Designing a Good Night’s Sleep
It’s National Sleep Awareness Week, and while there seem to be a lot of articles out there on the importance of catching a few winks, not as many people are talking about how important interior design can be in helping you get a great night’s sleep. Like many busy professionals, a handful of us here at MCA have troubles drifting off to dreamland when there’s just so much to get accomplished at the office. It seemed only right to use our experiences to help others, so here are some tricks we’ve learned over the years about creating bedrooms that encourage and support sleep health.
1) Create a retreat. Men and women sleep differently, with men falling asleep faster and sleeping deeper than women, who tend to wake more easily. Adding kids, snoring, or environmental issues like too much light or noise to the mix can mean days without quality sleep. Make a space to get away and catch a nap, whether it’s a full second bedroom or just a comfy corner of the home office.
2) Limit electronics. Not only do phones, computers, tablets, TVs and radios have the irritating ability to keep us awake for just “one more” song, video, or game, they also emit EMF radiation, which has been directly linked to insomnia and melatonin depletion. In addition, it has been shown that the backlit screens on electronics like iPads can lead to sleep difficulties. If you’re susceptible to sleepless nights, make your bedroom an electronics-free zone and see what happens.
3) Share smarter. A recent study showed that the optimimum amount of bed space to be shared between two people should be 71″, just under the size of a traditional king sized mattress. This allows about an arm’s distance, with room to shift and turn and get comfy without infringing on the other person’s space. John Dittami, author of “Sleeping Better Together,” also suggests that if your loved one routinely steals half of the covers in the middle of the night, it might be more prudent to follow the European tradition of having individual comforters.
4) Color Yourself Sleepy. By now you all know how instrumental color can be in affecting our mood and mental outlook. Choosing neutrals and cool, calming shades for your main sleeping space can help to subtly guide your mind and body to begin letting go of stress. Don’t overlook the power of nice textures, either. Avoid scratchy, unyeilding fabrics and find sheets with higher thread counts to ease into sleep luxuriously. If you’re worried about the expense, try looking in the bedding section of home discount stores like Marshall’s or HomeGoods, which often carry high quality bedding at a steal.
5) Kids Need Sleep, Too. That boundless energy and creativity has to come from somewhere! Sleep not only helps give our bodies time to repair and replenish, it’s also been proven that sleep is essential to enhancing and protecting memory. Just like adults, when kids are tired, they have a more difficult time learning, storing, and recalling information. Doctors advise 12 to 14 hours of sleep for kids between one and three years old, 10 to 12 hours for kids between three and six, 10 to 11 hours for kids from seven to twelve years old, and an average of 9 hours a day for teenagers.