Whether you realize it or not, you spend a lot of time in your bedroom. In fact, research shows that the average person spends about one-third of their life sleeping or at least trying to sleep (1). If you’re having problems with insomnia, your sleep space could be to blame.
Turning your bedroom green can help you get comfortable and improve your sleep while also being mindful of the environment. Waking up refreshed in a clean and sustainable room is the best way to start your day. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Is Your Bedroom Keeping You Awake?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, about one out of every three people have at least a mild form of insomnia (2). If you suffer from sleep problems, you know how important sleep is for your health. Research shows that chronic sleep loss increases your risk of the following conditions (3):
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes or impaired blood glucose intolerance
- Mood disorders
- Alcohol use
- Changes in appetite or food cravings
- Heart attacks
- Increased age-specific mortality
Sleep loss also makes you more dangerous on the road and less alert during the day. You may become unable to make simple decisions, and you’re more likely to overreact to situations that you normally wouldn’t. It doesn’t take long before sleep loss starts to affect you. Losing only a few hours each week will do the trick. One study found that sleeping for less than six hours a night for one week altered 711 genes in the body (4). Another study found that losing an hour of sleep at night disrupts your immune system and makes you more likely to fall ill (5).
The average healthy adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. It’s well worth your time to invest in a bedroom that allows you to achieve these numbers. If you’ve tried everything in your power to improve your sleep, then your room might be to blame. Here are some sneaky ways your bedroom could be keeping you awake:
Your room isn’t clean enough.
No one wants to think about sleeping in a dirty environment, but your bedroom could be a haven for allergens that keep you awake. Sleeping with pets or opening your windows at night could be the reason why you’re sniffling and sneezing.
Your mattress and sheets aren’t comfortable.
If you’ve had the same mattress and sheets for years, it could be time to replace them. According to a 2009 study, most people are sleeping on a bedding system that is about 9.5 years old. Results of the survey found that individuals who upgraded their bedding system alleviated their back pain and improved their quality of sleep. They also reduced their stress levels (6).
You associate your bedroom with activities other than sleep.
Bringing electronics into your room or watching TV in bed at night could be keeping you awake. First, the light transmitted from digital devices tells your brain not to produce a hormone needed to make you feel sleepy called melatonin. It also makes you associate your bedroom with entertainment or work and not sleep. If you bring your laptop into your room at night to answer a few emails before bed, your sleep could be suffering.
Tips For Turning Your Bedroom Green
Turning your bedroom green is a good way to make your sleep environment more conducive to rest. If you’re going to give your bedroom an upgrade anyway, keep it sustainable by using these tips:
Get rid of allergens with green products.
Reduce allergies by cleaning your bedroom with safe, natural products. Invest in an air purifier that removes toxins such as smoke and VOCs to help you breathe better. You can treat your carpet with eco-friendly shampoos. Polish wood floors with chemical-free products. Wash your sheets with phosphate-free laundry detergents to prevent skin irritation. You can also use green products to dust windows or blind treatments, on top of fans or dressers, and in any sneaky areas where allergens may be present. Finally, wash your pets with green products to reduce the amount of allergens they bring into the room.
Rebuild your bedroom with sustainable products.
If you’ve had your bedroom set for a long time, it’s time for an upgrade. Do it right by using sustainable materials. Pick a wooden bed frame that is FSC certified from sustainably managed forests. You can also look into paints and polishes that are made without chemicals. Instead of tossing your old mattress, donate or recycle it so that it’s not sitting on top of a landfill somewhere. Invest in an eco-friendly mattress with memory form or try a box spring mattress and top it with natural wool. Both of these products are created without VOC releasing chemicals or plastics. Finally, top your new bed with organic cotton sheets.
The color of your walls could be keeping you awake at night. One study found that different colors can affect your sleep cycle. For example, green light promotes sleep while blue light delays it. The study exposed mice to three different colors: blue, green and violet. Researchers found that green light produced rapid sleep onset of between one and three minutes (8). Using an eco-friendly pale green color on your walls might help you sleep. Avoid bright colors as these may keep you awake.
Use natural aids.
Stress is one of the main reasons why most people can’t sleep. If you find it hard to relax at night, you might need some natural help. In keeping with a chemical-free theme, try using a natural sleep aid to help you drift off to sleep. Research shows that people who meditate produce more melatonin and sleep better than those who don’t (9). Spend a few minutes meditating in bed at night or relax in a hot bath with non-paraffin candles for the ultimate relaxation experience. You can add a few drops of essential oils to your bath or your pillowcase to help you fall asleep.