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Forget the Rules of Bedroom Design and Support Healthy Sleep

Forget the Rules of Bedroom Design and Support Healthy Sleep

Written by Samantha Kent – Researcher at

Design should always support the purpose of the room, and in no room is that more important than in the bedroom. A room that supports healthy sleep can still be luxurious, sleek, and modern. Design elements that combine stunning looks with functionality can make the bedroom an oasis from the outside world.

The Strategic Use of Lighting

Lighting can make or break a space. In the bedroom, both natural and artificial light must be carefully managed, because light exposure helps establish your sleep-wake cycle.  Too much light at the wrong time of day can interfere with your ability to get a full seven to nine hours of sleep.

A light, airy bedroom may feel welcoming, but if natural light can come in during the day, moonlight and light pollution may stream in at night. Heavy drapes, blackout curtains, and/or blinds that block light can prevent light from suppressing the release of sleep hormones in the evening. If you want that light airy bedroom, blinds coupled with curtains or a second sheer layer of curtains let you adjust light levels according to the time of day.

You have to keep a close eye on artificial light as well. High-efficiency light bulbs emit a blue light that simulates daylight. Like sun exposure, the light from these bulbs can suppress sleep hormones. Incandescent bulbs typically use red light that won’t interfere with the sleep cycle. Whether your deciding on accent, task, or ambient light, always keep in mind that lower light levels support better sleep.

Bed Placement and Setup

While the bed isn’t always the focal point, because of its size, it often ends up being. Everything about the bed from its location to the mattress and bedding make a difference to the quality of your sleep. In general, the human eye prefers symmetry and balance, which means that most beds are placed against the largest wall in the room.

However, unique bedroom layouts might call for something a different. A large square room may work better with bed placed several feet from the wall, calling attention to itself simply by its presence. A rectangular room may need to be divided into quadrants with a table and chairs or loveseat providing visual balance with the bed.

And, of course, you can’t forget the mattress. It should support your weight and preferred sleep position. The higher your weight the more firm your mattress will need to be. Stomach and back sleepers will also need a firmer mattress than a side sleeper. If you’re on the market for a new model, watch for seasonal sales when stores are looking clean out their stock.

Incorporate Natural Elements

Nature has a calming effect on both mind and body. In fact, some studies have shown that taking a 90-minute walk in a natural setting reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Natural elements in the bedroom can have a similar psychological effect. Although you can use houseplants in the bedroom, you don’t necessarily need living plants to bring nature inside.

Artwork that depicts leaves, branches, or landscapes can still calm the mind and body. The natural texture of wood, brick, and stone has the color and texture of nature too. Choose natural elements that appeal to you and fit with the natural environment that surrounds your home.

When design supports healthy sleep, the bedroom truly becomes a restful escape. With the right elements, it may even become one of your favorite rooms.

Written by Samantha Kent – Researcher at

Samantha Kent is a researcher for Her favourite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.

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