Your bedroom should be your haven from stress, fear, and worry—the place where you can shake it all off, dream away your cares for eight hours, and rejuvenate before taking on the next day’s projects. But sometimes you just can’t get to sleep. You just lie there for hours, mind racing until you finally drift off…right before the alarm clock blares. Luckily, it turns out there are a bunch of organic things you can do to get sounder, more restful sleep. It all has to do with forming healthy habits and creating an atmosphere in which you can truly relax. Click through the slideshow to learn how to give your bedroom an organic makeover.
Setting the thermostat lower at night does more than save on utilities. According to the National Sleep Foundation, your body temperature decreases in order to initiate sleep, and a room that’s too warm can make you restless and decrease the amount of REM sleep you get. For most people, the ideal room temperature is somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees. Some experts even say It’s Best To Sleep Naked because it can make sure you don’t overheat during the night, and it has the added benefit of increasing intimacy with your partner. Going bare between the sheets isn’t for you? Then opt for the breathable comfort of an organic cotton pajama set.
Now that you’re sleeping naked for the good of your health, you may find yourself growing closer to your partner…and that means more sex! When it comes to sexual hygiene and personal care items, organic is the way to go. The Environmental Working Group estimates there are approximately 10,500 unregulated chemical ingredients being used in personal care products, some of which are known endocrine disrupters and suspected carcinogens. Your skin absorbs just about any product you put on it, so you definitely don’t want to be using anything with suspect ingredients in the bedroom. Opt for an organic lubricant, like this one, which uses all-natural aloe vera as a moisturizer.
Harvard researchers found that people who practiced mindful meditation daily had less insomnia, fatigue, and overall better sleep after six weeks. Quietly focusing on your breathing, emotions, and experiences for just 20 minutes a day invokes a relaxation response, which battles stress, helping you to sleep more soundly. Not sure how to get started? Check out Everything You Need To Know To Start Meditating Like A Champ.
Your bed should be your personal sanctuary—always there for you after a long hard day and when you’re feeling sick. But you wouldn’t purposely nestle up with carcinogens, would you? Scented laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and drier sheets are among the worst offenders when it comes to harmful VOCs. Do you really want to be breathing that stuff all night long? Even unscented detergents may contain allergens and other compounds found to increase risk of breast cancer, according to a report commissioned by the group Women’s Voices for the Earth. The bottom line: Choose an eco-friendly detergent like Seventh Generation or Method, or, even better, make your own Homemade Laundry Detergent.
In addition to purifying indoor air, plants can help you relax. Research shows houseplants help hospital patients destress, and there’s a lot of evidence that being surrounded by nature makes us feel less anxious. If the first and last thing you look at every day is a peace lily or palm tree, it could help you feel calmer and may even be more productive at work the next day.
Using cellphones, tablets, and even watching Netflix right before bed makes it significantly harder to fall asleep at night, researchers say. Another study explains that’s because the high light exposure from screens suppresses melatonin levels, a hormone that’s released into the blood from the pineal gland in your brain, making you feel sleepy. Generally, melatonin is released around 9 p.m., so it’s best to limit screen time after that—especially in the hour before bed. Instead, relax by reading or listening to music, or use the time to connect with your partner.
Your body runs on an internal clock called a circadian rhythm, and that clock is sensitive to light, meaning your body’s natural inclination is to feel drowsy when it’s dark and energized in the sun. That’s why the National Sleep Foundation recommends opening your curtains first thing to greet the morning light—it’ll do more to wake you up than a cup of coffee.