Can The Way You Decorate Your Room Improve Your Sleep?

Getting good quality sleep has become one of our most important missions. Especially as we seem to be inundated almost every day now with studies promising us things like obesity and diabetes if we don't. And it's exhausting. (But not exhausting enough to make us sleep.)
Helpfully, there's all sorts of advice out there on how to sleep better, from the apps to download to the sleep psychologists to listen to, but why not have a think about what your bedroom is doing to your sleep? Could the way you've decorated be having an impact on your sleeping? We asked Eve sleep expert Christine Hansen for her advice on how best to decorate your place if you're struggling with sleep.
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What should the general vibe of my bedroom be?

Basically not maximalist. Despite what this year's trend reports say.

According to a study from Princeton, mess really does cause stress (okay so their exact words were "multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex" but whatever). So all of you who aren't all that great at keeping your room tidy might need to rethink things.

There should be "no clothes chair where all your clothes have been piling up for weeks and weeks!" says Christine. "This can actually cause feelings of slight guilt for not tidying up and denial doesn't help, let's be honest."

A nightstand with plenty of space to stash stuff is probably a great idea, then. This one from Anthropologie, £448, allows you to sweep the top clean, pre-sleep, and hide the debris on the shelf.
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Is there an ideal colour conducive to sleep?

Last year there was a bit of a fuss about Baker Miller pink, when Kendall Jenner told everyone that she painted her room with it because she'd heard the colour was supposed to "suppress your appetite".

Tone-deaf comment aside, there has been some research into how colours are conducive to creating a calming mood, although nothing super conclusive. A review in 2015 said it is "premature to offer any bold theoretical statements" but that there is "considerable promise" in the area. So, perhaps in the future, we'll know for sure that the colour we paint our walls is having an effect on our mood but until then, Christine says it's important mainly to create a place you "really like and enjoy". Whether that means bright or pastel colours go up on your wall is up to you. "Happy feelings," she says, "trigger serotonin, our happy hormone and that in turn converts into melatonin, our sleep-triggering hormone." Basically, if your room is a colour you like, it should contribute to making you feel better in it, which in turn should help you sleep.

If it's colours you want, then check out Emma Shipley's Animalia collaboration with Clarke and Clarke for plenty of different palettes and designs. Prices from £39.
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And the lighting situation?

Absolute shocker this one but when you're trying to sleep, the darker your room is, the better. Get blackout blinds and, if you can't wait for them to arrive, take Christine's "unsexy but cheap tip" of using black bin liners taped to your window.

Before you go to sleep though, Christine recommends using candlelight: "It calms you down and informs the brain that it is time to sleep." If reading by candlelight is a bit too Emily Brontë for you, then just stay away from overhead lights. "I like the concept of indirect light in a bedroom," Christine says. "Like lamps rather than switching on a ceiling light. It gives a more luxurious and cosy feeling."

This dreamy bedside lamp, £110, from Habitat is perfect.
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Anything else?

"Make sure there's a healthy airflow before going to bed," advises Christine. "Open your window for 10 minutes before going to sleep." A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Indoor Environment and Health concurs, and found that when bedroom air quality was improved, subjects reported improved sleep quality and better performance the next day. Of course, if you live on a highly polluted main road in London, this might not apply to you.

If you have a choice over your floor covering (sorry renters), then Christine recommends not going for full carpet. "I really emphasise being toxic- and fume-free so ideally wooden or tiled floor with a rug that can be aired and cleaned."

Thinner rugs (ie. stay away from deep pile) are easier to clean. This folk-inspired one from Urban Outfitters, £129, is perfect.
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