The older I get, the more I value a good night’s sleep — that deep, drooling, forget-the-world kind of sleep. But good rest doesn’t happen by chance, at least not after age 50. These days, it takes a little planning and effort.
If you’re having trouble unwinding during these unnerving times, take a look around. Is your bedroom a place you’d rather retreat from than retreat to? If so, it’s time to get to work.
Here are some affordable ways to turn your bedroom into a sanctuary of sweet sleep.
1. Organize your closet
Serenity now! If your bedroom closets are overflowing, the contents are likely spilling everywhere and turning relaxing moments into taxing moments.
First, strategically cut the clutter. Then, keep it at bay by investing in a simple closet organizer. The Whitmore Double Rod Freestanding Closet Organizer can be assembled without tools. Large enough to hold loads of clothes and shoes, it sells for well below $100 on Amazon.
2. Invest in a sound machine
If you’re a light sleeper like me, a sound machine can be your best friend. By masking ambient noise, sound machines can help you fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer. Sounds dreamy, right?
To create a true sanctuary, choose a machine that offers a wide variety of sound options, such as rainfall, ocean waves, wind or calming white noise (similar to hum of a fan).
Devices with a “non-looping” feature offer a more natural experience by eliminating obvious soundtrack start and end points.
The Sound+Sleep High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine sells for less than $100 on Amazon. Reviewers love its adaptive technology that gradually increases volume when background noises get louder.
3. Repaint in soothing colors
Painting is one of the cheapest ways to transform any space.
To promote a sense of calm in your bedroom, choose a color you find soothing. Although they’re often overlooked, pale greens, blues and violets can be just as neutral as white or gray.
Not sure what brand of paint to use? Consider this: J.D. Power’s 2021 Paint Satisfaction Study found that customers say Benjamin Moore is the best brand of house paint, including for interior painting.
4. Use flameless candles as nightlights
Who doesn’t love the soft glow of candlelight? Since candles and sleep don’t mix, buy the flameless variety. LED candles make a perfect nightlight, and most feature an on-off timer and remote control.
5. Buy a weighted blanket
I was a bit skeptical about weighted blankets until I tried one at a hotel in Toronto in 2019. I’m now an enthusiastic convert.
Usually weighing 10 to 15 pounds, the blankets provide gentle pressure that some say helps reduce anxiety and promotes sound sleep.
Although some manufacturers use tiny plastic pellets to give their blankets heft, micro glass beads are an eco-friendly alternative.
If you’re ready for some (good) weight on your shoulders, one of Good Housekeeping’s top recommendations sells for less than $100: the Quility Premium Adult Weighted Blanket & Removable Cover.
6. Install dimmer switches
Because my job involves staring at a glowing computer screen for hours a day, I like to control the amount of light I’m exposed to everywhere else. And although smart bulbs may soon render them obsolete, I recently installed dimmer switches in the living room and every bedroom of my home.
Like flameless candles, dimmer switches create instant ambience — minimizing visual stress and promoting relaxation.
And dimmer switches won’t stress your wallet much, either. Many manual (that is, not connected to a smart device) dimmer switches cost between $10 and $20. Even better, installing a dimmer switch is a fairly quick and easy project.
7. Install a solid-core door
If your bedroom has a hollow-core door, it’s time for an upgrade. With no interior material, these doors are extremely light and have almost no sound-dampening effect.
Sure, hanging a new door might sound a little extreme. But if you’re serious about sleep, nothing is out of the question.
Although solid wood interior doors can easily run from $125 to $200, there are less expensive options. For example, Lowe’s sells multiple solid-core slab doors for $100 or less.
8. Hang blackout curtains
If you work the third shift or simply prefer not to rise with the sun, consider investing in blackout curtains. But buyer beware: Many curtains marketed as “blackout” don’t quite do the trick. True blackout curtains have at least two layers of fabric — a densely woven outer layer and a heavy liner.
If you’re serious about blocking light, shop for curtains in-person and test them first. Hold a panel up to a store window or bright fluorescent light. If any light penetrates the layers of fabric, it’s not a good choice.
Pro-tip: Buy curtains larger than your window. To minimize peripheral light, buy floor-length curtains and make sure there’s enough fabric to extend 4 to 6 inches beyond each side of the window.
9. Choose high-quality sheets
Microfiber sheets are fine, but for my money, nothing beats 100% cotton. Like a good pair of jeans, cotton sheets are all natural and get better with age.
Discount shoppers already know where to find the best bargains on sheets — Marshalls. My local store regularly sells Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Kate Spade sheet sets for far less than $100 — if not less than $50.
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