How to decorate a bedroom for better sleep, according to a sleep doctor

A good night's sleep is the ultimate dream and how you decorate your space actually plays an important part in ensuring you get those Zzzs

Floral peel and stick wallpaper on wall behind bed
(Image credit: Amazon)

We’re all trying to get more sleep these days. From counting sheep to white noise machines, there doesn’t always appear to be an easy solution to this problem. It can be incredibly frustrating. But what if the answer was a bit of a bedroom refresh? It’s completely possible to make your bedroom a better sleeping environment with a little bit of thought, a small budget, and some expert advice.

1. Adjust The Temperature

According to sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus, bedroom temperature can have a major impact on sleep. A room that’s too hold or too cold can leave you tossing and turning all night. He tells me, “For most people, the best temperature for sleep is approximately 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s why you may find it harder to sleep in a cold room or during the hot summer months when heat waves cause higher nighttime temperatures.”

If your bedroom is cold, consider a space heater in the winter such as the Dreo Space Heater for Indoor Use. Ideal for smaller spaces, it works safely and quietly to prevent those under the cover from shivers.

On the other hand, a cooling fan such as the Dreo Nomad One Tower Fan with Remote is an easy fix for warmer months, especially in rooms that don’t have adequate air conditioning.

2. Upgrade Your Bedding

If you’ve ever wondered if getting new sheets can help you sleep more soundly, Dr. Breus says the answer is yes. After all, if you’ve ever had to sleep on scratchy or synthetic sheets, you probably didn’t feel lulled into slumber.

Quality bedding not only helps the body better control temperature but can help put you into a more relaxed state of mind. Bamboo sheets such as Cozy Earth or Panda London (for UK visitors) are ideal not only because they’re incredibly soft, but also because bamboo has a cooling effect on the body. Cozy Earth sheets are available in a variety of stylish colors including White, Navy, and Olive. But if you’re looking for a very inexpensive bamboo bedding set, consider the highly-rated Bamboo Bay sheets.

3. Consider Installing Blackout Curtains Or Shades

Dr. Breus tells me that blackout curtains can help you sleep better by improving your circadian rhythm. “It’s no coincidence that you tend to feel alert after the sun rises and sleepy after the sun goes down. That’s because your body’s circadian rhythms try to synchronize to changes in levels of light to help control when you wake up and when you go to sleep.”.

The only issue that some people have with blackout shades is that it can be so dark that it’s hard to get up in the morning. So, if you are the kind of person who is awake once they get up, go ahead and order blackout curtains or a shade. If you’re not, you may want to consider if they are really necessary. Those who live in cities with lots of lights outside their window can enormously benefit from blackout shades, while it may not be worth it if your bedroom is already dark enough or faces an alley or courtyard. 

Smart blackout shades such as Graywind Motorized Shades are also worth considering because they can be programmed to rise at a particular hour, so you won’t have trouble waking up in the morning. Compatible with Google Home and Alexa, this shade can be self-installed and is available in a choice of colors to complement any bedroom including white, dark gray, and light gray. 

Alternatively, if you’re looking for standard blackout shades, the ChrisDowa 100% Blackout Roller Shade gets the job done at an excellent price. Better yet, there are several colors to choose from including black, baby blue, and white.

4. Use A Noise Machine

Dr. Breus tells me that noise machines can be helpful for those who live in noisy environments, whether it's the sounds of traffic, a dorm, or that noisy neighbor who is always throwing late-night parties. “Whatever the source, the effect of loud noise breaching the bedroom is typically the same. People exposed to noise at night tend to have lower quality sleep,” he says.

The Housebay White Noise Machine is a great choice. Not only does it produce 31 soothing sounds (so you can take your pick or experiment with different options), but it has a decorative wood aesthetic that looks nice on a nightstand or desk.

5. Refresh Your Walls

Jungle peel and stick

(Image credit: Tempaper)

In a blog post, Dr. Breus discusses the impact of color on mood and sleep. For example, blue is known to calm the nervous system while green reduces stress and white allows you to relax. To maximize the body’s biological response to color, you could re-paint your walls or opt for furniture and decor in a new hue.

If you’re a renter and aren’t comfortable re-painting, consider using peel-and-stick wallpaper as an alternative. This type of wallpaper is easy to self-install and it can be removed effortlessly without damaging the wall underneath. For example, Tempaper Tropical Peel And Stick Wallpaper  features colors that reduce stress. Still, even just an accent wall with this sophisticated print instantly makes over a room.

Amanda Lauren

Hi, I’m Amanda Lauren. I’m a design expert and interior stylist who writes for Real Homes, Forbes, Real Simple among other publications. I live in Los Angeles in the historic neighborhood of Hancock Park with my husband, and two dogs, Lulu and Milo. We also have a baby coming in spring 2023. I’m a big believer in finding beautiful things at all price points. There are so many places to find affordable things, you just have to look for them. If you don't find it at first, look harder!