Blog by Beebe Cline

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How Your Home Can Help You Get 8 Hours of Sleep

Getting in a good eight hours of sleep promotes good health and longevity, according to Matthew Walker, founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, at the University of California, Berkeley. And yet many of us are scraping by on a whole lot less. How can we improve the nightly total? Maximizing comfort in our bedrooms and keeping them dark to establish good habits are just two of the following ways life at home can be tweaked to keep sleep loss to a minimum.

Choose Hues That Soothe

Use the power of color to create the mood for sound sleep. In this room, tones of gray are layered for a calming design that’s also rich in detail.

Grays can be cool in tone, so look for those with a yellow or pink base for a cozy room, and avoid blue-based versions.

The bigger your bed is, the better it is when it comes to sleeping with a partner undisturbed. Need to test the width of your bed or try a new one for size? Partners should lie down together arms behind heads. For comfortable sleeping, elbows shouldn’t touch.

Ban the TV

Sorry, but a television in the bedroom won’t help in the quest for good shut-eye, since the light emanating from it delays the release of sleep-inducing melatonin. If a bedroom TV is essential in your household, allow half an hour between viewing and sleep time to start the countdown to a good night’s rest.

Ban the Cellphone Too

A charging station well away from the bedroom, such as this shelf-and-outlet combo, can get you in the habit of plugging in your cellphone elsewhere overnight. Of course, if it’s a mobile alarm that rouses you, a substitute is required. Go back to the 20th century with a clock radio or add vintage style with an alarm clock with bells on top.

The constant orange glow of towns and cities, motion-sensor lighting and passing cars can all hinder a good night’s rest. Bring darkness to the room with a window treatment that blocks light completely, such as shutters. Prefer fabric at the window? Try blackout blinds, which come in a huge range of colors, or opt for curtains with blackout lining.

Banish the Thin, Lumpy Mattress

Once a mattress is causing aches and pains, it’s only right to complain about it like the fairy-tale princess who was (royally) sensitive enough to feel a pea below her mattress pile. A new one needs to be compatible with its support, whether that’s a box spring, platform or foundation. It’s worth buying them at the same time or, if not, ensuring that the new mattress is suitable for the existing support.

Take a Warm Bath

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a drop in body temperature makes us feel sleepy. Taking a warm bath before heading into a cooler bedroom therefore can make for quicker and better sleep.

A bathroom like this one will foster pre-sleep relaxation too. To turn a bathroom from functional to calming, use decorative accessories and artwork for the walls.

Turn Down the Heat

Keeping a bedroom too warm can cause restless sleep because the temperature of the space interferes with the natural dip in body temperature that occurs at night.

A thermostatic radiator valve adjusts the heat in an individual room without affecting the water heater. Make sure it isn’t blocked by curtains.

Keep Office Hours

When a bedroom has to double as a home office, the boundary between the two can blur. To help avoid job creep, steal the style of this room and opt for a desk that allows a laptop to be tidied away, leaving it as an attractive piece of furniture without work reminders on display.

Have a desktop computer instead of a laptop? Invest in a cabinet-style desk — built-in or freestanding — with doors that close to hide the office.

Stick to a Schedule

A regular routine can help sleep. Here, an oversize clock over the television helps ensure that you won’t lose track of time even when you’re binge-watching your favorite show.

Note that an overscale design like this isn’t necessarily a no-no in a small living room. Adding in a large decorative accessory can often help a compact space feel bigger.