Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep Oasis

Create a comfortable, soothing space with a few easy swaps.

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

For those striving to improve their sleep, a bedroom’s ambience can make a big difference. Luxury hotels know this—that’s why they frequently choose soft, neutral colors for the furnishings and use heavy, thick drapes on the windows. Color, temperature, noise level, fabric texture, and amount of light are all variables that come together in an equation that determines how sleep-conducive a bedroom is.

Don’t have a big hotel budget? Not to worry: Creating a personal sleep oasis tailored to your specific tastes and preferences while also making use of the best practices for quality shut-eye doesn’t have to involve a total makeover. Follow these simple swaps and do-it-yourself upgrades to turn any bedroom into a sleep-friendly space.

Pick the Perfect Mattress

In today’s age, we’re lucky to have so many options for mattresses: Firm, soft, king, queen, memory foam, innerspring, latex, and so on. In addition, a new class of “smart” mattresses have the technology to track your movement throughout the night, your breathing patterns, your heart rate, and more. Additionally, in some mattresses, you can adjust the mattress temperature to suit individual preferences.

Top off your mattress with bedding that is soft to the touch and soothing to sleep in. Choose sheets in a material and thread count that you find comfortable. Look for neutral colors that create a relaxing ambience.

Use Blackout Drapes

One of the biggest deterrents to quality sleep is too much light, either from inside the house (hallway lights, a computer screen left on) or from outside (streetlamps, car headlights). A quick fix: Purchase a set of blackout drapes that are thick enough to totally block any light from seeping into the bedroom. (Also, choose curtains that are slightly oversized for your window frame to ensure a total blackout.) These drapes are especially beneficial to shift workers who need to sleep during daytime hours.

Lower the Thermostat

The ideal temperature for sleep will vary from one person to the next, but as a rule of thumb, a setting between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit will provide a comfortably cool environment that most people find beneficial for sleep. For those who live in climates where the windows can be left open at night, keep a lightweight throw or blanket at the foot of the bed to use if temperatures drop lower during the night.

Choose a Supportive Pillow

Pillows come in all varieties of softness and firmness, fluffier or flatter. Selecting the best option depends on how a person prefers to sleep. For instance, stomach sleepers may prefer a flatter one. If you usually sleep on your back, you may benefit from a thin pillow (so it won’t cause an uncomfortable angle with your head) that has an extra padding or thickness in the bottom third of the pillow to support your neck. Back sleepers should consider pillows with memory foam, as they mold to the shape of your head and neck. People with broader shoulders will likely want a fuller pillow than a person with narrower shoulders.

Store Electronics Elsewhere

Leave your phone as well as your tablet and laptop outside of your bedroom. This helps to remove the temptation to stay up when you’re in bed. Another reason to forgo electronics at bedtime: The blue light emitted from electronic devices tricks the brain into thinking it is time to wake up. Put away all electronics an hour before bed for the best odds of sleeping soundly.

Get Rid of Clutter

Just like the metaphorical clutter in people’s heads when they are overscheduled and stressed, physical clutter in the bedroom can create an unsettled feeling that makes it challenging to relax. A tidy bedroom does not need attention. Consider which items scattered around the room are essentials—things you rely on daily. Place those neatly on bookshelves, or a bedside table or dresser. Everything else? Store them out of sight in closets, drawers, or opaque boxes that give the appearance of tidiness.