Sleep is vital to every aspect of our lives, and yet at least 40 percent of us squeak by on far too little of it. That means we're denying ourselves some pretty miraculous health benefits like healthy weight loss, better memory and even a revved-up sex drive.
"Many people try to get by without sleep, and they fail," says Kita Marie Williams, an interior design expert who specializes in wellness. "Your bedroom -- and your mattress -- is the single most important investment you can make."
Make these easy changes to get your bedroom in order, in one weekend or less.
1. Get a really, really good mattress.
A great mattress should be your number-one priority, Williams says. Take the time to choose a mattress that feels truly comfortable to you: Soft or hard doesn't matter, as long as you find it relaxing. Williams recommends testing them at a store to determine the firmness you like best and then shopping around to find a mattress at the lowest price.
2. Put your bed against a wall.
Position your head against a solid wall to both prevent chilly drafts and give yourself a sense of psychological stability, Williams says. If you follow feng shui principles, you already know that beds never go against a window, as energy might fly outside during sleep.
3. Hide the screens, or ditch them altogether.
Research is full of evidence that using electronic devices before bed can disrupt your sleep. Remove phone and laptop chargers from your bedroom so you won't be tempted to keep and check them during the night. And either get rid of your TV or come up with a creative way to cover it, like a removable mirror panel.
4. Decorate symmetrically.
Science tells us that humans perceive symmetry as beautiful. For maximum calm, Williams advocates a symmetrical setup surrounding your bed: If you position a painting above the bed, make sure it's centered, and use two pillows instead of one so things are visually equal. In feng shui terms, symmetry promotes harmonious relationships with both your partner and yourself.
5. Engineer the perfect temperature.