Experts Agree You Shouldn’t Keep These Items in the Bedroom

Julia Clum - December 31, 2022
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Despite sleeping there every night, you may not have given much thought to the items in your bedroom. Everyone has different lifestyles, nighttime routines, and morning habits, but we all keep similar items in our bedrooms. In this article, we’ve collected the opinions of experts on what you should and shouldn’t keep in your bedroom. Bedrooms should always be a place of rest, first and foremost. Most of the items on this list are things that hinder your rest. So, if you’re wondering what’s ruining your sleep, read on!

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Television

We know it feels relaxing to unwind with Netflix in bed after a long day’s work, but is it worth sacrificing your sleep? Experts point out that a bright television light prevents melatonin, the sleep hormone, from being released. Secondly, finishing a cliffhanger episode can leave you hyper-alert, and let’s be honest, who stops watching after a cliffhanger? Cliffhangers lead to binge-watching, leading to you staying up far later than you intended. A TV in the bedroom will do nothing for your sleep; get rid of it and your body will thank you.

If you must keep a TV in your bedroom, turn it off an hour before bed. This keeps your circadian rhythm (the natural cycle of sleeping and waking) intact. You’ll also produce melatonin as you naturally would. If you want to watch a show, then choose something light-hearted or familiar. Violent, intense, or emotional shows can leave some people anxious afterward, and this hurts your ability to sleep.

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An Old Mattress

There are many tell-tale signs your mattress is beginning to degrade. Excessive aches and pains, poor sleep, and even allergy symptoms can all point to a too-old mattress. Not only will you feel grumpy due to poor sleep, but your health will begin to decline. Old mattresses are a hub for years and years of skin cells, bacteria, dust, and mold. Without a replacement, you breathe in loads of the collected nastiness. A sagging mattress gives your spine less support, causing pain and pressure on your neck and back.

The benefits of a good night’s sleep are unmatched by almost anything else. Sleep is your body’s time to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. Both your memory and mood will improve with enough sleep. Lack of sleep is linked to obesity, a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Save your body and health by investing in a quality mattress. Do your research and chose the right mattress for your sleeping position, age, and weight.

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Food

Eating food in bed feels like the height of luxury, but in reality, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Crumbs will inevitably fall into your sheets, rugs, and clothes, and make your room feel nasty. For optimal sleep, your bed needs to feel like a place of solely rest. Bringing food into bed confuses your brain about the purpose of your bed. Furthermore, the fallen food makes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria or even bugs. If you consistently find bugs in your room, eating food in there could be the reason.

However, drinking drinks in bed, specifically, teas can enhance your sleep. Chamomile is a popular tea for improving sleep quality, but there aren’t any studies definitively showing it reduces insomnia. However, Magnolia tea enhances sleep and reduces insomnia. Decaf green tea helps your sleep and also reduces anxiety. If you have the munchies before bed, don’t reach for the chips, brew some tea instead.

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Your Cell Phone

Similar to the TV, your phone’s blue light and distractions will destroy your sleep. It is so tempting to scroll until your eyes get heavy, but this prevents melatonin from being released, makes you stay up later, and the light is bad for your eyes. Social media is designed to be addictive, giving a continual release of dopamine (the “reward” hormone). The addictive quality of scrolling keeps you up later; you always want to see what’s next. Overloading dopamine is correlated with insomnia.

Turning your brain off before bed with social media feels so relaxing, but it will hurt you in the long run. Consider reading the book that’s sat untouched on your bedside table for months. ASMR, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, has trended across platforms like YouTube, and millions of people fall asleep listening to it. Meditation also increases relaxation and well-being. The phone can be so tempting, but the dopamine overload will ruin your sleep.

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Bright Colors

Believe it or not, the color you paint your bedroom walls can impact both your mood and sleep. Painting your room with bright, warm colors can increase feelings of excitement or passion. Gloomy colors like dark brown can seem cozy, but they can make you feel unmotivated in the morning. The absolute best colors you can paint your room are soft blues and greens. These colors are relaxing without seeming dull, perfect for both sleeping and waking.

