As a mother of two I know how important sleep is and as an interior designer I know how to help people create the right environment to achieve it.
1. Go easy on the color scheme. Avoid dark, heavy colors and bright, stimulating colors, like navy blue, burgundy, red and bright orange. Instead, steer towards the softer more subtle tones of pale green, soft peach, gentle coral, pale blue and soft butter yellow. You can add highlights and accents of bolder colors but keep the bulk of the bedroom in soft neutrals or pale tints of color to create a restful environment.
2. Avoid filling your bedroom with gym equipment, computers and TV's. Remove all mental and physically stimulating items. The bedroom is where you go to sleep so make sure that the rooms makeup libraries a cozy, comfortable and relaxing feeling.
3. Keep furniture to minimum- bedside tables, the occasional chair, set of drawers. Allow the bed to dominate and keep furniture uncluttered. You want to unclutter your mind before you sleep, so set the scene in your bedroom.
4. Ventilation. We all need fresh air for a good healthy lifestyle, so ensure your bedroom is well ventilated. During the day open windows and in the heat of summer, use a fan or air-conditioning to keep the temperature at a constant, comfortable level. In winter, try adding a few more blankets and keep the heating to a minimum as this can dry your body out and you will wake feeling tired and dehydrated.
5. Darkness. This triggers a reaction in your brain to sleep, so try blackout curtain linings. These are fantastic places with daylight savings or people with young children. They keep the room dark and are very good if you have streetlights outside that shine through your windows. Wooden shutters can be used in warmer countries that do not require draperies but are not as good as blackout linings.
6. Sheets. Cotton! 100% – no polycotton. Cotton absorbs moisture better than polycotton and allows you to stay cool and feel fresh whilst sleeping, and they do not pill. Choose high quality cotton sheets with a high thread count- anything over 200 are good quality.
7. Quality duvet- from personal experience 100% goosedown is the best option. It is light yet incredibly warm and they last forever. It absorbs moisture, which then evaporates into the air keeping you warm and dry. Did you know that you lose on average a liter of water every night while you sleep? Thank goodness for goosedown duvets and cotton sheets! Wool is another quality product for duvets. It has similar features to down but is a lot heavier.
8. The perfect bed. This is one thing I can not tell you- which type of bed is best as it really is a personal choice. But I can tell you to spend as much as your budget allows on a good quality mattress. As you have read above, you lose a lot of moisture from your body at night, so the mattress must breathe. It should be firm enough to support your body but not too hard that you ache lying on it. Some mattresses allow for turning, which reduces the usual role-together syndrome. Slat beds allow you to adjust the slats to make your bed firmer or softer. Some beds come in two parts so each partner can have different spring mattresses. The choices are endless, so definitely lie on as many as possible before you buy!
9. A good quality pillow will ensure your neck is well supported and provide you with the environment for a good nights sleep. Most top class hotels allow you to order the pillow you require, as they know the difference it makes to a guests enjoyment of their stay. Whatever product you select, remember it should breathe and be comfortable fro you. It should be replaced every two years as they get flatted and lose their shape and fail to support you any longer. I have a slept at a friend's house on a pillow that had lavender essentials oils built in- wow did I have a good nights sleep! The choice of pillow is intense- as you can see them even come spotted now!
10. Keep the lighting soft- you want to set the mood for sleep. The subtle glow from a side lamp is best. Enough so that you do not crash into anything, but your body has started to count down to a good nights sleep.