Enough is enough. You’ve had one more restless night, one more bout of insomnia, one more infuriating moment of rolling over to see the alarm clock mocking you with “4:00 am” emblazoned in your direction. Many people will jump to the conclusion that they need a new mattress and/or bed, and for most that will help, but there is more to a good night’s sleep than just your bed and mattress.
There are countless factors that can affect sleep: from your bed, to your schedule, to your diet, to your mental and emotional state. This article is not intended to give you a two sentence “solution” to each of these intricately connected and complex subjects, but rather to cover one often overlooked topic in-depth with some actually valuable information. That topic is bedroom design. I have read some cockamamie articles about how the feng shui of your bedroom can improve your sleep, with everything from a clean room, to properly aligned furniture, to an ORGANIZED CLOSET being essential to obtaining your best night’s sleep. After a few good scoffs, I decided to take the overall idea and approach it from an angle that might actually help you.
There are a few mainstay pieces of furniture that most bedrooms have: bed, nightstand, and dresser. There are many other pieces of furniture that often find their way into the bedroom, such as an armoire, desk, mirror, or media chest. Each of these items has a purpose, and one in particular can make or break a good night’s sleep.
I recently had my brother stay over for a night at my apartment. We stayed up late playing video games and catching up, and I had warned him ahead of time that the best I had to offer for sleeping arrangements was the couch (a rather comfy couch to sleep on, though). At some time during the wee hours of the night we decided to turn in, and I grabbed him a pillow, some blankets, and dragged a chair over next to the couch. If you don’t know why I dragged that chair over by the couch, you probably also take your nightstand for granted next to your bed. And if you have a guest bedroom without a nightstand, preferably on either side of the bed, you are potentially committing guests to an awkward and uncomfortable night.
Especially in this day and age, nightstands or bedside tables are more of a necessity than a luxury. Most people won’t be ready for bed without a glass of water, their cell phone (which is usually also their alarm clock), and a lamp next to them that they can turn on and off from bed. Many people also like a book, their wallet, keys, wedding ring, medication, inhaler, etc., etc., within reach during the night. To not have that luxury means an awkward pile of things on the floor next to the bed, or worse, no access to those things without getting up from bed and essentially ruining your sleepy mindset.
You need to be sure that before going to sleep each and every night, you have everything you might want or need within arm’s reach of your side of the bed. There are few things worse for your night’s sleep than laying in bed torn between getting up for a drink to wet your dry mouth, or succumbing to your tired body to stay put and deal with it. Standing up and turning on a light is often all it takes to reset your mental state from “sleep mode” to “awake mode,” which means going back through the process of coaxing your mind and body back to sleep.
So if you don’t have one already, invest in a nightstand. Or at least pull up a chair next to your bed. You need a surface to set a bottle of water, your cell phone, alarm clock (if you like), even a healthy late night snack (if you ever wake up with a rumbly tummy). The point is, you can have the best mattress/bed combo in the world, your body might never want to leave, but if you have a dry throat or realize you have a time-sensitive email you forgot to read during the day, having a glass of water or your cell phone within arms reach can save you from ruining your sleep state when you’re seconds away from dreamland.