The Importance of Your Sleep Environment

Temperature, lighting, noise, and other factors may aid sleep.

“It is estimated that one-third of our lives will be spent asleep, and yet we know very little about the state. We tend to treat sleep as a luxury rather than a true biological need, like eating and drinking.” – Dr. Piotr Wozniak.

Your bedroom should be used for sleep. Your room’s environment should work with your body to promote quality sleep. Consider these six ways to optimize your bedroom for sleep, including factors such as clutter, mattress and pillow selection, bed sheets and sleepwear, temperature, light, and noise.

A Restful Bedroom To Invite Sleep - Visual Design

A beautiful relaxing restful bedroom for better sleep.

  • Use your bedroom only for sleep (no TV or computer in bed). The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you should not watch TV in the hour before going to bed since it can lead to difficulty falling asleep later on.
  • Keep work materials out of the bedroom (no cell phone or tablet in bed). Whether it is for work or personal use, try to keep all electronics out of your bedroom. Not only do they emit blue light that can disrupt sleep, but their constant use can also be stimulating and prevent you from falling asleep.
  • Eliminate clutter in the bedroom. Clutter can cause stress and make it difficult to relax in your bedroom. Try to keep only essential items in your bedroom and donate or discard anything else.
  • Keep a clean bedroom. Dust regularly and vacuum once a week. You can also use an air purifier to help keep the air clean of allergens and other particles that may affect your sleep quality.
  • Make your bedroom attractive and comfortable. This is an excellent opportunity to incorporate your personality into your bedroom. Avoid dark colors and choose light colors or pastels instead. Consider adding some plants or flowers to improve air quality and decorate with calming objects such as a water feature or wind chimes.
  • Have a bedtime routine to wind down before bed. A study from South Carolina State University found that participants who had some kind of non-stimulating activity before bed, such as reading or doing relaxation exercises, slept about 20 minutes longer than those who did not have one. This is because pre-bedtime activities reduce stress and therefore promote better, deeper sleep later on in the night.
  • Keep your pets out of your bedroom. Pets like cats and dogs can sometimes disturb your sleep by jumping on the bed, whining, or barking. Consider keeping them out of the bedroom or training them not to get onto the bed while you’re sleeping.

Practical Design to Promote Sleep

Mattresses and Pillows

With roughly one-third of your life spent sleeping, investing in a good quality comfortable mattress is wise. Depending on your budget, there are many mattress options available. We strongly recommend visiting a local mattress store and laying on some different styles of mattresses to get an idea of the firmness and features you prefer. Even if you aren’t ready to purchase, a visit to “try out” different mattresses is an excellent first step to choosing your ideal mattress.

Bare mattress and pillows are good quality for better sleep.

  • A good quality mattress will provide support and comfort while you sleep. This will help reduce back pain and other discomforts that can disrupt your sleep.
  • Replace your old mattress every 7-10 years (or sooner if needed). An old, uncomfortable mattress will not only affect your sleep quality but may also cause health problems in the long run. The National Sleep Foundation conducted a study that found people who changed their mattresses every seven years or more reported better sleep quality than those who did not. Your mattress should conform to your body shape, provide adequate support and be neither too soft nor too hard.
  • Use a supportive pillow that is right for you. The type of pillow you select will largely be determined by your preferred sleeping position. A pillow that is too high or too flat can cause discomfort and make it harder to sleep well during the night. It is important to find a comfortable level of support for the head, neck, and shoulders when lying down in order to relax your body at bedtime.
  • Do not use too many pillows at once or use hard, bulky pillows that are uncomfortable to sleep with. If you need more support for your head and neck during sleep, consider purchasing a memory foam pillow or contour pillow designed for side sleepers. These types of pillows support the neck and spine naturally while maintaining proper head and neck alignment with your mattress surface.
  • When sleeping on your side, use a thin pillow between your knees to reduce lower back pain and regulate spine curvature. Some types of thin knee cushions exist specifically for this purpose – these may be a good option for those who sleep on their sides and have lower back problems.

Bed Linens and Sleepwear

Use comfortable sheets and pillowcases. Soft natural fabrics such as cotton or silk are best for sheets and pillowcases.

Good quality sheets and bed linens for a better nights sleep.

