According to the CDC, “about 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems.” From stress and illness to working late on our computers, there are a number of factors that contribute to poor sleep. Unfortunately, exhaustion is not the only result of poor sleep. Lack of quality sleep can contribute to “injuries, chronic diseases, mental illnesses…increased health care costs, and lost work productivity.” Everything from blue light exposure to fragrance can impact sleep quality. One of the easiest ways to improve sleep is to make your primary suite more soothing and serene. In this post, we explain how to create a truly comfortable primary suite to improve relaxation, sleep and recuperation. By drawing inspiration from nature, controlling light levels and picking the right color palette, you can transform your primary suite into a retreat.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep: 10 Ways to Transform Your Bedroom
#1 Draw Inspiration from Nature
First on our list of ways to make your primary suite more relaxing is to draw inspiration from nature. Studies have shown that houseplants, earth tones and images of nature can all improve mood and positively impact sleep quality. Referencing a recent study conducted by researchers from Beihang University, in an article for Healthline, Elizabeth Harris explains.
According to the study, "just 15 minutes of interaction with green plants may help reduce cortisol (stress hormone) concentrations." Interacting with plants before bed can also "reduce sleep latency" and "improve sleep integrity" by preventing you from waking up throughout the night. As we will explain in greater detail below, the scents from certain plants can also boost sleep quality. Given this, one way to change your primary suite to improve sleep is to add a few houseplants!
#2 Hide Electronics and Work-Related Materials
Next on our list of ways to create a relaxing primary suite is to hide electronics and work-related materials. Putting away electronics before bed is especially important because many emit blue light. In a 2017 study published in the journal Global Pediatric Health, researchers examined the impact of blue light on sleep. They found a connection between "increased technology use at bedtime with decreased sleep quantity and quality."
Other studies have shown that exposure to blue light from devices like tablets, cellphones and laptops blocks the timely release of melatonin. This prevents you from falling asleep, staying asleep and having restful sleep. Exposure to blue light before bed instead of just during the day can have a profound impact on our bodies’ circadian rhythm.
Separating yourself from work materials is also important for quality sleep. Finding ways to disassociate your primary suite from your job can be incredibly difficult -- especially if you work from home. However, creating this separation is vital to getting a good night's sleep. If you work from your bedroom, consider purchasing a hutch or secretary desk. Desks like these have a roll-down top that hides work materials when the day is done.
#3 Layer Window Treatments
Not only does layering window treatments have a more luxe look than blinds or curtains alone. It also provides more privacy and protection from light pollution. Try blackout curtains in the bedroom to help provide a consistently dark space. Once oppressive and unattractive, there are now dozens of beautiful varieties of blackout curtains, shades and drapes. For your primary bath, consider lighter-weight window treatments that allow natural light to filter in without compromising privacy.
#4 Make Sure All Lights Are Dimmable
Curtains, blinds and shades can only do so much to control the light in your primary suite. Dimmable lights can help establish an atmosphere and create a mood. They can also provide the perfect amount of light by which to read without disrupting the quality of your sleep. Layer table lamps, overhead lighting and wall sconces for full effect.
#5 Turn Your Bed Into a Feature Wall or Focal Point
Making your bed the focus of your primary suite might not help you sleep better, but it will elevate your bedroom's aesthetic. If you want your bedroom to feel like a high-end hotel, follow advice from stylist and interior designer Emily Henderson. In a blog post for Style by Emily Henderson, Mallory Wackerman suggests an interesting shape or material.
Consider a headboard with organic shapes or vertical wooden paneling behind the bed. The headboard featured here was made of reclaimed wood for our client for whom we completed a whole remodel on their Camano Island home. Do something similar in the primary bathroom. Choose a bold tile for the shower walls or place all attention on a statement-making freestanding tub.
#6 Eliminate Clutter
Studies have shown that clutter can have adverse effects on memory, cognition, sleep and other important functions. Clutter can increase feelings of stress and anxiety -- worsening one's mental and physical health over time. A cluttered space also attracts and retains dust, which can also interfere with quality sleep.
To improve sleep, try minimizing clutter in your bedroom and bathroom. For storage solutions in a small space, seek help from a remodeler or interior designer.
#7 Consider Custom Built-Ins for a More Seamless Look
Built-ins are a great option for primary suites because they help eliminate clutter, provide lots of extra storage and add a luxe, customized look. By streamlining your primary suite with built-in storage, you cut out distractions and create a more seamless space. For an elegant and restful primary suite, built-ins can be far better than freestanding furniture.
#8 Embrace Aromas
Scent can have a profound impact on our psychology. Some scents energize, while others relax. Given this, the right fragrance could help you create a more relaxing primary suite.
Experts typically recommend lavender, clary sage, chamomile, frankincense, cedar, rose and bergamot. Ylang ylang is also popular. In her article “The Best Essential Oils for Sleep, According to Science” for Who What Wear, Amanda Montell elaborates.
Montell writes that ylang ylang can limit "'your autonomic nervous system's response.'" It can also "'help lower blood pressure and pulse rate as well as the stress index.'"
Studies have shown that solutions combining ylang ylang, bergamot and lavender are particularly effective at improving sleep quality. Lavender has actually been used to treat insomnia and improve sleep quality after injury and during illness.
#9 Choose Furniture that Fits the Space
As mentioned above, eliminating clutter is key to creating a relaxing primary suite. Not only does eliminating clutter remove distractions, but it also makes the space feel larger. To make your primary bedroom feel even more spacious, make sure to choose furniture that fits.
According to Eric Suni in an article for The Sleep Foundation, the scale of your bedroom furniture should not overwhelm the space. Suni writes that "no matter how much square footage you have to work with, you want to avoid a cramped feeling in your bedroom." He suggests choosing a bed that "fits the space without being too snug," ensuring you have enough area to comfortably move around the room.
The same goes for your primary bathroom. Avoid large-scale furniture -- or too many pieces of furniture -- that overwhelms the space and makes it feel cluttered.
#10 Pick a Soothing Color Palette for Both Bedroom and Bathroom
Last on our list of ways to transform a primary suite is to pick a soothing color palette for both bedroom and bathroom. Cool tones like green and blue are most popular because they have a calming effect. Red, orange and bright yellow are less popular in primary suites because they have an energizing effect.
In her article “How To Design Your Bedroom For A Better Night's Sleep” for Forbes, Amanda Lauren explains. Quoting Registered Nurse and certified Clinical Sleep Educator Terry Cralle, RN, Lauren writes that "'cool colors lower blood pressure and heart rate.'" Dark colors and matte finishes are also preferable.
Transform Your Bedroom With VanderBeken Remodel
Are you hoping to transform your primary suite into a retreat for relaxation and quality sleep? If you live in the Snohomish area of Washington State, reach out to the team at VanderBeken Remodel. For more inspiration, check out our portfolio of recent projects here.