Apr 06, 2017

That saying, "I'll sleep when I'm dead" doesn't strike a chord with me.

I love sleep. I love the feeling of being rested. I love the way I look after getting good rest. I love how my brain and body function after rest.

Anyone who knows me well also knows not to mess with my sleep (or me when I'm sleeping). The results are never good, not even for my dog Cody.

Getting a full good nights sleep has always been important to me and I embrace simple design tricks that help me sleep well.

Some I've picked up during my years of diving into ayurveda and yoga, some come from my design training and some come from personal experience.

I want to share them with you because, well, you know what you feel like and how you operate when you don't get enough sleep, right?

Getting a good nights sleep is incredibly important. Whether you're a mom, a small business owner, a teacher, an artist or a designer, sleep matters.

“The irony is that a lot of people forego sleep in the name of productivity,” Arianna Huffington points out. “But in fact our productivity is reduced substantially when we’re sleep deprived.”

Research also shows our cognitive functions are impaired, so we are more likely to overreact. Our emotional intelligence is degraded, so we are more likely to be irritable–and there’s even research connecting sleep deprivation to mental health problems and depression.

“Yet the myth persists that we can do our jobs just as well on four or five or six hours of sleep as we can on seven or eight,” Arianna stresses, calling it a modern delusion.

The benefits of sleep are just too good to ignore. So, if there's a few small design tricks I can share to help you make your bedroom a better sanctuary for rest, I want to give those to you now.

  1. Eliminate clutter. At the least, get it out of the bedroom. Set aside 10 minutes before bed as part of a wind-down routine to tidy your room. A clutter-free space will help your mind relax.
  2. Dim the lights. Create a quick evening routine out of turning off the general lighting in your room and turning on accent lights like table or floor lamps to create a night time ambiance that will help you begin to relax and get into sleep mode an hour or two before you head to bed.
  3. Minimize the amount of light from tech. The appleTV, the cell phone, the stereo, the chargers, the wifi...all those little lights add up to room that isn't dark enough for good sleep. Try to get rid of or disguise as many lights that shine in the darkness as possible. 
  4. Install blackout draperies. Sleeping in darkness helps produce the naturally occurring hormone, melatonin, in our body. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant hormone that is useful in preventing cancer and other conditions in the body. Any light exposure such as a small amount of light that filters in through the curtains and hits your skin can interrupt the hormone production, causing a decrease in melatonin levels.
  5. Add plants. Any element of nature creates a sense of ease for your nervous system.
  6. Get the temperature right. We get our best sleep when the temperature ranges from 65-70 degrees fahrenheit.
  7. Create symmentry in the design. Symmentry helps our nervous system relax, so use matching nightstands, table lamps, etc to help calm yourself down from the inside out.
  8. Stay hydrated. Pour yourself a glass of water to keep by your bedside at night. 
  9. Stay away from loud colors and energizing artwork. You don't have to go with all neutrals and images of water, but be intentional about choosing colors and artwork that helps you feel relaxed.

Like I said, these design tools are really simple. Adopting just one of these tools can help you get a better nights sleep. And don’t be surprised if you begin to view mornings in a new light.

In the comments below, let me know which tool you're going to try OR what you're already doing that really works.

Every week design lovers come here for ideas and inspiration, and your input may help someone else.

Thank you for adding your love and your voice, and for making this little blog a meaningful place to land on the Internet.

If you have friends, clients or colleagues who struggle with getting a good nights rest, please share this post.

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