Imagine your bedroom. Now remove everything in that room that does not pertain to sleep. What are you left with? A mattress, some linen, and pillows? No dressers, TV, fancy art, or pesky throw pillows. Instead, your room now only contains what the bedroom was originally intended to hold: the tools for a great night’s sleep.
Fast forward to today where the impact of COVID-19 has forced a pretty large chunk of people to work from home which, for many of us, means our bedroom now doubles as our home office. Ever wonder if this dual role bedroom is negatively impacting your sleep? Does associating your office with your sanctuary of peace, escape, and relaxation change how our brains think about sleep?
According to Wiki, the term “association” refers to a “mental connection between concepts, events, or mental states that usually stems from specific experiences.” As a sleep hacker, I will be the first to tell you I believe in the power of association as it pertains to sleep. It’s the reason why I don’t watch TV in bed. In fact, outside of “quality time” with my spouse and catching some zzz’s, I spend very little time in my bedroom. My goal is simple: I want my brain to associate the mattress with amazing sleep. Period.
This approach has helped me in my journey of conditioning my body to hit the mattress and fall asleep quickly. On average, according to my various sleep sensors, I fall asleep in 5 minutes on any given night. This is a drastic change from years ago when it took 30-45 minutes of tossing and turning to final doze off. Now I’m not saying association alone is the driver of my speedy shut-eye, but it is a trick I have used and continue to use to this day.
So, what can you do to break this association when you have to work in your bedroom?
First, make your bed every morning. I know, I know. The bed should make itself. I 100% agree, but look at this through the lens of association. By making the bed you’re turning off one feature of your bedroom and switching to another, office mode. Second, at the end of the day tidy up your desk and ensure your computer and monitor are in sleep mode—you want to limit all light and notifications from disturbing your sleep. Finally, the fun part—create your own turndown service. This is key! The goal is to prepare your bedroom and yourself for bedtime.
Here's how it looks for me:
- 90 minutes before bed I turn on the bedroom fan and air purifier.
- Next, I pull the sheets and blanket down so they get nice and cold (my favorite).
- Then, I start my sleep ritual.
The idea is that when it’s time to finally go to sleep I walk into a bedroom where everything is set up just the way I want, welcoming me to bed.
You can’t make your bed if you don’t have the right stuff. We suggest starting with the comfiest sheets around.
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