I know I’ve mentioned this a time or two on the blog, but when my mother-in-law referred to her home as her “Sanctuary” – a place she can always turn to for comfort and love – I immediately knew that was the kind of home I wanted to have as well. I believe Ryan and I have created a joyful home environment together and I hope Chase feels happy, secure and loved as he grows up in our house.
For the past few months, I’ve been working with Sleep Number® and sharing various sleep-related posts on the blog that have touched on everything from my sleep struggles and the impact of certain activities and habits on my sleep. Today I thought it might be fun to dive into the idea of creating a “Sleep Sanctuary” in your home. To me, this means cultivating a relaxing nighttime environment that makes you feel calm, peaceful and ready for a good night’s sleep.
Below you will find a few ways I am trying to create a Sleep Sanctuary in our home and I would love to hear about anything you guys may do to help create a calm, relaxing environment that makes you ready for sleep at the end of a long day as well! Since most people out there admit they aren’t getting enough sleep, I think it’s something many of us want to improve in our lives since there’s no denying sleep affects our health and lifestyle.
Creating A Sleep Sanctuary
- Establish A Wind-Down Routine
When I was reading a million books about baby sleep after Chase was born, almost all of them emphasized creating a bedtime routine for your baby. Whether it was a bath followed by story time or saying “goodnight” to all of the stuffed animals in their room together, doing the same thing every night undoubtedly helps a little one learn to anticipate sleep. So why not do something similar for yourself? Though not every night will be the same (life isn’t always predictable!), a similar wind-down routine definitely helps get my body in the mood for sleep.
My routine typically begins after I put Chase down for the night. If I don’t have work to do or something lingering on my to-do list, I’ll head into our bathroom, change into my pajamas and wash my face before joining Ryan in the kitchen to do dishes or a 10-minute clean up around the house before we hang out on the couch together for a little while. Then, we’ll often head upstairs to read in bed before it’s lights-out. The simple act of changing into my pajamas and washing my face almost instantly relaxes me and helps signal my body that it’s almost time for bed.
- Consider Calming Methods
Think about specific things that often calm you down and consider incorporating them into your wind-down routine. Maybe it’s a bath before bed or diffusing your favorite essential oils? (FYI, a bath or shower before bed is actually great for sleep! The water warms your skin, which actually lowers your internal body temperature and a cooler internal temp helps bring on sleepiness.)
Reading at night is one way I prefer to unwind. With the exception of diving into a suspenseful novel, reading a good book before bed almost always helps me relax. I love reading until I feel my eyelids begin to close because it helps me drift off to sleep much easier than when I get into bed and my mind starts racing. Reading truly helps calm my racing mind on days when I just cannot seem to stop thinking, stressing and worrying.
- Keep Your Bedroom Cool
I always say I sleep so well in a hotel because hotel rooms are always so chilly! Ryan and I don’t crank our AC down too low because we don’t want our electric bill to be through the roof but there’s no denying that a cooler room yields better sleep. (The ideal sleep temperature is somewhere between 65 and 68 degrees.) Ever since Chase was born we’ve embraced using our AC more because we want him to be comfortable and not too hot, and I do feel like the cooler temperatures help me sleep better since I’m not sweating and thrashing around in bed because I’m too hot.
- Minimize Clutter
Is it just me or does a cluttered, messy bedroom detract from the calming environment we would all like to have surrounding us when we go to sleep at night? As someone who doesn’t care about making her bed everyday, it’s kind of funny to me that bedroom clutter bothers me, but it definitely does! For our bedroom to be a Sleep Sanctuary, it has to be relatively tidy. This isn’t always in the cards, but I’ve found that on days when I take five minutes to put away clothes and remove clutter from the tops of our dressers, I feel much more relaxed when I climb into bed at night.
- Select A Comfortable Mattress and Pillow
I think it is time for me to change up my pillow because my neck has been bothering me for almost two months now. I’m not sure what’s up but I think my pillow might have something to do with it. There’s no denying that a bad pillow or a mattress that’s too soft or too hard for your personal comfort level can seriously impede a good night’s sleep. Ryan and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye when it comes to the firmness of our mattress (I prefer to sleep on a cloud and he apparently loves sleeping on a rock) so I am a big-time fan of our Sleep Number bed with SleepIQ® technology since the DualAir™ technology inside allows us to each adjust our side of the mattress to our comfort level.
- Keep Electronics Out of Bed
Keep the television remote and your cell phone out of your bed! Before I started charging my phone on a small table across the room from my bed, I’d find myself mindlessly checking emails, Instagram, Facebook, etc. before bed. Before I knew it, a half hour would go by and I would almost always much rather spend those 30 minutes catching up on sleep! I also don’t feel more relaxed after I scroll through my phone (if anything it makes me feel more awake and alert), so this one is imperative for me when it comes to creating a Sleep Sanctuary in our bedroom.
Question of the Day
- What is one thing you like to do at the end of a long day to help calm yourself down before bed time?
- What is one thing you think you could change in your evening routine to help create a sleep sanctuary in your bedroom or home?
I love lighting a candle and making a cup of tea at night. Also taking a hot shower after a long day of work and the gym totally relaxes me!
