9 Best Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

9 Best Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Designing a beautiful bedroom is one thing. Designing one that’s conducive to a good night’s sleep is another. That’s where Dr. Helene Emsellem—medical director of the Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase and a 30-year sleep-medicine veteran—comes in. Here’s a conversation with her.

Is it important for the bedroom to be pitch-black?

A little ambient light is usually okay. If you totally soundproof and lightproof a room, it’s unnerving for some. People are variably sensitive to the lights on their DVRs and clocks and whatnot, so arranging those things so they’re not shining at you could be helpful.

Do you have any specific bed or mattress recommendations?

My own sense is that a little softness in the upper layers is good, but some stiffness and resilience in the lower portion of the mattress—so it doesn’t just mush away completely—tends to be a good combination.

Are there certain ways to position a bed that affect sleep?

I think it’s a bit unnerving to be in a bed where you can’t see the doorway. You also have to look at the window situation at night, because if you end up with a big streetlight next to your window, you’re going to have to put blackout curtains up. It’s a good idea to look at the room in the dark with the shades up and see what you’re going to have to contend with. And if you look in the summertime, when the trees are all full of leaves, there may not be an issue until the winter.

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