Colors play such a significant role in atmosphere and mood, restaurants pick their interior colors to influence customer moods. Fancy, intimate restaurants use darker and richer colors to give the feeling of romance and luxury. Almost all restaurants avoid blues and purples because blue has been shown to reduce feelings of hunger. The bottom line, color is important when it comes to the mood of your bedroom. If you’ve colored your walls neon yellow, it could play a role in your insomnia.

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Windows Without Shades

Your body clock starts releasing melatonin two hours before “bedtime,” and darkness is the trigger for this release. You already know not to keep a TV in your bedroom or check your phone, but do your windows have shades? Blackout curtains can drastically improve your sleep, especially if you work nights. If you stay up late, you still need at least 7 hours, and black-out curtains trick your brain into sleeping longer periods.

When you need to sleep in late, black-out curtains are a necessity, but you can also use natural light in your favor when needed. If you’ve been trying and failing to wake up earlier, allow natural light to shine in the mornings. This wakes you up more gradually than an alarm clock and makes it easier to get out of bed quickly. Your body is naturally meant to keep time with the sun, so use it in your favor.

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A Desk or Other Work Materials

Sometimes, when trying to sleep, your brain can just refuse to shut up. Thinking about a stressful day, excitement, or upcoming events can all cause your brain to work overtime at night. It can feel impossible to stop the thought train, and having work materials in your bedroom can only make this problem worse. Keeping a desk or a computer in your sleeping quarters can trigger your brain into thinking when it needs to rest. Solve this stress trigger by keeping your work away from your bedroom.

Over time, when you remove work materials, your brain will begin to associate the bed with solely rest. As soon as you climb under the covers, you will begin to relax. The separation will also help you associate your desk with productivity since you’re no longer sleeping next to it. If there is one space in your house that should NOT be multipurpose, it is the bedroom.

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Halogen Bulbs

Remember how light stops melatonin from being released? Halogen bulbs produce a bright blue “daylight” glow, which will prevent sleep just like an electronic screen will. This works great in a kitchen or craft area, but not in a bedroom. Even in areas that require a lot of light, using halogen bulbs strains the eye. These bulbs get incredibly hot; overexposure can even lead to sunburn. Touching them with your bare fingers will not only burn, but the oils from your fingers can even cause the bulb to shatter.

Red spectrum light bulbs are the best light for your bedroom. While the Halogen bulb prohibits melatonin, red light induces melatonin. You’ll sleep much more soundly in the calming red spectrum light. If you don’t want to feel like a reptile under a heat lamp, you can purchase red spectrum lights that appear to be “normal” colors. That way, you avoid the red glow, but still, prioritize your sleep and well-being.

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Portable Heaters

Sleeping while cold is torture, but the remedy should never be a portable heater. Switching on the heater can fill the air with deadly carbon monoxide while you sleep. If you suffer from asthma or respiratory problems, a heater can worsen them. Being cold is hard, but it’s better to wake up cold than never wake up at all. Even if you have a great home ventilation system, heaters carry far more cons than pros. Heaters deplete moisture content from the air, leaving your skin cracked and dry. When moving from a heated room to a cold room, you undergo temperature fluctuations, which can lead to a weakened immune system. When using a portable heater, use it when you will be wide awake.

There are tons of ways to keep the house warm without a portable heater. Make sure your windows and doors are properly sealed, and allow lots of sunlight to shine through the windows during the day. Close off unused rooms, and shut the vents in those rooms to distribute heat to other parts of the house. Wood and tile floors freeze your feet, so put down some warm rugs. Anything is better than risking your life with carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Pets

Cuddling with your pet can be the best part of your day, but they can ruin your rest. Making noise, moving around, and sitting on you are all staples of the nighttime cuddle experience. Indoor/outdoor pets can bring germs, dirt, and even fleas to your bed. Sleeping next to a cat increases your chances of catching Cat-Scratch Disease. Allergies can significantly worsen. You’re not just cuddling with your pet, you’re cuddling with every bug, fifth, and bacteria attached to them. The price your health pays is not worth a few extra cuddles at night.

Dog crates provide a safe and secure place for your furry friend to sleep. Dogs need a safe space where they can self-soothe, avoid stress, and relax. Sleeping in a crate will provide that security. While a crate can seem confining or cruel, the vast majority of dog trainers and vets see them as a necessity. However, you can just let your dog sleep where it wants in the house, as long as it’s not the bed.

