This past weekend we attended my husband's college reunion, which included sleeping in the dorms. After nearly three decades away from college living, staying overnight in a dorm seemed like a fun idea, until we decided to turn in for the night. How did we ever sleep at all in college? The beds are uncomfortable and squeaky, the walls and windows paper-thin, and people stay up late making noise. Needless to say we did not sleep well and couldn't wait to get back home where I knew we would sleep better.
In addition to a quiet bedroom, with a comfortable bed, our master bedroom has all the elements of a restful environment—at least according to a recent survey from the National Sleep Foundation. That poll found that most Americans (myself included) believe the key to a good night's sleep is a clean and comfortable bedroom.
"Love your bedroom and make it the best place you can," says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation, "but at the end of the day, it's crucial to give yourself enough time to wind down and get the seven to nine hours of sleep that most people need to feel their healthiest and best."
The vast majority of those surveyed said that mattresses and pillows are important to get a good night's sleep and to sleep better, and more than three-quarters believe that the comfortable feel of sheets and bedding are important. Hmm, let's think about that recent dorm living experience: hard, squeaky uncomfortable twin-sized bed and mattress with scratchy college-issued sheets versus my bed at home, which is king sized, has a pillow topper on the mattress, and high thread count cotton sheets. It's not hard to imagine in which bed I slept better! (Here are tips for buying a good mattress.)
Also high on the list on how to design a bedroom so you can sleep better:
- keep the room at cool temperature
- make sure the air is clean and free of allergens
- create a dark, quiet space
- clean the bedroom and keep it free from clutter
- practice good sleep hygiene
"We spend a third of lives in our bedrooms, so make it a sanctuary for your sleep," says Cloud. "Comfort, fresh air, quietness and cool temperature are the basic building blocks for creating the best sleep environment."
(Here are some ways to reduce stress in the bedroom.)