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Your bedroom, at a minimum, serves a utilitarian purpose: A place to get a good night’s sleep. But, it has the potential to be so much more, doubling as a relaxing retreat that makes you feel pampered, much like your favorite spa or a presidential suite at a swanky hotel.
Here are seven simple (we promise!) steps for transforming your bedroom into a relaxing retreat.
Use A White Noise Machine
White noise can mask disruptive noises, ultimately helping you get uninterrupted Z’s. Many of the sound machines you’ll find on the market today have multiple settings — like ocean, stream, meadow — designed to help lull you to sleep. But, sleep scientists caution that it’s best to keep your sound machine on the white noise setting once you hit the pillow. That’s because the sounds and pitches in nature can vary in volume, making it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
Decorate With Greens And Blues
Cool colors are best when it comes to relaxation. Researchers say green is considered an emotionally calming color that can bring about feelings of refreshment, harmony and equilibrium. Blue is soothing and calming and may even help lower blood pressure. What we’re getting at: Spin the color wheel to the cool tones when you’re decorating your bedroom, as shades of blue or green may help promote relaxation.
Create A Cave-Like Environment
The best temperature range for sleep is between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Sleep Foundation, because your body temperature decreases when it’s trying to initiate sleep. “ It can also help to think of your bedroom as a cave — it should be quiet, cool and dark for the best chance at getting enough rest,” according to the foundation. To help achieve this environment, it’s ideal to keep electronics out of the bedroom, because glowing blue lights can disrupt your sleep.
Invest In High-Quality Bedding
If you’re getting the recommended eight hours of sleep per night, that means you’re spending one-third of the day in bed — so it’s certainly worth investing in high-quality bedding, including sheets and comforters.
It’s common to focus on thread count when you’re shopping for sheets. A higher-thread count can give your sheets a soft, silky feel, but can also hinder how well sheets breathe, which can be uncomfortable if your body temperature runs hot. Beyond thread count, you can also look at the weave of the sheets. For example, percale sheets tend to be crisp and lightweight. Sateen sheets have a more silky, soft feel. It really comes down to personal preference.
When you’re shopping for comforters, you’ll want to keep the weight of the material in mind and, if you’re prone to allergies, look for options that are hypoallergenic.
Relax! Don’t Track Your Sleep
Fitness trackers are great for logging your steps during the day and helping you track how much activity you get. But, you may want to think twice about letting them work overtime to track your sleep. Sleep doctors are noticing people are becoming obsessed with trying to achieve perfect sleep and self-diagnosing sleep disorders based on the sleep-tracking data. When people are anxious about not getting enough sleep, it can make it even more difficult for them to fall and stay asleep. The term that sleep experts have given this phenomenon is orthosomnia.
Try Some Calming Scents
Having a nighttime routine that queues your body and mind for sleep is ideal. To help wind down at night, some scents are proven to induce relaxation. For example, research published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience confirmed the scent of lavender is relaxing. An essential oil diffuser ($13) can help you perfect a soothing aromatic scentscape in your bedroom that feels like you’ve been transported to a spa.
Declutter Your Bedroom
To keep stress at bay, give your bedroom a minimalist makeover and make sure you have solid storage solutions in place so that your closet or drawers aren’t overflowing. Managing clutter increases stress levels, according to researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles. In order to create a bedroom that feels like a peaceful retreat, you’ll want to stop using your bed as a mobile office where you check e-mail. And it shouldn’t be be the default spot where you fold laundry, either.
Now all you need to round out your serene retreat is a “Do Not Disturb” sign to sling on your door handle.