We all know that getting enough sleep plays a vital role in maintaining our mental and physical health and wellbeing; how amazing did you feel the last time you had an uninterrupted night of deep, relaxing slumber?! Unfortunately, in a world where busy lifestyles and responsibilities at work and home take their toll, sleep can be in short supply. With this in mind we like to focus on the quality of sleep for our clients and look for ways to design rooms to maximize sleep potential.
There are many reasons why your bedroom may not be optimally designed for a good nights sleep and interruptions in the sleep cycle can be one of the major contributory factors for feeling groggy or tired in the mornings. A few of the things that can cause disruptions to sleep are light, air quality, noise, radiation-emitting devices and comfort.
Below are 9 great home design solutions that we recommend to dramatically reduce these problems and improve the quality of your sleep every night:
1) Circadian Lighting
This automated lighting system is designed to tap into and stabilize your internal body clock. Our natural bodily rhythms are evolutionarily hard-wired to be governed by the changing light of the sun from daylight through to bright midday sun, dusk and darkness. Circadian lighting aims to mirror the ‘color temperature’ changes to sunlight within your home throughout the day, therefore supporting your natural wake-sleep cycle.
Circadian lighting is tailored specifically to maximize human functionality and by improving your sleep quality it can make you feel more energized, improve mood, cognitive processing speed, concentration, memory and behavior and can reduce hyperactivity, cardiovascular disease, obesity and night walking.
People with careers that involve antisocial working patterns and changes in time zones, such as pilots can particularly benefit from this lighting system.
2) Energy Lighting
Energy lighting can be used for 30 minutes after waking up; this cool, bright lighting will help energize the body and reset the internal clock the same way natural sunlight would do at dawn. This is very practical lighting to have in the bathroom when you’re preparing for the day ahead.
3) Evening and Night Lighting
To mimic the sunset, a warm and dim evening light setting allows for natural relaxation before sleep as we wind down during the evening and an amber night-light for night waking won’t disrupt the sleep cycle.
4) Motion Sensor
Artificial light in the middle of the night can greatly disrupt the production of melatonin and should be avoided if at all possible. A great solution is a low level night-light activated by a motion sensor placed near the foot of the bed for nighttime visits to the bathroom so that your waking cycle is not fully activated.
5) 100% Black out Window Covering
Sunlight seeping from behind or through window blinds in the early morning can trigger your body clock to wake you from sleep too early. Complete blackout curtains or blinds for window coverings will ensure total darkness until you’re ready to start the day. These can be supplemented with a layer of sheer curtains or blinds beneath to provide privacy during the day while letting natural daylight into the home. Blackout curtains and blinds can be manual or automated.
6) EMF Adapter
Sleeping next to radiation-emitting devices can be a major reason of sleeping problems; these can include mobile phones, laptops, wireless gadgets and appliances. EMF adaptors can help with your sleep patterns by neutralizing harmful EMF radiation while also protecting you and your family from electromagnetic health risks ranging from sleeplessness to cancer.
7) Healthy Mattress & Bedding
Choosing the right mattress and bedding is of course the most obvious aid to a good nights sleep; a comfortable bed with fresh linen is one of life’s luxuries! An eco-friendly self-support mattress made from natural raw materials, organic cotton and hemp will reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. Used with 300-thread count 100% organic cotton sateen bed linen this combination will help regulate your temperature during sleep while minimizing allergens.
8) Acoustic Design
Noise pollution from within your own home (family members, dogs etc!), nearby streets or air traffic can easily interrupt your sleep cycle. Thankfully there are lots of quiet design strategies that can be used when designing bedrooms to minimize this noise. Double or triple glazing windows can reduce outdoor noise by 50-90% as well as insulate for heating and cooling.
Soft surfaces absorb sound rather than reflecting it, deadening noise so vinyl or fabric wall coverings, padded bed heads and wall panels, large thick area rugs, artwork and other soft furnishings such as cushions and bedding are all great for softening noise.
Sound insulation of doors, either by selecting solid doors or insulating the inside of hollow doors helps to reduce unwanted noise along with rubber air strips around all four sides of the door.
9) Air Quality and Fresh Air Intake
Greater exposure to pollutants in the air you breathe is linked to low sleep efficiency so improving air quality within your home is a high priority for improving your sleep.
A sufficient amount of fresh air needs to be maintained when using split type air conditioners, which only recycle the same stale air throughout your home; opening a window can help but this lets in sound and dust. Ventilation using a duct system that has an integrated fresh air supply is a better option. Even better is the third and healthiest option, which is to add purified fresh air; this can be done with a stand alone air purifier. However for best results air purification systems can be retrofitted and integrated into your building that will purify the outdoor fresh air before it enters the mechanical systems or separate fresh air ducts.
Wellness and health is always at the centre of our design work and we aim to improve wellbeing throughout the design process in every room of the home. Great sleep comes pretty high up on any priority list and we are delighted to have had clients who have seen a marked improvement in their sleep patterns following the implementation of our design solutions.
How many of the nine solutions do you have issues with in your bedroom? We hope that sharing these recommendations has helped you identify some areas that you can improve in your own home and, of course, we wish you a great nights sleep!