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Headphones

When struggling to turn off your brain, music can be a great tool. However, if you’re in the habit of falling asleep to your favorite tunes, consider taking a break. Falling asleep with your headphones on is a health risk and can lead to permanent ear damage. Furthermore, most young people are listening to music too loudly. Studies have also shown that music can impair your ability to wake up in an emergency. Think about it, do you really want to be dependent on headphones to fall asleep and risk your hearing?

Ditch the headphones, and if you still want music, play something very soft within reaching distance from your bed. While experts haven’t decided on the best genre for sleeping, they do theorize that music 60-80 bpm is optimal for sleep. This is because your heart’s natural rhythm is 60-100 bpm. Some people may assume that classical or low-fi is the best for sleep, but it is actually best to choose the music that fits your personal preferences.

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Exercise equipment

Much like work materials, exercise does not belong in your place of rest. Homes can be cramped, maybe that’s the only space you have for it, but really try to move it if you can. Working out right before bed can hinder sleep. If you’re not using it, it can add to the clutter and disorganization of your room. Plus, if you’re keeping it there to hopefully remind yourself to work out, it’s time to be real. Having exercise equipment in your room while not using it will only increase feelings of guilt.

However, exercising earlier in the day can greatly enhance sleep. Stress is a major inducer of insomnia, and exercise has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Even just 10 minutes of exercise releases endorphins that bring down stress. Even sleep disorders such as insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be reduced with exercise. Not only that, you’ll fall asleep quicker and more easily. Exercise often, just not in your bedroom.

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Old Pillows

Experts agree you should replace your pillows every 1-2 years, so it’s time, to be honest about the last time you replaced yours. Pillows are comforting, sometimes sentimental, and familiar, so they can be tough to replace. However, replacing your pillows keeps them clean, supportive, and free of allergens. You’ll know it’s time to replace it when you see lumps, you wake with a sore neck, or if it’s uncomfortable. Old pillows can cause acne breakouts from all the dust, bacteria, and mold they collect. Washing your pillowcase is not enough; we’ve all seen the ugly yellow stains on the surface of our pillows.

Replacing your pillows is a pain, so avoid the pain by taking good care of them in the first place. Memory foam should not go in the wash or dryer; spot-clean it as needed. Some down/feather pillows can be washed, and some cannot so be sure to check the tag. Polyfoam also needs to be spot cleaned, but they actually last 2-3 years before needing a replacement. Your pillowcases need to be washed at least once a week. If you’re struggling with acne, sometimes all you need to fix it is a pillowcase wash.

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Charging Cords

Do you enjoy living in a house that has not burned down? Continue to enjoy it by keeping electrical cords far away from your bed. You already know better than to keep your phone in your bedroom, and its charger is a hazard to your safety. Electrical cords are always emitting heat; you usually just don’t notice in a larger room. Under a blanket, however, the heat has no way to escape and can potentially catch fire. This is one of the most common ways fires start.

Furthermore, it’s far too easy to damage a cord when it’s strewn across the bed. A small twist or turn in your bed can become a rip in your cord, which can become a burn on your body. Many people roll their cords into circles to store them, but bending chords makes them more likely to acquire damage. No amount of phone scrolling is worth the fire hazard, find somewhere else to charge your phone.

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Clutter

A study at St. Lawrence university showed that a messy bedroom led to poor sleep and increased anxiety. It’s no surprise that messy rooms are unpleasant to be in, and your bedroom needs to be as welcoming and restful as possible. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also increase feelings of guilt to look at the mess every day. You spend about a third of your life in your bedroom; you owe it to yourself to keep it clean. Even if all your home is messy, your room should be your one sanctuary of rest.

Keeping your room clean doesn’t have to be super difficult. Clean as you go instead of all at once. Any kind of trash, dishes, or clothes needs to be cleaned up as soon as you’re done with it. Beginning and ending every day in a clean and pleasant space will increase your happiness and lessen your feelings of stress. Even better, cleaning your room will save time. Every item will have a place, and you won’t waste precious minutes trying to find things.

