Organized bedroom

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Students sleep in all kinds of places: bedrooms, library chairs, living room couches, the occasional classroom. Some of those spots work far better than others, in part because the length and quality of our sleep has a lot to do with our immediate environment. We asked you how you make your bedroom into a sleep-happy space. Check out your fellow students’ tips below.

Decor and layout

“Decorate with calming colors like blues and yellows. Not bright and exciting colors. It helps to relax you as you walk into your room…Your sanctuary.”
—Sarah, San Antonio, Texas

“Organize the furniture in a way that makes you feel comfortable. You want your room to feel like your room. I like mine with the bed against the wall and facing the window so I can fall asleep/wake up looking out the window, and with open space so I don’t feel all penned up.”
—Chad, Clemson, South Carolina

“Look into Feng Shui. I used to think it was a joke but I have a close friend who practices it, and every time I walk into her [room] it feels so comfortable and put together.”
—Female student, name & location withheld

“Sleep with your head in the corner of the room, so you’re able to turn away from distractions.”
—Male student, name & location withheld

“Have a ‘quick stash’ area next to the bed. If it’s too cold, you can snag an extra blanket. Too hot and you can put the blanket in a safe spot. Often getting up and fixing the problem can be too much, so we suffer through the night.”
—Rebecca, Portland, Oregon

Window treatment

“Purchase blackout curtains. They’re extremely effective. Once you close your bedroom door, everything becomes pitch black.”
—Alexander, Miami, Florida 

“Block most or all of the sunlight coming through your window(s). This can be done with a black fleece blanket. It’s easy and inexpensive.”
—Male student, name & location withheld

Temperature & white noise

Use a fan for temperature control

“Run a fan for temperature control and white noise.”
—Breanna, Green Bay, Wisconsin

“Sleep with socks on, and keep your room slightly cooler than the rest of the house.”
—Mark, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

“Control the temperature with AC and the heater or fans.”
—Thiago, Amherst, Massachusetts

Use a fan for white noise

“Get a fan or a white noise machine. As a light sleeper I often find sleeping difficult, but the noise from my fan and white noise apps help me a ton.”
—Female student, name & location withheld

“In my sophomore year, I used a fan every night. It doesn’t have to be loud, just enough to help sleep.”
—Samantha, Bangor, Maine

Lighting

“A lamp that has yellowish/red light helps me sleep.”
—Heather, Irvine, California

“Have a couple of lamps in your room to lessen the harshness of the overhead light.”
—Maria, Elon, North Carolina

“Don’t use overhead lighting. Put up fairy lights/Christmas tree lights instead. They make for a better atmosphere all together.”
—Female student, name & location withheld

“Put tape over any little lights, like on surge protectors.”
—Stephanie, DeKalb, llinois

No clutter

“If you’re surrounded by clutter, there’s a good chance your mind will be cluttered as well, which can make it hard to relax and sleep.”
—Grace, Humboldt, California

“Keep only the bare necessities, like a computer, a single desk, an extra shelf (too many will just create more clutter to clean later).”
—Ramish, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

“Put away anything that you’d be tempted to use instead of sleeping. For example, put your laptop in a case or drawer.”
—Male student, name & location withheld

“Don’t bring baggage to bed with you—meaning clear your mind of worries.”
—Male student, name & location withheld

Your bed

“A comfortable-looking bed sets up your subconscious to want to relax and sleep.”
—Matthew, Dallas, Texas

“Make your bed every morning. There’s no better feeling than pulling back the covers when you’re ready for bed.”
—Hollie, Joplin, Missouri 

“Make sure your bed is cleaned off completely before trying to sleep in it. It just works better. Laptops don’t snuggle well.”
—Sal, Houghton, Michigan 

“A variety of pillows and warm blankets are essential for me so that I’m comfortable and can adjust my pillows to my preference each night. I’ve had my mattress pad for over a year now and I don’t know what I’d do without it. It really makes a big difference.”
—Rajeev, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“No studying, texting, or eating in your bed. Use your bed solely for sleeping.”
—Jennifer, Hays, Kansas

