The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer and many sleep schedules are getting uprooted. With bodies so keenly tuned to the natural rhythm of the sun, it makes sense that these incremental changes might impact our circadian rhythms. But even outside of daylight savings, it’s important that the bedroom be as conducive to a deep, restorative sleep as possible.
That’s why, Jessica Shaw of the award-winning Turett Collaborative architecture group is here to share her top five science-backed tips on how to transform a bedroom into a restful haven for you and your clients.
Invest in Insulation
Whether its in the walls or on the bed, having the proper insulation in the bedroom can be crucial in helping maintain a good night’s sleep, especially in areas where temperatures tend to undergo extremes throughout the year.
“Studies have shown that temperature regulation is one of the most important factors in determining quality sleep, with cold exposure (poorly insulated sleeping environment) leading to less restful sleep,” says Shaw.
“If you live in a region with cold winters, aim for heavier bedding such as down or down-alternative comforters and duvets, or flannel sheets. For those who live in locations with milder winters or simply enjoy sleeping in cooler temperatures, aim for sheets with a bit less insulation, like linen or bamboo. Our choice of mattress cover can also help to deepen sleep; some options are more lightweight, while others have additional padding and insulation properties.”
Layer in the Cozy
Extra blankets and pillows always add a layer of coziness to the bedroom, but the materials can also make a big difference. By providing hypoallergenic or organic materials like hemp, linen or cotton, designers can add a natural texture for extra warmth.
Additionally, it’s worth looking into non-toxic dyes or plant-based dyes that produce little to no VOCs, as, with all the windows locked up for winter, indoor air quality tends to suffer in a home, leading to an even worse night’s sleep. Every little bit helps in this regard.
Incorporate Scents into the Bedroom
Scents have proven to be powerful aids in sleep and relaxation.
“Eucalyptus and lavender are my favorites due to their calming properties,” Shaw says. “A neuroscience study revealed that the main chemicals found in lavender oil produce a calming effect on our nervous systems. In addition, this calming herb has been shown to greatly improve the quality of sleep, preventing wakefulness in slow-wave cycles of deep sleep.”
As far as how one can incorporate aromatherapy into a bedtime routine, diffusers and pillow spray are great options, according to Shaw. Some aromatherapy diffusers can even double as humidifiers in a space, assisting with the dryer air that is often associated with winter, which we’ll talk about later on in this article.
Incorporate Feng Shui
Feng Shui revolves around the conscious arrangement of furniture and home elements to bring harmony and alignment to a space. However, it can also assist in adding order, removing visual clutter and overall reducing anxiety due to its clean presentation.
Some overarching guidelines Shaw lists include:
- Bed should always allow for a view of the door
- Headboard/back of bed should always rest against a solid wall
- Allocate space on both sides of the bed to establish yin yang balance
“The principles of feng shui help to create a visually pleasing space. We want the bedroom to be void of too much stimulation and distraction, so having a sense of harmony with visual elements can be beneficial to winding down,” Shaw says.
Mind the Indoor Humidity Levels
As the winter settles in, the air gets dryer and so often, people get sicker. The reason? Flu, and even COVID-19, viruses thrive in drier air. As such, being able to monitor and manage humidity is huge in the home, with humidifiers being integral to restoring moisture levels.
This way, nasal passages can remain clear, and homeowners can get a good night’s sleep without getting sick. Also, regulating humidity helps to protect furniture from damage.
“Another great, natural alternative to freshening up your space is through plants,” says Shaw. “While many studies reveal that the air-purifying properties of a singular succulent or bamboo plant may be minimal, it is important to acknowledge that plants act as natural humidifiers through transpiration.”
“With so much time spent indoors and in our bedrooms in the winter, we should all look into having indoor plants to keep a healthy level of moisture in the air. Aside from practicality, indoor plants and flowers also add an element of biophilia and connection to the outdoors without having to be outside, especially during the frigid winter months.”