Take a moment to think about your bedroom and how it is right now. Is it messy? Clean? Is the bed made? Are the curtains drawn?
Most importantly, ask yourself this: Is your bedroom a place where you can truly rest? Or is it just another room, one where you feel the stress of the rest of your day?
Stress & Sleep: A Bad Combination
Let’s face it: living in our fast-paced culture can be stressful. Being connected 24/7 has improved our lives in many ways, but it’s also caused many of us to feel record levels of worry and anxiety. And, naturally, that unrest is taking a toll on our ability to get a good night’s sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America™ Poll, of people with severe or very severe stress levels, 83% were more likely to report fair, poor or very poor sleep quality.
In fact, the American Psychological Association has found a significant increase in stress levels since they began polling over a decade ago. Recently, they found that American adults sleep an average of only 6.7 hours per night. Even though that’s just a little less than the recommended 7-9 hours per night, it’s startling that only 33% of people said that their sleep quality was good, and nearly half (46%) reported fair or poor sleep quality.
The good news is that the same APA poll found that Americans are also increasingly aware of how the stress that they are feeling is negatively affecting their physical and mental well-being. They say that acceptance is the first step to recovery, so now that we know the damage stress is doing to our sleep, we can start to make positive changes.
Unplug to Recharge
I’m convinced that it’s more important than ever to be intentional about making your bedroom a calm, relaxing place where you can get some serious rest. I don’t know about you, but it can be hard for me to turn off my brain at night and relax, especially if I’m in a room that reminds me of other things that I need to be doing.
Even if every other room of your house has reminders of the busyness of life – dishes to be done, laundry to wash, stacks of mail to process, kids’ projects and toys to be dealt with – we all need to have one room that is free of everything except what you need to relax and recharge. Making your bedroom a stress-free place will actually improve your ability to take care of everything else that you need to do.
Make Your Bedroom Stress-Free
Everybody is different, but here’s a few of my tips to help you make your bedroom a peaceful place where you can rest and take care of yourself.
Reduce or eliminate screen time in the bedroom.
As Dr. Sujay Kansagra discussed in a recent post on The Daily Doze, phones, tablets, laptops and TVs emit a specific blue light that disrupts the body’s natural relaxing processes. If possible, keep these things out of the bedroom entirely, but even just powering them off an hour before bed helps your body to ready itself for sleep.
Large bedroom windows can be relaxing because they offer views of a backyard or other nature, but light also disrupts sleep patterns. All light – artificial and sunlight – elevates cortisol levels and suppresses the release of melatonin. When it’s time to sleep, turn off all the visible lights in your room and cover windows with blackout curtains to keep early morning light from prematurely interrupting your sleep cycle.
Protect your bedroom from outside stressors.
It can be difficult to achieve, but it’s so important to keep all of the other stuff in your house that causes stress – unfolded laundry, work to-do lists, unfinished home projects, etc. – away from your sleep. Even seeing an unpaid bill on a bedside table or tripping on a child’s toy while climbing into bed could cause your stress levels to increase and interrupt your sleep.
I’m glad we partner with brands like Serta, who also understand the importance of a peaceful bedroom . Try to think of your room as a precious space that needs to be guarded from the invasion of outside influences that are trying to steal away your rest. It’s worth it!
Cooler can be better.
Our body temperatures tend to drop right before we fall asleep, and our bodies will remain at their coolest throughout the periods of deepest sleep. Because of this, sleep experts recommend that we keep our bedrooms a bit cooler than usual, ideally between 65 and 72 degrees.
Make your bedroom yours.
For many people, the bedroom can be the last place to get decorated because it’s not as visible to guests. It’s important to create a space that you feel comfortable in, without having to worry about how guests or other visitors will feel in the space. Put up art on the wall that makes you feel happy when you see it, or display mementos from your life that might be out-of-place in a living room, but have special meaning to you.
Make sure you have the right mattress.
Maybe I’m biased, but I think it would be hard to feel rested after sleeping night after night on an old, worn-out mattress. If your mattress is more than 8 years old, it’s probably time to replace it. Don’t think of buying a mattress as a chore, but instead, really think about the point of good quality rest and the positive impact it has on your overall quality of life. It’s worth the investment to find the best mattress for you so you can sleep happy.
In the end, I hope you consider how important your bedroom is for your mental and physical health. Your body needs sleep. Stress interrupts sleep. Therefore, you need a comfortable, relaxing place where you can unwind and rest in as stress-free of an environment as possible.
About The Author
With more than 15 years of experience with Mattress Firm, Ken Murphy has worn many hats, all of which (were Mattress Firm red, of course) prepared him to step into the role of president and CEO, and perhaps most importantly, his role as a contributor to The Daily Doze. Here on the blog, he shares his thoughts on the importance of a good sleep environment, the impact of a good night’s sleep on your career, and the importance of sleep for his family.
At Mattress Firm, Ken keeps his finger on the pulse of the company as he oversees sales, field operations, marketing communications, digital strategy, learning and development, and talent management. His passion and gusto – widely known and recognized around the Mattress Firm offices – are the drivers behind his dedication to live out the Mattress Firm mission to improve lives one relationship at a time. In 2011, Ken was awarded Mattress Firm’s distinguished Spirit of Life award for his commitment to living out Mattress Firm’s mission and values in his day-to-day life.
Ken holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Management from Stephen F. Austin State University. He lives in Houston with his wife, Susan, and is a proud father of five children.
Best Night’s Sleep: As an aficionado of alliteration, Ken’s sleep time routine includes thinking up mattress-related tongue twisters like “Matt’s magnificent mattress makes mornings marvelous,” until he drifts off to a peaceful night’s sleep.