By Catherine Ryan
From Life & Beauty Weekly
Mortgage payments, gloomy headlines, critical bosses: It's no wonder you're sometimes too wound up to sleep! But having bedroom decor that invites relaxation can make all the difference.
"After a day in your busy life, you need a place where you can shut down the constant thinking, deciding and organizing that goes on in your head," explains Judy Pickett, designer and owner of the Raleigh, N.C., interior decorating company Design Lines. A relaxing sanctuary is just what you need when you're transitioning from work and family responsibilities to dreamland -- plus, it'll help you get your needed hours of shut-eye, making you feel better and helping you get more done throughout the day. Try these easy bedroom decor suggestions to turn your space into an "aaahh" oasis in no time!
1. Do a clean sweep.
Uncluttered spaces "are so much more relaxing" than messy ones because you don't have to fret about tidying up knickknacks while you're in them, says Pickett. What's more, without extra surfaces for dust to cling to, you'll breathe and sleep better. Leave a few important photos or keepsakes out, but find another home for the piles of magazines, kids' toys and work papers.
2. Nix the electronics.
Move your TV, computer and iPad out of your bedroom and silence your cell phone. "Anything that will restart your brain in stress mode will prevent you from relaxing," warns Pickett. Instead of watching Jon Stewart or trolling Facebook before turning in, do something that really soothes you, like reading or stretching. Encourage yourself to engage in those activities by putting a neat stack of books or a yoga mat by your bedside.
3. Cool down your bedroom decor.
Calming colors are a must in your sleep space. Blues and greens are the most soothing; if you don't want to repaint your walls, add pale accents -- a blanket, an armchair -- to tone down the look. Too many patterns are distracting to the eye, so opt for solid colors with just one or two patterned items.
4. Dim the lights.
Too-bright bedroom lamps tell your brain to stay awake. Instead, use 40-watt bulbs and buy fixtures with dimmer-switches that you can set to match your mood. Pickett recommends a floor lamp with two or three sockets you can point in different directions for a soft, dappled-sunlight look.
5. Follow your nose.
Scents are not only soothing -- they can also bring back fond memories, says Pickett. Buy a scented candle whose aroma you associate with a happy time (like plumeria if you spent your honeymoon in Hawaii) and burn it in your bedroom for 30 minutes after you come home from work. When you're ready for bed, you'll enjoy its perfume without being overwhelmed by it. Or buy a bottle of lavender essential oil and put a drop on a lit light bulb to diffuse the peaceful scent.
6. Add bedtime harmonies.
You used to fall asleep to lullabies, so why not put music back into your bedtime routine? Put on a p.m. CD that makes you feel mellow, whether it's a Bach symphony, Celtic harmonies or ocean sounds. Keep the volume on low and limit the playlist to an hour so it'll finish by the time you're snoozing. Make a second mix for the morning with relaxing -- yet upbeat -- songs (think Laura Marling or Regina Spektor) to help you feel energized and centered from the get-go.
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