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You should be able to relax in your bedroom. These bedroom decorating ideas can help you do just that — and the extra sleep will make you a happier person.

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The bedroom is supposed to be the one place where you can relax and shake off the day. But if you have ever been just as stressed out in that supposed haven as you are anywhere else, it might be time to change the way your bedroom looks and feels.

For instance, many people watch television in their bedroom while they are lying in bed. Perhaps you are guilty of watching the evening news before you drift off, or getting lost in a mind-numbing rerun in order to call up some sleep. But simply having the television in your bedroom can make it tough to get that shut-eye. In fact, having a television in the bedroom has been linked to disrupted sleep cycles, bad dreams, less attention paid to the spouse and even a tendency to allow children to watch television in their bedrooms, too — a choice that can have long-term ramifications for the little ones.

In addition to banishing the television from the bedroom, there are other choices you can make that will help turn your bedroom into what it was meant to be — a place where you can truly relax and get away from the world.

Keep the light simple and comforting

Overhead lights are an absolute no-no in the bedroom. They cast a harsh light that doesn’t do favors for anyone, and besides that, a bright light can wreck havoc on your sleep schedule. Stick with bedside lamps that cast a warm glow.

Recessed lighting is great too, as are dimmers attached to tall floor lamps. Finally, try to keep your windows unadorned to allow for plenty of natural sunlight. For more privacy, you can add sheer curtains that allow the light in but thwart prying eyes.

bedroom lighting sidetable

The bed is the main event

The bedroom often becomes a place where we do everything else — fold laundry, write emails, prepare for that big presentation, and much more — and sleeping soundly becomes a footnote. Change that today by making the bed the main event of the bedroom decor.

The bed should be covered in attractive and comfortable linens that feel good against your skin, plenty of pillows to throw around however you please, and a mattress that is just right. Go with the highest thread counts you can afford. It pays to invest in this part of your bedroom, because the value of all that extra sleep you will get simply cannot be overstated.

Move other things out

Speaking of all that laundry folding and email writing and preparation for work, now is the time to move that out of the bedroom. Sure, it might be easier to do all of those things in the one room where you are so accustomed to it.

But the idea is to focus on relaxation and getting away from it all in the bedroom — and surely folding the household laundry late at night is not conducive to that! Fold the laundry while you watch television in the living room, and write those emails from a comfortable desk that is not in your bedroom.

Create a sitting area

You want to relax in the bedroom, but you probably don’t want to sit on the bed all the time. Where else can you truly relax? A nice recliner or a set of armchairs, preferably tucked right in next to a window, can give you plenty of space to enjoy. Don’t have that much room? Look for a small chair that is designed for tiny spaces, or a bench that will cuddle right up to the foot of the bed.

cozy bedroom with chair wood floor

Entertain the senses

The comfort of a bedroom goes far beyond the way things are arranged, and even beyond how nice your bed feels. Look to all of your senses to create an experience that is devoted to leaving the world behind.

Create an ambiance that includes soothing sounds, such as a white noise machine or soft music. Keep the lights down low — use only the ones you need. Infuse the room with a scent that speaks to you and invokes relaxation, such as lavender or sandalwood. Keep small, decadent snacks at the bedside, such as your favorite chocolates, and make having one a bedtime ritual.

Make clear rules

Once your bedroom is a more relaxing place, put rules in place to keep it that way. A few options include banning all work from the room, no television or radio (you want to keep the world out, remember?), no arguments or heavy discussions, no disturbances after a certain time, and bedtime at a reasonable hour.

Now that your bedroom is perfect, the goal is to keep it that way — and to revel in the relaxation and extra sleep that you so desperately needed.

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.