Cluttered Room, Disrupted Sleep

Did you know, typical household clutter can cause physical, emotional and mental health concerns? I recently finished an extensive research into the ways common clutter can cause us to experience increased anxiety, weaker relationships, a strong sense of failure and a tendency to overspend. I’ll be sharing the research in the coming weeks, but right now I want to share how a tidy bedroom impacts sleep health.

A peer-reviewed study by Thatcher and Reinheimer in 2017 suggests that a clean and tidy room, along with other habits that improved sleep hygiene (such as avoiding blue light and devices for an hour before bedtime) increased sleep quality and contributed to fewer sleep related problems. Another study by Esposito in 2015 says that an uncluttered bedroom leads to better sleep and improved health. Another way clutter impacts physical health is in the way it attracts dust mites causing poor air quality which can lead to asthma and other allergies.

You spend about 30% of your life in your bedroom. What can you do this weekend to declutter and tidy up this incredibly important space? Start by removing anything that doesn’t belong in the space: stacks of work papers, dishes, furniture with no purpose, that unused elliptical machine or other sports equipment. Those items certainly don’t promote rest.

Next, clear the decks. Throw away any garbage. Fix or toss anything that is broken or unusable. Dust the fan, the lampshades and any flat surfaces. Give your bedding a good washing and vacuum behind furniture and under the bed. Wash the windows and clean the mirrors.If you’re really feeling ambitious, wash and dry your down pillows and wash or air out your duvet. Do your curtains darken the room effectively? Are your rugs big enough to go under the bed? If you need to replace furniture, now is a good time to think about repurposing something you already own, or watching your favorite store for a sale.

Now, put everything back in it’s place. Ideally, a bedroom will have a good reading light on each side of the bed, nightstands that are level with the top of the mattress, a chair for reading or relaxing, adequate room darkening curtains and something soft underfoot when you have to get up on a cold morning. Make sure your artwork is soothing and comfortable. I once hung a portrait of my grandparents on a hallway wall outside my bedroom within view of my bed. I soon moved the portrait further down the hall because, as much as I love my grandparents, they were always “keeping an eye” on what I was doing in the bedroom. Consider adding an easy-care plant to help improve air quality and add beauty.

Finally, if you have space, add in items that increase rest and relaxation. Would an essential oil diffuser be useful for wafting lavender into your environment? Would candles in lanterns increase romance? Would a cozy throw blanket encourage reading before bedtime?