Brain research has shown how relevant sleep is to health, so it’s more important than ever to get a good night’s sleep. In the bedroom, that means not just decorating in calming colors but also minimizing stressors and optimizing conditions for a restful night. We asked some experts for advice and products to achieve that.
A key obstacle to uninterrupted sleep is noise. To reduce it, Brooklyn-based architect and designer Adam Meshberg, founder of Meshberg Group, recommends soundproofing the walls — building an additional thin wall in front of the original, adding a layer of QuietRock sheetrock, or sealing any cracks or gaps within the walls. To a lesser extent, wallcoverings can also absorb sound, he says.
Cracks and gaps are also a problem when it comes to windows. Restoring or replacing drafty windows won’t just improve your heating and cooling bills; doing so can make a huge difference in the amount of noise seeping in. If renovation isn’t an option, some companies will install a thin window behind your existing window for extra soundproofing.
For a simpler fix, getting an upholstered headboard (or a bed that comes with one) helps with acoustics, says Florida-based designer Adriana Hoyos. Go for fabrics at least one millimeter thick; suede, velvet, leather and leatherette are stylish options for absorbing excess noise.
Andrew Bowen, director of staging at ASH NYC, suggests a combination of loose items — a large area rug , floor-to-ceiling window drapery and a fully upholstered bed — for a quiet, relaxing environment.
Alternatively, try white noise. A fan might do the trick, but Julien Baeza, assistant project manager at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles, suggests Spotify and soundscape machines.
Keep lights out
Lights out is essential to bedtime. In particular, avoid exposure to the blue light from LED bulbs and electronic devices, says Pablo Castillo, sleep medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic. “The body reacts to this artificial light as if it [were] still daytime,” he said in an email, “and the pineal gland will stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin, resulting in poor sleep quality.”
That’s why you should stay away from bright light for at least three hours before bedtime, reduce screen time, and set devices on night mode an hour or two before bed, plus use blue-light-blocking coating on screens or glasses if you “use computers and digital devices heavily,” Castillo wrote.
To lightproof the bedroom, “blackout window treatments are a must,” said Greg Roth, a designer at Home Front Build in Los Angeles, by email. “Installing a cornice box at the ceiling level can help prevent light from escaping upward from the windows and reflecting off the ceiling.”
Go soft and simple
Simplify your space for sleeping only. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a mansion or a studio, you can declutter for a calming effect, according to Meridith Baer, founder of staging company Meridith Baer Home.
A sleep-friendly bedroom is like a “good snuggle” — one that makes you “feel embraced and safe,” like a cocoon, Alex P. White, a furniture designer and decorator based in New York and Los Angeles, said in an email. So keep things “tonal and tactile with as many luxurious materials as your budget allows.”
As for decor, keep things light and uncomplicated, says New York designer Ryan Korban. He recommends using light-colored paints that are warm and not stark.