“Everything will be better in the morning.” – how many times did our mother’s tell us this?
And you know what? She was usually right.
But it’s not just wishful thinking. Believe it or not, it’s science. A good night’s rest has a very real and measurable impact on our wellbeing.
Sleep regenerates us, bolstering our immune system and resetting hormones to lift our mood. It eases:
Good sleep aids the repair of our heart and blood vessels, it helps to regenerate sore muscles and fortifies the body against diseases.
All that sounds pretty important right?
So where do we start?
1. Make it Yours
The bedroom is our most personal space. Other rooms may be designed to please multiple family members or even to impress guests. But your bedroom is just for you.
There is no right or wrong. How you are affected by your surroundings, depends on your unique genetics and experiences. Identifying the look that makes YOU feel good.
While the right ambience and style will vary from person to person, there are also some crucial elements that will help us ALL get a better night’s sleep.
We spend a third of our lives in bed so the right bedding is probably one of the most important soft furnishing selections of all.
2. Choose the Bedding that’s Right for YOU.
It is a personal thing!
There is no one best mattress for all – the mattress that suits you best will depend upon the spinal support you need.
This is determined by your unique posture, the kind of work you do, the sports you play, and even the intensity.
How do you Sleep?
The sleeping position that you prefer will determine which mattress is right for you.
Back sleepers tend to push against the spine, which is why they need a firm mattress. People who sleep on the side need a soft mattress, which is delicate for hips and shoulders. Stomach sleepers need something in the middle.
Your sleeping position also influences which type of pillow suits you best, because each offers a different level of support to get the correct alignment.
How to choose a Pillow?
generally need a fuller (taller), quite firm pillow, which matches the gap between the head and mattress caused by the shoulders. A thinner pillow for between the knees can help relieve back pain in side sleepers.
may prefer a flatter (lower) pillow. Memory foam pillows suit back sleepers as they match the shape of your head and allow you to sink in evenly, meaning your neck won’t be strained.
might like a soft, almost flat pillow. Placing a thin pillow beneath your stomach/pelvis area might help you avoid back pain, too.
Toss and Turn Sleepers will need a pillow that pitches at all these sleeping positions – a supportive one that’s of medium height should just about do.
3. Choose a Pillow to suit your Mattress
Yup, the mattress does matter when you’re choosing a pillow.
As a general rule, you should choose a soft pillow for a firm mattress, and a firm pillow for a soft mattress.
How to Choose a Pillow Filling
Pillows usually come in a choice of feather, down, latex, microfibre and memory foam. But don’t just consider the filling type, but the ‘fill power’, too. The higher the number, the plumper the pillow; the more tightly packed it is, the longer it might last, but the firm it will feel.
‘Fill weight’ is another consideration: down and synthetic pillows are lighter than memory foam and latex pillows; if you like to move your pillows about at night, lighter ones may suit you better.
are supportive and comfortable, and will stay that way for longer than synthetic fillings. They can also be moulded around your neck easily – ideal if that’s how you like your neck supported. Down pillows are usually filled with fibres from geese or ducks, with goose down usually softer and more expensive than duck.
If allergies have put you off these pillows in the past, quality pillows will usually have had their filling processed to remove the dander. These pillows can also be machine washed, feather is cooler than down which is important for those of us living in the tropics.
offer even, firm support. They can be a great buy for back and side sleepers who need lots of neck support.
are cheaper than other pillow types, come in hypoallergenic options, can be popped in the washing machine and come in a range of shapes, heights, weights and sizes so you can choose one for your sleep position. All good so far.
The downsides? They’re not as breathable as natural fillings and they won’t last as long.
are a great choice for allergy sufferers; they offer good, firm even support (similar to memory foam and firmer than down), are breathable, will keep you cool, and will last.
So now you have the perfect bedding. Let’s figure out where to put it.
4. Find the Right Spot
5. Air Circulation, Quality and Temperature
Your bedroom should be cool rather than too warm – lower temperatures tell your body it’s time to sleep. Ceiling fans are great for circulating air. The fan will also create low level white noise which is conducive to sleep and it’s much better for you than air conditioning.
Plants are an effective way to improve the quality of air in your bedroom, or you could consider an air filter or air purifier.
6. Limit Light
We all know that darkness is an important factor in getting to sleep and staying asleep. This includes eliminating clocks with lit displays and LEDs on electronics. Make sure you have good curtains and blinds to block out any outside light, and have dimmer switches on the bedroom lights. Your bedroom should be dark at night, but equally important is that it’s light and bright during the day.
A lot of us find it hard to switch off at night and go to sleep. Having clutter in your bedroom is not going to help!
8. Designate Areas for Different Activities
9. Soothing Colours
Cool neutrals and soft pastels are a good choice for the bedroom because they’re relaxing colours. Designing your bedroom for a better night’s sleep is all about calming your nervous system. It goes without saying that the bedroom isn’t the best room to paint bright red or use clashing colours. Think in terms of tone on tone. Some of us do enjoy revitalizing colours, and these can be incorporated but sparingly as accents so that they energize us rather than stress us.
10. Calm the Senses
Don’t neglect any of your senses when you’re working towards a better night’s sleep. Soft furnishings and floor coverings can help absorb noise and as mentioned previously a fan on low speed will not only cool your body but it will also produce low level white noise which aids sleep.
Lavender is known for being soothing and promoting relaxation. A drop of lavender essential oil on the light bulb of a lamp or on your pillow will help you relax.
Importantly for deep relaxation your skin and body should be surrounded by softness and support.
Bedding plays a big role in sleep. Natural fibres, like cotton, linen and bamboo are breathable and will keep us far cooler and more comfortable in hot, humid conditions.
Making the bed every single day can actually help us sleep better at night. A neatly bed at bedtime can promote a pleasant feeling of comfort and relaxation.
If it feels good, it must be right!
Good Design, is all about what feels great to you – and in this most private of spaces, self-indulgence is the name of the game.
A retreat that, welcomes you with a warm embrace, that caresses you gently until the stresses of the day dissipate and one that ensures a restorative night’s rest, is the most profitable investment in yourself that you can make.