We are busier than ever. Balancing careers and families, electronics and exercise. Now add to that pandemic anxiety. The antidote for a busy day and crazy over-loaded mind is quality sleep. And that all starts in the bedroom, by creating a sleep sanctuary for a good night’s rest.

First thing to consider is kicking out the electronics. Remove the bedroom TV entirely if you can’t resist watching it late at night. Phones can be tucked in the night table drawer. The blue light emitted by electronics is known to trick your brain into thinking it’s still day time.

Make sure your bedroom is dark. Even if you think you sleep OK without curtains or with a light on, you’ll probably sleep much better when it’s dark. A sleep mask can help but that can be uncomfortable for many people. Rather, having dark curtains or blinds is the best way to make your bedroom as dark as possible.

Keep it quiet. Do whatever you can to block outside environmental noise. For some people, having that set of earplugs on the night table ready to use is enough. Others need the white noise of a fan or air conditioner. Just closing windows can be enough depending on how close your bedroom is to a street.

Scent the air naturally. Lavender is suggested as a helpful tool for mild insomnia. Placing a few drops of a high-quality lavender essential oil on a pillow or near you creates a sense of calm. The dreamy scent can lead to falling asleep faster and perhaps better quality sleep overall. Other oils that can be helpful with relaxing and sleep are valerian, clary sage, roman chamomile, sweet marjoram, and bergamot. The latter, although in the citrus family that usually is a more invigorating oil, is popular for sleep and relaxing. Bergamot helps minimize the effects of stress and anxiety and just smells wonderful too.

When was the last time you upgraded your mattress? Since we spend a good third of our lives directly on it, it should be a top priority for all of us. With mattress prices down in the last decade, you can get a good quality mattress without taking out a small loan. The best thing is to experiment in the store, feeling how the soft vs. firm mattresses feel when you rest on them. There are traditional spring mattresses, new foam ones, hybrids, and other materials that give us many choices. Also consider whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach. The right mattress can make a huge difference in your quality sleep, especially if you have neck or back pain. This goes for pillows too. An upgrade to some new ones can make a difference in your comfort.

Create a relaxing environment. Keep the bedroom free of clutter. For some people, this may not be easy, but use your closets and drawers to keep the mess out of sight. Paint the walls a relaxing lavender, blue, or grey to create an ambiance of serenity. Have battery-operated candles on as you get ready for bed. Add plants and greenery to bring in the de-stressing effects of nature. Have a bedding set in serene colors that is visually attractive to you is a suggestion too.

Temperature matters. Sleep.org suggests the best temperature range for a good night’s sleep is 60-67 degrees. Temperatures higher or lower than that can affect restlessness and quality sleep. Think of it as a cool, dark cave you want to settle into. Some people are very affected by temperature. If you haven’t been sleeping well, try adjusting your thermostat a few degrees. Three degrees cooler may be just the trick to the bedroom oasis you need for a good night’s rest.

With a few adjustments and upgrades, you can have a more relaxing bedroom to get the restful sleep we all need.