"An interior is the natural progression of the soul." - Coco Chanel
To design a healthy home and lifestyle you don't need a complete overhaul, sometimes it takes a few simple tweaks.
Here are five super simple healthy design tips to help you create your happy and healthy living space.
1. Let natural light and fresh air in. To help improve indoor air quality in your home and to help reduce pollutants that are indoors, whenever it's possible, open your windows and doors. Natural ventilation can help improve the air quality. [Source: EPA]
2. Pay attention to details and use plants. Sometimes, it's the small things that can have the greatest impact. You can design a healthy space by paying attention to details. For example, add plants in your home. Not only are plants aesthetically pleasing, certain plants can have health benefits. NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] research reveals that there are plants that can help improve the air quality. A few good choices to help improve air quality in your home include:
- Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) (non-toxic to dogs and cats)
- Peace lily (Spathiphyllum "Mauna Loa") (toxic to dogs and cats)
- Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifritzii) (non-toxic to dogs and cats)
[Please note some plants are toxic to dogs and cats. The ASPCA offers a list of plants that are toxic and non-toxic to dogs and cats. For a list of toxic and non-toxic plants to dogs and cats, please visit the ASPCA website.]
3. Boost the good vibes and joy in your home with fresh flowers. Research shows that flowers elicit positive emotions. A study from the Department of Psychology at Rutgers - (PDF) The State University of New Jersey shows that flowers elicit positive emotions. Choose what you love and surround yourself with the beauty of fresh flowers to help boost positive emotions.
4. To prevent exposure of BPA use glass or ceramic to store & microwave food instead of plastic, and keep your refrigerator and pantry filled with healthy foods.
5. Design your bedroom into an oasis for great sleep. Make sleep an important priority, just as important as eating healthy and exercise. Look, let's face it, not all of us are getting the right amount of sleep each night. Life is busy, and because we're juggling so many things, sometimes we put sleep on the back-burner. We think we can do it all, but doing it all without sleep can wreak havoc on your health. Sleep is vital for good health. Make sure you aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep helps you stay focused and can help you make better decisions. If you're not getting enough sleep you may have trouble controlling your emotions and behavior, have difficulty making decisions, and problems coping with change and solving problems. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide and risk-taking behavior.
My healthy design tips for a better night's sleep:
- Design your bedroom so it's your oasis. A place that is calming, relaxing and clutter free. Use calming and soothing colors. Make it your sanctuary.
- Darken the room.
- Wear a sleep/eye mask.
- Take out the technology. Put your devices in another room. This way you won't be tempted to use them, and no TVs.
- Avoid large meals before bed.
- Avoid caffeine before bed.
- Avoid alcohol before bed.
- Go to bed the same time each night.
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine each night. Take a warm shower or bath, listen to soft soothing music, and use lavender, an essential oil in a diffuser. Lavender may help with relaxation.
- Keep your bedroom at a comfortable sleeping temperature. Choose a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
- White noise may help you get your zzz’s. Listening to soothing sounds like ocean waves or raindrops may help. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, it’s a good option to try.
- If you have trouble sleeping, keep a sleep journal and talk with your health care provider.
Create a healthy home by implementing these five super easy healthy design tips. Design your living space so it's a reflection of who you are--what you love, what inspires you and what stories you want to share. Sometimes, simple tweaks can help you: Design your healthy and happy life and home™.
-- Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA is an award-winning broadcast journalist, registered nurse, international speaker and lifestyle and health designer™. She inspires and empowers people to take action to design a healthy and home and life they adore.
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