Bedroom Checklist

Optimize your bedroom to make getting better Zzzs a breeze.

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KNOW YOUR SNORE SCORE

How to do it: Determine your snore score by taking the short assessment below. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions, discuss your symptoms with a medical provider.

Why do it? The Snore Score was developed by the American Sleep Apnea Association to help individuals assess their risk of sleep apnea, which is a medical condition that can impair sleep and cause health problems. It is important to identify whether sleep problems are due to a medical condition so they can be treated early and appropriately.

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OWN A SUPPORTIVE MATTRESS AND COMFORTABLE PILLOWS

How to do it: Mattresses should be replaced every 8-10 years. Make sure that your mattress is not sagging and is supporting you comfortably during sleep. When choosing a mattress, spend at least 10 minutes testing it out before buying. Choose pillows that support your head and neck and are comfortable to you. If replacing the mattress is not an option, you can improve a sagging mattress by putting a plywood board between your mattress and box spring or frame. Using a mattress pad or topper can also improve your sleep on an uneven mattress.

Why do it? Having a comfortable mattress and comfortable pillows are important to getting a good night’s sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep improves productivity, physical and emotional health, and longevity.

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SET THE TEMPERATURE OF YOUR BEDROOM TO 65°F

How to do it: Set your thermostat to 65°F at bedtime. If you have a programmable thermostat, program it to automatically adjust to 65°F during sleeping hours.

Why do it? Temperatures below 54°F or above 75°F can actually wake you up at night. The ideal temperature for sleep is around 65°F. If it feels a little colder than you’d like, grab a couple of extra blankets.

Cheerful girl reading book at night
DIM THE LIGHTS AN HOUR BEFORE BED

How to do it: Dim the lights in your home an hour before you go to sleep.

Why do it? Practicing good sleep hygiene is the first step to getting the optimal 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Dimming the lights before bedtime prepares your body for sleep, allowing you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

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REMOVE DIGITAL ALARM CLOCKS OR TURN THE CLOCK SO IT IS FACING AWAY FROM THE BEDSIDE

How to do it: Remove digital alarm clocks from your bedroom or turn your clock away from your bedside so the time is not visible to you.

Why do it? The light from digital alarm clocks can disrupt sleep. In addition, hiding your clock from your line of sight will help you avoid clock-watching during the night.

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USE LIGHT-BLOCKING WINDOW SHADES OR SLEEP MASK

How to do it: Hang dark shades and heavy drapery that can block out all outside light when drawn. Make your room as dark as possible for the best sleep. If replacing window treatments are not an option or you share your room and darkness is not always possible, try a sleep mask to block out

Why do it? Light can be disruptive to sleep, even light from a clock or a computer.

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REMOVE THE TV AND COMPUTER FROM THE BEDROOM

How to do it: Remove all screens from your bedroom including televisions and computers.

Why do it? The bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex. Removing screens from the bedroom helps reinforce the association between the bed and sleep. In addition, artificial light from screens including digital clocks can disrupt sleep.

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REMOVE ALL PHONES FROM YOUR BEDROOM

How to do it: Remove all phones from the bedroom.

Why do it? Removing phones from the bedroom minimizes interruptions to sleep.

The 2011 Sleep in America Poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that cell phones were a sleep disturbance.5 Twenty percent of generation Y’ers and 18% of generation Z’ers polled said that they are awakened after they go to bed by a phone call, text message, or e-mail, at least a few nights a week. If you must have your mobile phone in your bedroom, then activate “Do Not Disturb” mode during evening hours so you don’t get woken up by notifications but your emergency contacts can still reach you.

 

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PUT A LAVENDER PLANT NEXT TO THE BED

How to do it: Purchase a lavender plant from your shop or keep some lavender sachets or essential oils by your bed.

Why do it? The smell of lavender is calming, soothing, and helps induce sleep. Studies also show that plants also have proven stress-releasing qualities.

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MINIMIZE NOISE IN THE BEDROOM

How to do it: Install double-paned windows in your bedroom.

Why do it? Double-paned windows help block out noise, which can be disruptive to sleep. Noise-reducing curtains and blinds are other good alternatives. If those are not an option, another way to block out unwanted sounds is to use earplugs or “white noise” such as a fan, air cleaner, or sound conditioner.

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USE THE BEDROOM ONLY FOR SLEEP AND SEX

How to do it: Create the best environment to support good sleep and sex, which includes removing all screens from your bedroom including televisions, computers, and cell phones. If you have a desk in your room for work or study or regularly use your bedroom for other activities, then designate hours of the day (between 8pm and 6am, for example) when other activities are off-limits.

Why do it? The bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex. Removing screens from the bedroom helps reinforce the association between the bed and sleep. In addition, artificial light from screens including digital clocks can disrupt sleep.

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Snore Score

  1. Are you a loud and/or regular snorer?
  2. Have you been observed to gasp or stop breathing during sleep?
  3. Do you feel tired or groggy upon awakening, or do you awaken with a headache?
  4. Are you often tired or fatigued during the wake time hours?
  5. Do you fall asleep sitting, reading, watching TV or driving?
  6. Do you often have problems with memory or concentration?

If you have one or more of these symptoms you are at higher risk for having obstructive sleep apnea. If you are also overweight, have a large neck, and/or have high blood pressure the risk increases even further.

If you or someone close to you answers “yes” to any of the above questions, you should discuss your symptoms with your physician or a sleep specialist. Or ask the American Sleep Apnea Association for more information on the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. Different treatment options exist; which is right for you depends upon the severity of your apnea and other aspects of the disorder. Talk to your doctor about choices. Untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can be extremely serious and cannot be ignored.

You may also be interested in attending a meeting of an ASAA A.W.A.K.E. group (A.W.A.K.E. stands for “Alert, Well, And Keeping Energetic,” characteristics that are uncommon in people with untreated sleep apnea.) Contact the ASAA for more information about one in your area.

© 2006 American Sleep Apnea Association.
Reprinted with permission.

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Sources

Kripke D, Garfinkel L, Wingard D, Klauber M and M Marler. (2002). Mortality Associated With Sleep Duration and Insomnia. Arch Gen Psychiatry; 59:131-136.

National Sleep Foundation Bedroom Poll http://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/ bedroompoll/NSF_Bedroom_Poll_Report.pdf (Accessed 2/9/11).

Institute of Medicine Report. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Released: March 21, 2006. http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2006/Sleep-Disorders-and-Sleep-Deprivation-An-Unmet-Public-Health-Problem.aspx (Accessed 2/9/11)

Lockley SW; Evans EE; Scheer FAJL et al. Short-wavelength sensitivity for the direct effects of light on alertness, vigilance, and the waking electroencephalogram in humans. SLEEP 2006;29(2): 161-168.

National Sleep Foundation 2011 Sleep in America Poll. http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/ press-release/annual-sleep-america-poll-exploring-connections-communications-technology-use- (Accessed 6/2/11)

Goel N, Kim H and R Lao. (2005). An olfactory stimulus modifies nighttime sleep in young men and women. Chronobiology International; 22 (5): 889-904.

Lillehei AS, Halcon LL. A systematic review of the effect of inhaled essential oils on sleep. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Jun;20(6):441-51. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0311. Epub 2014 Apr 10. PMID: 24720812.

Ulrich R, Quan X, Zimring C, Joseph A, and R Choudhary. (2004). The Role of the Physical Environment in the Hospital of the 21st Century: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity. Report to The Center for Health Design for the Designing the 21st Century Hospital Project

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