I am a big-time candle fan, too! It makes the whole house seem calmer and cozier!
Totally, and it’s almost fall candle time!! 🙂
I need to clear out the clutter & I must have hese sheetson my bed, they’re incredible. So soft. http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/pure-beech-reg-jersey-knit-modal-sheet-set/220475?Keyword=modal+sheets
Sarah @ BucketListTummy says
I am totally with you on clutter. I hate it, and do my best to get things off the floor before bed. I love winding down with a warm shower and some light stretching.
I love changing into pajamas and washing my face a little bit before going to bed (that way, I’m never too tired to do it)! We went to Thailand in April, and massages or spa treatments always started with a foot wash. It was so relaxing and it made me feel so clean…so now I do it every night before I go to bed (I wear sandals all day so my feet are usually pretty dirty). My husband thinks this is so weird, but I can’t imagine not washing them now!
You mentioned neck pain; my husband and I got these pillows from our Chiro years ago and even have to travel with them. 🙂 They seem like a regular pillow on one side and the other side is water-based. You add how much you want, so it can be more full or as light as you want. You should check it out. I saw it on Amazon as well!
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul says
I sleep so much better when I read before bed!
I like to either wind down with some tea or a glass of wine while reading. It helps me relax after a busy day.
I love the tea flavor Get Some ZZZ’s from The Republic of Tea’s Be Well Red line (ha that’s a mouthful). It comes in a purple cylindrical canister. It is a lavender chamomile tea that has Stevia leaf in it so it’s naturally just a tad sweet and doesn’t need any additional sugar!
Also, I highly recommend the Chiroflow pillow. It was recommended to me by my chiropractor and I have been using it for 8 years now! It’s a water pillow, so the top is pillow material and feels normal, but there’s an interior compartment that you can fill to your preferred firmness using varying amounts of water. The idea is that the weight of your head displaces the water enough to put your neck into a neutral alignment. It’s $45-60 on Amazon, but mine is holding strong after 8 years!
I know I need to be better about turning my phone off before bed. Otherwise, like you, I get distracted and find myself on my phone for minutes on end.
Right now, with a three week old, sleep is a little hard to come by, but I am enjoying learning these new routines! 🙂
Mrs K. says
Busted on the bedroom clutter! I’m staring at a heap of Amazon boxes of Christmas presents and it’s the first thing I see when I wake and the last thing before bed. I know that has to be weighing on me so I think I’m going to dig out the Yule Log DVD (complete with Christmas music) and get them wrapped so I can tuck them into the closet and be done! Thanks for the push! 🙂
Janice Yap says
I thought of you today! I know I don’t personally know you, but my family lives in Concord and they’re all feeling affected by what’s going on right now, especially since my brother in law works downtown. I hope you and your family are safe. 🙂
I thought of you today! I know I don’t personally know you, but my family lives in Concord and they’re all feeling affected by what’s going on right now, especially since my brother in law works downtown. I hope you and your family are safe. ?
(Or is it “uptown”?) 🙂
Thank you for reaching out, Janice. We are about 30 minutes outside of the city but everything is absolutely on the forefront of our minds as well. Last night’s protests were thankfully all peaceful -> https://www.charlotteagenda.com/66939/protests-remained-peaceful-national-guard-moved-charlotte/
Definitely check my phone so often before bed! I think investing in an alarm clock might be worth it for me…it’s crazy how you think you’ll just check it for 5 minutes and then wonder where the last half hour went!
Love your bedroom, Julie! Would you please consider doing a blog post on your decorating style?! I’d love that! 🙂
P.S. What is the name of your wall paint color? It looks so soothing!
You are so sweet! Thank you! I’m not sure of the paint color since the previous home owners picked it out but I’ll see if I can do some digging!
Doing 2-3 minutes of deep breaths on the bed before I sleep has really helped me I am the most productive with 6 hours of sleep (and groggy with 8 hours). Putting away my phone, those 3 min deep breaths and lights off – that routine does the trick!!
I find it really helpful to do a guided meditation. I don’t stay awake for the whole thing usually. I find I wake up more refreshed. I have also started spraying an aromatherapy spray from Rocky Mountain Soap (Canadian), which is nice and relaxing.
Do you use an app or anything specific to help with your guided meditation? I’m very interested in this!
Jon Kabat-Zinn is his name. He has several types of meditations. I use his sitting meditation but do it lying. I am sure you can download them.
Ah your bed looks so comfy!!! I am really bad at being on my phone in bed!
Tricia @ A Couple of Dashes says
I love reading before bed also! I’ve recently gotten more into reading and have been loving it!
Well if I had all the time in the world to get ready for bed aka pre-kiddos ;)… Shower. essential oils & reading are my favorite! But lately Oils have been my go-to to create some calm!
The Wooden Spoon says
Great post! I try to stop using electronics an hour before I go to sleep and use a white noise machine. It’s made all the difference!
I am the worst with my phone at night! I play on it until I am ready for bed.
Where did you get your nightstands? I love them!
All great tips! I need to get better about unplugging before bed!
Julie Saldana says
In the above ways, in my personal opinion, reading before bed is great. Reading books not only helps us be smarter, but also helps us to fall asleep easily and naturally. Believe me, you will have a good night’s sleep