, "synthetic is the best" because you can wash it.