How to Turn Your Room Into a Sleep Sanctuary

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You may not have realized it, but your bedroom plays a big part in how well you sleep, as it’s often filled with stressors that prevent your brain from going into snooze mode. These bedroom organizational tips from sleep expert Terry Cralle and Shawn Stevenson, author of Sleep Smarter, will help you to slumber like Sleeping Beauty (minus the enchanted spinning wheel—those things are hard to come by).

Arrange for Symmetry

“Symmetry in the bedroom is really aesthetically pleasing,” Cralle says. “I always recommend not putting the side of your bed up against a wall, but instead centering it and placing a nightstand on both sides.” Science agrees: Studies show that humans perceive symmetry as soothing and comforting, which is the perfect environment for a good night’s sleep.

Cover Your Junk

“Keep stressors [a.k.a. unfinished items on your to-do list that cause you anxiety] out of the bedroom at all costs. Things like exercise equipment, unpaid bills and even unfolded laundry can keep a person up at night worrying about everything they have to get done the next day,” Cralle explains. In fact, a recent study shows that hoarders and people with serious clutter in the bedroom have trouble sleeping as a direct result. “If you must have stuff like that in your room, put it in your closet or hide it out of sight before going to bed,” Cralle recommends.

Keep Cool

The ideal room temperature for sleep is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit,” Stevenson explains. That’s because cooler temperatures slow brain activity, making it easier to fall more quickly into a restful slumber. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend your life’s savings on air conditioning. A study out of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine shows that wearing a cooling cap to bed (or sleeping on a pillow designed to cool your head) have the same mind-slowing effect. That is, if you’re willing to sacrifice fashion for a good night’s rest.

Go Green

“Plants like the Green Ivy and the Snake Plant are NASA-proven to work as natural air purifiers,” Stevenson explains. “Plus, the Snake Plant is nocturnal, meaning it eats up carbon dioxide and pumps out oxygen throughout the night.” This is important—as this 2015 study shows, sleeping in a room with better air quality (and less carbon dioxide) significantly improves sleep and reduces next-day sleepiness.

No Petting

“I understand that some people like to pet their dog or cat at night, but I slept 100 percent better after I kicked my pets out of the bedroom,” Cralle says. She’s not alone: A 2014 study showed that 63 percent of pet owners who share the bed with their beloved beast more than four times a week have poor sleep quality—sorry, William Shakespaw, but you’re gonna have to sleep in your own bed from now on.