5 things you shouldn’t have in your bedroom if you want to sleep well

Time to enter your quality sleep era

A blue swirly background with an image of a bedroom
(Image credit: Future / Beth Mahoney)

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, one of the best things you can do to enhance sleep quality is clock the things you shouldn’t have in your bedroom. It sounds basic, I know. But when it comes to catching some Zs, being picky about what's allowed to take up space next to your bed really makes a difference. 

Take it from me, the queen of struggling to drift off and stay asleep — what you have in your bedroom matters. If you want to feel refreshed when you wake up and get a few more hours of shut-eye, it's time to clear off your bedside table.

Looking for a little sleepspiration (see what I did there)? Gather up all of your best sleep aids, then take a look at all of the things that don't deserve a spot in your bedroom. 

Things to avoid having in your bedroom if you want to sleep well

It's the little things, like light pollution, background noise, and even clutter, that can impact how well you sleep. So, if you want to sleep better, taking steps to make your room as conducive to a good night's sleep as possible is vital. 

1. Overly bright lights 

You know those super sterile-looking, seriously bright bulbs? Well, you want to avoid having those in your room at all costs. Why? Because, according to various sleep studies, spending time under bright, white lights before going to sleep can make nodding off a little harder. Aim to find bedroom lamps that create a calming, cozy environment. If your room already features bright bulbs, the best thing that you can do is invest in dimming equipment. For dimmable lighting, you can either opt to install a dimmer switch (like this three-way dimmer switch from Amazon) or you can use smart bulbs (these dimmable Amazon Basics bulbs are a great choice) that allow you to dim them via an app on your phone.

2. Your phone 

Confession time: I have a really bad habit of getting into bed and scrolling on my phone, which, FYI, isn’t something that you want to be doing. The blue light that your phone emits can actually reduce the production of melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep. 

"Your nervous system needs a chance to rest so that you can sleep peacefully, and when we have technology in our sleeping space — especially if it is work related — it signals to our subconscious mind that we need to be "on," which activates our nervous system and keeps us from falling into a deeper sleep," says Olivia Dreizen Howell, certified life coach and clinical hypnotherapist.

You might feel like you need your phone by your bed as an alarm, but it’s better to either store your phone in another room or stash it away in your bedside table drawer. Instead, invest in a wake-up light, like this highly-rated Lumie sunrise alarm clock from Amazon.

 3. Curtains that let light in 

Having light filtering into your room is never going to make drifting off or staying asleep easy, is it? Switch out your curtains or blinds that let light in and invest in blackout curtains. These blackout curtains from Amazon have over 11,000 five-star ratings and are a great way to keep out any annoying streetlights, floodlights, or headlights.

4. TV 

Look, I get it. Laying in bed watching your favorite show while you drift off to sleep seems like a good idea. The reality is that the light from the television can have a really negative effect on how well you sleep. It’s a much better idea to swap out your television for a white noise machine (like this Amazon's Choice option) and keep your marathon movie nights in the living room. 

5. Clutter 

The thing about clutter is that seeing it spread around is stressful which, in turn, makes it harder for your mind to shut down ready for sleep. Instead of feeling calm and relaxed, in a cluttered or messy space, your mind is going to be focused on the mess and clutter. So, it pays to keep your bedroom free of things that you don’t need. Invest in a few of the best organization products and your circadian rhythm and room will thank you. 

"People don't realize the enormous relationship between mental health and clutter," says Shantae Duckworth, professional organizer and founder of Shantaeize Your Space. "If our space is cluttered, the energy will feel very cluttered, and it's not fun to go to sleep with clutter around us; it makes us feel disorganized with our whole life!"

She recommends purchasing a hamper that fits your decor style that you can use "simply for clothing you wore that isn't dirty, but you don't feel like putting away." This cuts down on the use of that good ol' clothing chair or "floordrobe." 

By making a few simple changes to your bedroom sleep setup, you can increase your chances of getting a better night's sleep. If you've got the gist of what not to have in your bedroom, make sure you have all the best nightstand essentials by your side, too.

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.