Anyone with anxiety knows that it’s not something you can just turn off. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have 40 million American adults living with anxiety disorders. Most people manage their anxiety symptoms with a combination of medication and therapy, but research suggests that changing our surroundings can also help us cope with the everyday stressors of modern life. For example, immersing ourselves in nature has been shown to lower blood pressure and decrease stress.
However, you don’t need to drive miles outside city limits to start feeling better. In fact, you don’t even need to leave your home! (Although, it’s worth noting that going outside is great for anxiety.) By making a few smart adjustments to your bedroom, you can achieve a similar feeling of calm and contentment right at home.
Ready to turn your bedroom into an oasis of calm and serenity? Read on for a few simple bedroom upgrades that will immediately transform your sleeping space into a peaceful sanctuary.
- Invest in a weighted blanket
It’s no secret that those suffering from anxiety often struggle with insomnia. To make matters worse, sleep experts say that insufficient sleep can heighten feelings of anxiety, spawning a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.
For those nights when your mind is racing before bed, try a weighted blanket. By delivering deep touch pressure, these soothing blankets are thought to calm the nervous system by reducing some of the symptoms of anxiety, such as elevated heart rate and rapid breathing. (Pro tip: If you’re a hot sleeper, go for a cooling weighted blanket made with moisture-wicking materials.)
- Diffuse some essential oils
If you don’t already have an essential oil diffuser sitting on your nightstand, it’s time to rectify that. Besides making your bedroom smell amazing, these stylish aromatherapy devices can make your surroundings feel instantly more serene by dispersing the perfect concentration of essential oils into the air. Their ability to improve mood and alleviate stress isn’t just a bunch of hocus pocus. Research has shown that several essential oils — including lavender, bergamot and chamomile — may have anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties.
Don’t want to shell out the money for a high-end essential oil diffuser? Essential oil candles are a low-cost way to reap the soothing benefits of aromatherapy.
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- Add a bedside carafe to your nightstand
Did you know that there’s a link between anxiety and dehydration? In a 2018 study published in the World Journal of Psychiatry, researchers found that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing anxiety and depression than those who drank less. To ensure you’re getting enough H20, keep a carafe and cup set on your bedside table. And if you’re worried about your carafe potentially ruining your bedroom décor, don’t be! There are plenty of decorative-yet-functional bedside carafes that can promise to elevate both your bedroom and your hydration levels.
- Wear a sleep mask to bed
Once thought of as frivolous and feminine, sleep masks seem to be cropping up on everyone’s nightstands lately. Why? It’s simple. They’re an affordable and practical way to usher in a good night’s sleep. Exposure to artificial light in the evening can keep us awake by delaying the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Sleep masks help prevent this by blocking not only external sources of light (think street lights and car headlights) but also light coming from inside our bedroom — like your partner’s tableside lamp or light stemming from cracks in the doorway. For maximum relaxation, opt for a weighted sleep mask that activates key pressure points on the face, which may help with anxiety and stress.
- Bring your bedroom to life with houseplants
There’s no question that nature can act like a balm for our busy brains. Research suggests that spending just 10 minutes walking or sitting outdoors can contribute to our physical and mental well-being. If you want to reap the benefits of nature indoors, consider bringing some houseplants into the bedroom. On top of boosting your mood, some indoor houseplants can purify the air, thereby reducing skin irritation and congestion.
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- Expand your space with mirrors
Many interior designers include mirrors in the bedroom — not for vanity, but because it helps make any space look larger and brighter. But how does this help with your anxiety, exactly? According to experts, exposure to bright light — particularly in the morning — can reduce anxiety responses in healthy people. Additionally, if being in tight spaces makes you feel anxious, adding mirrors to your bedroom can go a long way in making your space feel much larger than it actually is.
- Invest in stylish storage
It’s a well-known fact that a cluttered space can contribute to feelings of anxiety. Clutter makes us anxious because it sends a signal to our brain that we have unfinished work that needs our attention before we can call it a day, which negatively impacts our sleep and focus as well. If you regularly feel overwhelmed by your bedroom clutter, invest in stylish storage options, like a fitted wardrobe, floating shelves (maximize that vertical space!) and an upholstered ottoman with storage. Even something as simple as adding drawer organizers to your dresser can help calm your anxious brain!
Medication and therapy are still considered the first-line treatment for moderate to severe anxiety. That said, you might be pleasantly surprised at how making a few small tweaks to your bedroom can help calm a racing mind. With these stylish bedroom upgrades, you can create the calm oasis you’ve always longed for!