Sleep disorders affect between 50 and 70 million Americans every year, says the National Sleep Foundation, and they range in severity from simple snoring to sleep apnea to night terrors.
But before you make an appointment with a specialist for relief from your own insomnia, take a look around your space. If your bedroom wasn't designed with sleep specifically in mind, these easy fixes could make it much better for resting.
Change the Wall Color
It's a simple fact -- some bedroom colors are more calming than others. According to Psychology Today, colors can calm, sooth, envelop or cocoon you. They can also make you feel anxious and restless. In fact, some scientists believe the wrong wall color can actually raise your blood pressure, increase your metabolism or strain your eyes. If the four walls that make up your sanctuary are covered in the wrong colors, good luck getting to sleep.
To create a room that's serene, cozy and conducive to rest, use a little color psychology when choosing paint:
- Blue -- Calm, serene, non-threatening, orderly.
- Green -- Refreshing, renewing, tranquil, relaxing.
- Brown -- Warm, secure, safe, natural
Colors to avoid when designing a sleep space include yellow, which can boost irritability and anger, and red, which is often associated with excitement, energy and strong emotion.
Do you live next to a busy street, intersection or freeway? Is there a family of cloggers living above you and river-dancers on either side? It could be that your sleeping space is simply too noisy. You can't change out your neighbors, but you can add a little sound-proofing that looks nice and deadens sound.
- Textiles -- Wall art, such as quilts or tapestries, will help absorb noise before it reaches your ears. Heavy draperies help in much the same way, so do specially designed acoustic panels.
- Flooring -- Experts agree, cork and concrete are the two best flooring options if you want to deaden the noise from downstairs.
- Doors and Windows -- Adding caulk to old, aged windows can help reduce noise from outside, so can switching out single-pane glass for double- or triple-pane versions. Invest in a solid-wood door instead of one that's hollow.
Adjust the Temperature
Most people sleep best when the room temperature is just right. The standard is between 65 and 72 degrees, but in reality, you should experiment with the thermostat until you find the temperature that allows you sleep through the night uninterrupted. You might also consider the addition of a simple box fan or air window unit that could serve two purposes -- lowering the temperature in the room and adding white noise to help drown outside chaos.
Block Out Unwanted Light
Bedroom lighting is a biggie when it comes to comfortable sleep. Blazing sunlight that begins beating through your windows at dawn can make it difficult to sleep, especially for someone who's working the night shift. Then again, if you're someone who likes a little light at night, a room that's dark as pitch could contribute to anxiety. If you think the light levels in your sleep space could be a culprit, they're easy fixes:
- Put your bedroom lighting on a dimmer switch.
- Invest in black-out drapes.
- Add sources of cozy, ambient lighting, such as lamps, that are low to the floor to create a calming mood.
- Turn off all television, tablet and computer screens before turning in.
For those for whom sleep doesn't come softly, these easy fixes in bedroom decor can make each morning better and brighter than the one before.