By Advocate Contributors
Originally published on Advocate.com August 01 2011 8:05 AM ET
Making your bedroom into the kind of sanctuary that affords you the escape from daily stressors — and allows for the kind of deep rest that is so important for your health — doesn’t require a major makeover. A few simple changes can help you get your Zs.
First, you must calm the space. In 30 minutes, almost anyone can reduce a bedroom’s stress level by removing the laptop, TV, newspapers, video came consoles, paperwork (for your job, or things like taxes, receipts, to-do lists, etc.), and anything that should go in another room, including kids’ toys, sports or workout equipment, excess furniture, and clothes. Even if you like to read in your bedroom, move out the excess media, like stacks of books or magazines. If you’re not willing to part with all these items, make sure they have a designated home out of eyesight, like in a drawer or cabinet.
Now populate the room with the kinds of items that will make it a haven: soft bedding, high quality pillows, lighting that isn’t harsh (a dimmer switch can work wonders), curtains that completely block the sunlight, and a carafe of water and a glass. If you like scented candles or incense, add those too. If the sunlight or noise tends to wake you, get a soft sleep mask and some silicone earplugs. Consider replacing your noisy, jarring alarm clock with one that uses your iPod to gradually wake you to soothing music, or a visual alarm that slowly brightens like the rising sun.
The last step is upkeep. Keep your bedroom harmoniously clutter-free and clean. Those reminders of the world outside your bedroom are a source of sleep-interrupting stress, and maintaining a tidy bedroom will keep it tranquil. An unclean room isn’t a restful one, so keep your floors swept or vacuumed, your clean clothes in your closet and the dirty ones in a laundry room or in an out-of-sight hamper, and your surfaces dusted. You’ll rest easy in your new stress-free sanctuary.