As we get older, sleep naturally changes. Older adults tend to have more difficulty falling asleep, and spend less time in deep sleep. Although some of these changes can be attributed to chronic disease, anxiety, medication, or other issues common among seniors, even healthy people can have trouble sleeping as the years go by.
If you’ve ruled out any medical issues that may be underlying your sleep issues, or you simply want to do everything you can to get enough rest, changing your bedroom decor may be part of the solution. Creating a space that’s relaxing and conducive to sleep and rest can go a long way toward helping you fall asleep sooner, stay asleep longer, and get more restful sleep. It doesn’t have to be a major overhaul either. Just a few small tweaks to your bedroom’s decoration can make a big difference.
Clear the Clutter
How do you feel when you are in a cluttered, messy room? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t feel all that comfortable or relaxed. If you suspect this could be disrupting your sleep, you’re right. A 2015 study found that people who sleep in cluttered rooms are more likely to have trouble falling asleep and are more likely to wake up in the night.
The first step to improving your sleep then, is to clear the clutter to support a more restful and calming environment. Put away clothing, keep accessories and decorative accents to a minimum, and keep your night table clear. Give everything a place, and put everything away when it’s not being used.
The colors you use to decorate your room can have an effect on your mood and how well you sleep. Conventional wisdom says that neutral colors and shades of blue and green are the most restful and relaxing, but deeper shades of red and yellow can create a cozy and inviting space that helps improve sleep for seniors.
If you prefer bright and energizing colors, you don’t have to sacrifice them in the name of better sleep. Add pops of color through bedding or accessories, or paint an accent wall in your favorite shade, to add interest to a more neutral space.
Choose Bedding Carefully
When it comes to bedding, choose materials and textures that help you sleep. If you have a tendency to sleep hot, for instance, opt for sheets made from cooling fabrics like linen, bamboo, or Egyptian cotton in a shade or pattern that matches your decor. If you get cold, warm flannel or plush fleece sheets will help you maintain the perfect temperature. Invest in the best quality bedding you can, with matching comforter and duvet, bed skirt, and shams for a cohesive and stylish look and a better night of sleep.
Use The Right Light
Darkness is an important part of getting a good night’s sleep. Even small amounts of light from a street light or headlights passing on the street outside your window can disturb your rest, so dress your windows to help you get better sleep. Blackout curtains can help your room stay dark without sacrificing style.
Blocking light from outside can help you sleep better, but you need to consider light in your room as well. Look around your room to find sources of light -- alarm clocks, cable boxes, other electronics -- and place them strategically so the light doesn’t disturb your sleep. Instead of using bright overhead lights while you get ready for bed, use smaller table lamps or install dimmers.
Better yet, invest in a bedside lamp that can be programmed to automatically dim at bedtime to help you gently fall asleep -- and gradually fill the room with light in the morning to gently awaken you. Keep in mind that you’re more likely to wake in the night to use the bathroom as you age, so have a small lamp, motion detecting nightlight, or flashlight nearby so you can see in the night and prevent falls.
Add Natural Elements
When adding decorative elements to your bedroom, think natural and meaningful. Plants and fresh flowers, for instance, add color and texture to your room while also helping to add more oxygen and remove toxins from the air, which can support sleep. As far as decorative elements, keep them to a minimum, but make them meaningful. Photographs of favorite places or beloved family members can help you relax and drift off to sleep with happy memories and good feelings.
Finally, when planning your bedroom decor, consider safety. As mentioned, a small light at your bedside can help prevent falls, but you should also be sure to have an unobstructed path through the room. If you use area or throw rugs, secure them with a rug pad or tape to keep them from slipping. Consider adding a bedside pocket organizer that you can tuck under the mattress to store your book, remote, or glasses safely and keep the bedside table clear.
Look at your bedroom with a critical eye, and decorate with safety, comfort, and convenience in mind.
About the Author:
Carolyn is a writer and editor who makes sure to take naps any time she's alone in the house. She loves horror movies and musicals and any combination of the two.
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