If you're not getting the quality shut-eye you crave, it may be time to rethink your bedroom environment. A lack of sleep can lead to more than just sluggishness and under-eye circles; research shows that it can weaken the immune system, cause weight gain, and impede overall health, not to mention shorten your life span. While you can't build more hours into your day, you can tinker with your bedroom environment to improve your chances of getting a restful night's sleep. Here are a number of ways to do that.
1_INSTALL A CEILING FAN
Ceiling fans act like a lullaby, whispering white noise while creating a gentle breeze to keep your body cool. And, since they're cheaper to operate than an air conditioner, you won't lie awake fretting over your electric bills. Allergy sufferers should look for a model whose blades are coated with nanoparticles to prevent dust buildup, such as those from The Hunter Fan Company. From $119
Get step-by-step instructions at How to Install a Ceiling Fan.
2_ REPAINT IN SOOTHING COLORS
Tuscan yellow may be the perfect hue to brighten a dark entryway, but it's not ideal for a restful night's sleep. A better choice? A calming shade in a cool-color family like blue, green, or purple. To prevent that fresh-paint scent from keeping you alert, choose a low- or zero-VOC paint, such as Benjamin Moore's Natura, Sherwin-Williams's Harmony, and The Freshaire Choice. From $35 per gallon
Here's How to Paint a Room with professional results.
3_USE A READING LAMP
Does your partner prefer to read in order to fall asleep, while you'd rather kill the lights and turn in immediately? Look for a lamp with a telescoping neck, like Levenger's Midnight Reader, that will shine the light directly on your bedmate's book rather than in your eyes.
4_ RECONSIDER YOUR ALARM CLOCK
Waking up rested isn't just about the number of hours your head meets the pillow-it's also about how you're awakened. An alarm clock that smoothes the transition from slumber to wakefulness, rather than jarring you awake, will help you start the day feeling fresh. The best bet is something that will ease you into the day, like Hammacher Schlemmer's Peaceful Progression Wake Up Clock, which ever so gradually increases light, aromatherapy scents, and one of six nature sounds. Waking up for work never felt so good.
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5_USE AN AIR PURIFIER
Dust, pollen, and pet dander trigger allergic reactions that cause sinus and asthma problems and disrupt a good night's sleep. Among the many air purifiers available, Honeywell's HFD-120Q uses HEPAQuiet technology to capture those common airborne allergens, and it comes with an easy-clean permanent filter.
RELATED: 72 Steps to a Healthier Home
MORE: See more ways you can Outfit Your Bedroom for a Better Night's Sleep at thisoldhouse.com