How Is Your Bedroom Environment Making it Harder for You to Fall Asleep and/or Stay Asleep?

Dr. Craig Hudson, MD | August 24, 2017


How well you sleep, has a lot to do with where you sleep. Your bedroom should be an oasis dedicated to promoting the most restful sleep possible, but like many of us, you may be doing yourself a disservice by sleeping in a less than optimal environment.

Here are a few reasons your bedroom may be disrupting your sleep.

1. Too Much Clutter

Having a messy bedroom might not be uncommon, but did you know it could be the reason why you can’t sleep? Numerous studies have documented the connection between clutter and stress. To put it simply, a messy environment can distract the brain and make it difficult to focus. A cluttered bedroom can cause stress which makes it difficult to sleep and affects sleeping patterns. Poor quality sleep can lead to more messiness and the cycle continues.

2. Blue Light From Phone and/or Tablet Screens

Are you guilty of late night web browsing? This seemingly harmless habit is actually wreaking havoc on your sleep cycle. The bluish hue from LED screens in devices like TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones are halting the production of melatonin and keeping you awake longer. All electronics should be kept outside of the bedroom. But, if you can’t pull yourself away, you can also install a blue light filter on your devices to prevent that disruptive hue from influencing your brain.

3. Mattresses and Pillows

When was the last time you replaced your pillows? What about your mattress? Lumpiness is a clear sign that these items are passed due. Replacements once a year for pillows and every five to seven years for mattresses are what is recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. A University of Oklahoma study found participants who replaced their mattress every five years experienced better quality sleep.

4. Too Hot or Too Cold

Like Goldilocks, when it comes to temperature, we need our sleeping environments to be not too hot, or too cold, but just right. Your body’s core temperature naturally lowers a little as you become drowsy. If the room temperature is drastically hotter or colder than what your body needs, you will probably experience a night of restless sleeping. Ideally, your thermostat should sit somewhere between 65 – 67 degrees fahrenheit.

5. Your Bedroom Is Painted the Wrong Color

According to a Travelodge study conducted in the UK, there are certain color schemes that are more beneficial for sleep, while others are more detrimental. Purple, brown, red and grey were singled out for their negative impact on sleep. Purple was described as a stimulant for the imagination, brown and grey were both criticized for being too gloomy and dreary, while red caused a rise in heartrate. If you have the option of redecorating, choose colors schemes in blues and greens, as respondents found those colors to be the most soothing and calming for sleep.

5. Light from Gadgets and Electronics

Lights from electronic clocks, your phone or any other gadgets you store in your bedroom can interrupt your sleep. In a dark room, even the smallest sources of light can be disruptive and distracting. This includes the blinking light from a phone notification or the steady red glow from a charging station. If you must keep these devices in your bedroom, be sure to power them down, keep them in a drawer or tape over the lights. As for the clock, skip the electronic models completely and choose a classic analog alarm clock instead. Or, at the very least get a clock with a green display as opposed to a red one, as red lights are much more disruptive to sleep.

As you can see, making just a few small adjustments to your sleep environment can put you well on the way to restful, better quality sleep. If you would like to learn more about optimizing your lifestyle for better sleep, check out the rest of our blog