  • Invest in good bedding that makes you feel comfortable. Bed sheets absorb heat, so it’s important to choose sheets that are breathable and will not retain heat. Cotton is a good fabric for this because it wicks away moisture rather than absorb it as polyester or poly-cotton blends do.
  • Change your blanket with the seasons. During warmer months, use a lightweight blanket and a heavyweight blanket during winter. If you live in a hot climate, consider using a thin cotton sheet and a light blanket instead of a heavy one.
  • Consider buying high thread count sheets. These sheets are good for summer because of their breathability.
  • Make sure that you change your sheets regularly. Change them once a week if possible and wash them at least once a week in hot water.
  • Keep a spare blanket nearby if needed in case you get cold. If your bedroom tends to be chilly or drafty, keep a lightweight fleece blanket or extra comforter nearby so that you can pull it over yourself if needed during the night. You could also use this as an additional layer under your sheet to stay warm as well.
  • Choose sleepwear made of natural fibers. Clothes that are made of natural fibers such as cotton, wool, or silk are better for sleep than those made of synthetic materials. Natural fibers allow your skin to breathe and can help keep you cooler or warmer at night, depending on the weather conditions.
  • Wear comfortable pajamas during the night. You may want to wear lighter clothes when sleeping to allow for better ventilation. Make sure your pajamas are not too loose, but neither too tight. Tight clothing makes you uncomfortable, disturbing your sleep cycle by making it challenging to enter deep sleep because of restricted blood flow. On the other hand, loose clothes prevent air circulation around your body, so you wake up feeling hot and sweaty.


  • Adjust your bedroom’s temperature. Most people sleep best in a room that is cool – between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. You may want to adjust the thermostat before going to bed or use a fan to create a cooling breeze.
  • The National Sleep Foundation conducted a study and found that people who slept in a cool room slept better than those who had a warmer room temperature. When your body is cooler, it releases more melatonin, which is the hormone that makes you sleepy. Sleeping in a too-warm room can cause restless sleep and night sweats. If you live in a warm climate or cannot keep your room cool, consider using a fan or an air conditioner.
  • Keep your room at a comfortable temperature for you. If you tend to be cold at night, use extra blankets and keep the thermostat low. However, if you tend to overheat, open the windows or use fans to cool yourself down so that you do not wake up hot and sweaty in the middle of the night. You can also use light-filtering curtains to block out sunlight – this will help lower your room temperature since the sunlight heats up the air naturally inside your room.
  • Consider using an electric blanket if you are cold at night. Electric blankets work by heating your body from the outside, which can help warm you up and enable you to sleep more comfortably.


  • Keep your bedroom dark and free from lights at night. If you have a lot of outside lights nearby, use curtains to block out the light so that you can sleep better at night. Also, complete any tasks during the day so that you do not have to do them in your bedroom once it is time for bed. Finally, try not to keep TVs or computers in your room – this could stimulate you and make it harder for you to fall asleep quicklyBedroom with blackout curtains on the windows.
  • Don’t expose yourself to harsh indoor lighting (such as bright lamps) before sleeping; this will stimulate you and make it harder for you to fall asleep. Also, avoid exposure to bright lights in the middle of the night (even if it is from a streetlight).
  • Buy blackout curtains, or make your own. Keep the room as dark as possible by covering any windows with these. Blackout curtains block all light and are made of thicker material compared to regular curtains. This prevents sunlight from waking you up in the morning or light creeping into your window at night that may prevent you from sleeping.


  • Keep your bedroom quiet. If possible, try to keep your room away from noisy appliances such as a refrigerator or washing machine.
  • Remove ambient noise as much as possible before going to bed. For instance, turn off noisy electronics such as computers, TVs, and appliances when you’re ready for bed. If you live in a noisy neighborhood or your partner snores, consider using a noise machine or earplugs to help block out external sound disturbances.
  • Play calm and relaxing sounds before sleeping to encourage relaxation. For example, some people find that listening to classical, nature, or spa-type sounds can help them drift off to sleep more easily. You may also want to try using an aromatherapy diffuser near your bed to fill the room with calming scents such as lavender, chamomile, or jasmine before going to sleep.
  • You can also minimize noise by using earplugs, a white noise machine, or a fan. Loud noises can startle you and prevent you from entering deep sleep.