Heathcliff and Claire Huxtable (The Cosby Show) had a scientifically perfect (sometimes annoyingly perfect) bedroom ritual. Each night after sending their children to bed and turning off all the lights in the Huxtable household, Dr. and Mrs. Huxtable went into their bedroom, put their pajamas on, got in their bed, talked and laughed, maybe read a bit, kissed each other goodnight and went to sleep. No distractions, no mess. Just a simple routine every night.
Lately, the American bedroom has been jumbled with the family room, the office or the playroom. People aside from our loved ones get to sit and enjoy it. We watch TV, surf the Web, finish our school work in it. Have we lost sight of what its purpose is?
With that question in mind, here are 5 things you should NOT do in your bedroom:
1. Install and watch a big screen television. It all sounds great and glorious, but it will distract you for hours. All that HD and crystal clear color right in your face…while you’re making an attempt to go to bed. No one can convince most people remove a television from their bedrooms, but here’s some advice: Plan to watch certain television programs, and don’t let it be constant background noise. A 1998 American Academy of Pediatrics study suggested that “mindless television” can be a detriment to the organizational and planning control systems in the brain, especially in children. Turn the TV off when it doesn’t need to be on.
2. Do work. Simply, this: keep your work at work and your personal life in your personal space. Bringing your school work or extra projects from the office into your bedroom turns your bedroom into…well, A WORKROOM! Activities that make you anxious about sleeping such as finishing work or getting a head start on a project due next week can hinder the bond between sleep and your bedroom.
3. Loiter/hibernate. Get out of your bedroom and do something, even if you’re sick. Physical activity, reading or playing a board game helps to stimulate the brain, but staying in your bedroom while doing it is like setting a trap for your body and mind. Your brain should associate your bed with the behavior of sleeping, and nothing else. Think of it this way: if you can do everything in your room, then why are you paying for a mortgage on the rest of the house? Go explore that house!
4. Use it as your main social gathering area. Nicky Hilton, celebrity fashion designer, said in an InStyle magazine interview that she works on her laptop and hangs out with friends in her bedroom, then says “it’s classic, but naughty.” Yikes! Friends and love-making? Ugh….
5. Decorate…don’t store things. The bedroom is the only place in your home for sleep and sex, and is not designated for storage and office space. Use the bedroom as a place to create a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. Paintings, nice rugs and curtains, calm wallpaper and relaxing light fixtures are simple touches to make your bedroom intimate and perfect for romance and sleep. Any shelves should only hold picture frames, piggy banks and teddy bears. The closet hangs clothes, hats and shoes. When you have access to random items in your bedroom, it creates a distraction.
Tips and information courtesy of The National Sleep Foundation.