Nightstand makeover

“If you can’t deal with noise, get some earplugs!”
—Casey, Bristol, Rhode Island

“Noise-canceling headphones are a must if you have noisy neighbors, especially upstairs neighbors with noisy feet.”
—Matthew, Humboldt, California

“If you’re struggling to sleep, a book or magazine will keep your bed ‘screen-free’ while satisfying your evening entertainment needs.”
—Onyx, Colorado Springs, Colorado

“Scents like lavender [may] help relaxation and promote longer sleep.”
—Sofia, Monmouth, Oregon

Listen up

“Noise control: Music will either send you off to dreamland or ruin a perfectly good night’s sleep.”
—Male student, name & location withheld

“A low-beat slow or blues music can do wonders for getting sound sleep.”
—Nurudeen, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

“I prefer piano or classical when I’m trying to fall asleep.”
—Breanna, Green Bay, Wisconsin

“I have an iHome that plays rain sounds while I sleep to help me relax and not focus on my internal thoughts.”
—Danielle, College Park, Maryland

“Listen to ASMR (audio that triggers the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, a pleasant tingling sensation) to fall asleep.”
—Cecilia, San Bernardino, California

“Audible book reader.”
—Buffi, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

ASMR app  |  Free audio books  |  Free guided mindfulness  |  Meditation & white noise app

Work zone

“Never bring your work to bed with you.”
—Justin, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

“[If your bedroom is where you study] have a desk in your room and do schoolwork at the desk, so the bed doesn’t become a work place.”
—Heather, Irvine, California

“Your brain associates tasks with places. Doing something stressful in the bedroom creates a stressful association with the bedroom. It also makes doing that work harder because your body is telling you to sleep instead.”
—Glen, Santa Clara, California

Bedtime routine

“Try to have a bedtime routine if you have trouble getting to sleep. Creating this schedule can help your body and brain.”
—Ed, Gardner, Massachusetts

“Create a regimen when prepping yourself to sleep. For example, I fluff my pillows and spray my bed with calming fragrances such as lavender.”
—Female student, name & location withheld

“It helps me to relax knowing I’ll be waking up to a tidy room that’s ready for the morning. I make sure my keys are by the door, my bag is packed for the next day, and I usually have my breakfast planned out as well. Just a few minutes at night help me have stress-free mornings.”
—Kim, Santa Clara, California

“Work out your problems before going to bed so you don’t stay up for two hours just thinking.” [If your worries tend to end up in bed with you, keep a pen and notebook on your night stand; writing them down can help release your mind.]
—Karen, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

recharge

“Put your cell phone on airplane mode, far away from your bed.”
—Jeff, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

“Don’t put your computer/laptop next to your bed. If possible, put it across or facing away from your bed.”
—Truc, San Jose, California

“Don’t have a TV in your room.”
—Walter, San Diego, California

“On my smartphone and laptop I use programs that ‘remove’ the blue light emitted from electronic devices. This blue light disrupts your melatonin level, which also makes it harder to fall asleep.”
—Amber, Boston, Massachusetts 

“Turn the electronics off one hour before you sleep. The light and activity from being on an electronic device can actually keep you up because your brain is so active.”
—Athena, Lakewood, Colorado

Light control for iOS devices

         f.lux                        Screen dimmer

f.lux icon         screen dimmer icon

Light control for Android devices

Twilight                 Screen dimmer

Twilight on google play                 Screen dimmer on google play

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Article sources

Student Health 101 survey, July 2015

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Joanna Carmona is communications coordinator at the National Patient Safety Foundation. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Student Health 101. She has also edited collegiate textbooks for Cengage Learning and creating language learning materials for the US Department of Defense, libraries, and other educational institutions. Her BA in Spanish is from the University of New Hampshire.

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Lucy Berrington is a health writer, editor, and communications manager. Her work has been published in numerous publications in the US and UK. She has an MS in health communication from Tufts University School of Medicine, Massachusetts, and a BA from the University of Oxford, UK.