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Countin’ Sheep: 6 Ways to Sleep Better at Night

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Jessica
07.20.13

A good night’s sleep can be irritatingly elusive. If the temperature isn't quite right, or the streetlight outside your window is a bit too bright, ZZZs can be hard to find, which leaves you blurry-eyed and exhausted the next day.

Don’t chalk it up to insomnia quite yet! It could be your bedroom. A few simple room tweaks can stop the tossing and turning once and for all. Here’s how:

1. Audit Your Mattress 

If your mattress is over ten years old, that’s probably your sleep-issue right there. After a decade, mattresses stop offering the support you need for a good night’s sleep. Mattress shopping can be so stressful it makes you lose sleep (get it?), so check out the BrightNest Mattress Buying Guide before you hit the store. Note: While we’re all for buying used items, mattresses should never be bought second-hand.  

2. Be Cool 

Your body will fall asleep faster in cooler air because when you go to sleep, your “set point” – the temperature your brain needs to reach before going to sleep – goes down. If your room is too hot, you’ll have a harder time reaching this point and falling asleep. To “get set” faster, turn your AC a few notches below normal in the bedroom. If that isn’t possible, consider buying a few fans or even a lighter comforter. Tip: If you don’t want to buy a new duvet, think of it like a mattress cushion and sleep on top of it with a light blanket.

3. Block the Light 

Light has a stimulating effect, and for good reason – the cave man inside of you associates light with morning, not with electricity. If possible, block all light from your bedroom. If outside lights are a problem, consider blackout shades and remove any lingering light in your room (computers, hallway cracks, etc.). If you can’t live without a nightlight, make sure the bulb is no higher than 7 watts and doesn’t shine directly on the bed.

4. Turn the Clock(s)

You have no lights shining, you say? Your room is completely dark, you say? Take a look at your clock. Is it bright? Clocks are one of the most disruptive items in our bedrooms but they’re often overlooked. If you can’t wake up without an alarm (it’s okay, we can’t either), turn the clock to face away from your bed. Bonus: You’ll stop counting the minutes, which stresses you out and causes even more insomnia-like behavior!

5. Ditch the Electronics 

Ok, so you’ve taken care of the lights during the night. But exposure to the artificial light from digital screens before you try to sleep stimulates brain activity, making it harder conk out. Consider keeping the TV out of your bedroom and limiting your computer use as bedtime approaches. We recommend giving yourself a full hour of electronics-free time before bed. Tip: If you can't pull yourself away from your electronics, considering downloading f.lux – a free app that automatically adjusts the brightness of your screen depending on the room you're in, and the time of day.

6. Get a Pet Bed

We know, you love your pets. A lot. Over half of dog owners let their pet share their bed, and 62 percent of cat owners do the same. While there aren’t any medical dangers to having your pet sleep with you, they can steal blankets, roll around and generally disrupt your sleep if they aren’t on the exact same schedule as you. Tip: If you’re a DIYer, check out this pet suitcase bed.  

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