6 Ways to Turn Your Bedroom Into a Sleep Sanctuary

Fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer with these tips.

stylish bedroom

Medically reviewed in April 2022

Updated on April 8, 2022

Good sleep can help you feel energized, lower your risk of disease, improve concentration, and so much more. You probably know that establishing good sleep hygiene—including winding down before bed, avoiding caffeine, and taking a warm bath—can contribute to better ZZZs. But did you know that your bedroom setup is also important for a good night's rest?

From decor to temperature, here’s how to set up your bedroom to help you get those recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Choose relaxing colors
Did you know that your bedroom decor can have an impact on your sleep hygiene? Yes, your comforter, paint colors, and curtains can all help—or hurt—your shut-eye.

The Sleep Foundation says cool-tone colors like grays and blues may help you feel more relaxed, which is exactly the mindset you want to be in as you wind down each night. On the other hand, brighter, warmer shades may actually interfere with your sleep and keep you awake.

Changing your paint color is quite a feat, but it’s not the only way you can add a sense of calm to your bedroom. Try changing out your comforter, sheets, pillows, artwork, or blankets to muted shades of blues or grays.

Add lavender
Although the studies are limited, there is some indication that certain scents can help set the stage for better sleep. In one small study of 20 people, inhalation of lavender oil aroma lowered participants' heart rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature. 

While lavender is certainly not a cure-all for sleep problems like insomnia, it doesn’t hurt to add oils, room spray, diffusers, or sachets in your room. A scented candle may produce a lovely aroma during the day when you’re awake, but never leave candles lit overnight while you sleep.

Adjust the temperature
Being too hot or too cold can cause you to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

If your room is cool enough, it will be easier to fall asleep, since your body temperature naturally decreases so you can snooze. Try setting your thermostat somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. A cooler room will also help you stay asleep—specifically in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, or the stage of sleep that involves dreaming.

Make sure your bedroom is dark
It’s also recommended that you keep your bedroom free of bright lights, televisions, computers, tablets, or cell phones. Exposure to light while sleeping can stimulate your brain, interfering with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and even increasing your body temperature, both of which can keep you awake.

Make sure all your lights are turned off and use curtains (blackout curtains can help if you live in an area with excessive street light) or eye masks if necessary. If you need a night light, invest in a low-illumination light. Try to avoid watching television, playing electronic games, or using your phone 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime.

Change out your linens and mattresses regularly
It’s no surprise that a comfortable setup is going to help you sleep better, and that includes your bedding.

When it comes to your mattress, choose one that is supportive and feels good; you shouldn’t wake up with aches or pain. While there’s no set rule for when to change out your mattress, most last around eight years. If there are worn spots—or your position moves when your partner moves—it may be time to replace it. New smart mattress technology can monitor your temperature and track sleep quality, but these features often come at a much higher cost.

Replace pillows when they get lumpy, which tends to be after one to two years of use. It’s important to choose a pillow that feels comfortable to you.

Invest in a white noise machine
Noise can also affect your sleep in a negative way. When you hear sounds, your brain tries to process them, which can cause problems when you’re trying to fall asleep. Unexpected noises can also cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.

While noise affects everyone differently—some are more sensitive to it than others—it’s important to create a quiet environment for a good night’s sleep.

If you notice you’re having trouble with the noise in your room or home, try white noise machines or apps on your phone. White noise machines provide a constant sound, like running water or buzzing, that can block out disturbing outdoor sounds like traffic sirens. You can also achieve the same type of sound with an air purifier or fan.

Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Tracking your ZZZs using Sharecare, a free app for iOS and Android, can help you become aware of your sleep habits. Sharecare can automatically track your sleep or you can input the hours you sleep manually. Using this information, you can work on establishing a sleep schedule and environment that works for you.

Article sources open article sources

Eric Suni. How to Design the Ideal Bedroom for Sleep. Sleep Foundation. October 23, 2020.
Elliot AJ, Aarts H. Perception of the color red enhances the force and velocity of motor output. Emotion. April 11, 2011.
National Sleep Foundation. What your bedroom paint colors have to do with sleep quality. Accessed June 29, 2020.
Hiroki Noguchi, Toshihiko Sakaguchi. Effect of Illuminance and Color Temperature on Lowering of Physiological Activity. Applied Human Science. April 12, 2000.
National Sleep Foundation. How Technology Can Help You Sleep Better. November 1, 2020.
Sayorwan W, Siripornpanich V, Piriyapunyaporn T, Hongratanaworakit T, Kotchabhakdi N, Ruangrungsi N. The effects of lavender oil inhalation on emotional states, autonomic nervous system, and brain electrical activity. J Med Assoc Thai. April 2012.
Eric Suni. How Smell Affects Your Sleep. Sleep Foundation. October 23, 2020.
Renee Prince. What is the Best Temperature for Sleep? Sleep.org. March 21, 2021.
National Sleep Foundation. How to Make a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom. November 10, 2020.
Eric Suni. Technology in the Bedroom. Sleep Foundation. June 24, 2021.
National Sleep Foundation. How Electronics Can Alter Your Sleep. May 14, 2021.
Danielle Pacheco. The Bedroom Environment. Sleep Foundation. October 16, 2020.
National Sleep Foundation. Four Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep. May 13, 2021.

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