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Old Linens

Just like pillows, bed sheets need to be changed roughly every two years. The fabric will eventually wear down, and sweat and oil won’t wash off the fabric as easily. Dust or dander allergies will be exacerbated. Changing your bedsheets improves your sleep, and potential allergies, and makes your room much more hygienic. Experts recommended you keep three sets of sheets per bed: one on the mattress, one for the wash, and one for the linen closet.

Make your bedsheets last as long as possible by taking good care of them. Always refer to the tags for proper wash care, but there are several general rules you can follow. First, don’t overcrowd the washer, this will cause wrinkles and pilling. Second, avoid hot temperatures, which can lead to color bleeding and shrinkage. Lastly, as soon as the wash finishes, place them in the dryer immediately to prevent wrinkles. Take good care of your sheets, and they will take good care of you and your sleep.

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Hygiene Products

We’ve already established your bedroom is a place of rest. It’s not a place for work, exercise, or anything else. Following this rule, you should keep your hygiene products in the bathroom where they belong. This reduces clutter in your bedroom. It also reduces the mess created by loose or spilled products. The only exception to this rule is perfume and cologne. Those cannot be stored in the bathroom; the continual changes in temperature and humidity will degrade the quality of the perfume.

You should be careful deciding what to store in your bathroom. For instance, did you know medications can also be impacted by temperature and humidity changes by changes in temperature and humidity? This is why you should keep your medications in your kitchen. Don’t store spare razor blades in the bathroom either, they can also be affected. Lastly, jewelry can be damaged by moisture in the air. Be careful when storing things!

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Nicotine

If you habitually smoke or vape, the dopamine overload can keep you from sleeping. Dopamine prohibits melatonin, and nicotine is addictive due to dopamine release. Many people find it relaxing to smoke before bed, not knowing that nicotine will worsen their sleep. Anything with addictive or dopamine-inducing properties will ruin your amount and quality of sleep. You’ll also be significantly more sleepy during the daytime.

Tobacco users are more likely to develop sleep apnea. While you sleep, your brain may go through withdrawal symptoms, leaving you irritable when you awaken. Nicotine makes you stay up later, have a hard time falling asleep, wake up in the night, and your sleep isn’t as deep. Getting up in the morning is also much more difficult. Smoking is bad for your health, but if you’re a smoker, at least try to not smoke in your room or right before bed. You’ll feel significantly better when you sleep.

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Stacks of Unread Books

Reading a book before bed is a wonderful way to unwind. It’s far healthier than watching TV or scrolling on your phone. However, if you’re guilty of leaving a huge stack of unread books on your bedside table, it’s time to clean up. Unread books only contribute to the clutter, which leaves you more stressed and guilty. Feelings of guilt and stress worsen your sleep and make being in your bedroom an unpleasant experience. Keep one or maybe two books on your bedside table; you don’t need any more than that.

Organize your books in a bookcase. This way, you have more space, and can easily grab a book when needed. You’re less likely to damage or lose a book when you keep them on a shelf. You’ll even lessen the amount of dust flying around your room since you’re not moving books around as much. Try not to read anything too scary or suspenseful right before bed; this could make you stay up later and worsen your sleep.

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Important Papers

Hopefully, you’ll never have to worry about this, but should thieves ever break into your home, they’ll steal money, jewelry, and confidential papers. Don’t keep these papers anywhere they’ll think to look. Getting a safe for your bedroom can seem extreme, but it’s the best option for keeping your papers safe. Passports, social security, birth certificates, and even your will need extra protection.

Any safe you purchase needs to be fireproof and waterproof. Have a security code instead of a key; keys are easily lost. It’s okay to keep a safe in an accessible and easy place. You won’t want to run to the basement every time you need your documents. Furthermore, putting it in say, a garage, is riskier. Garages are much more easily broken into. Most safety experts agree that the bedroom is the best place to keep you safe.

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Anything You Don’t Use Anymore

Are you a keeper of stuffed animals, clothes that don’t fit, or old love letters? It’s time to get rid of the things you don’t need anymore. Many things can carry sentimental value, and you don’t have to get rid of everything. Just throw away or donate what takes up space and doesn’t serve you. Clinging to clothes that don’t fit is never a good idea. Not only do they take up space, they won’t suit you if you wear them. Purchase clothes that fit you. Get rid of anything damaged or permanently stained.

Any extras or duplicate items need to go. Worn, old blankets can go too, you don’t need more than three in your bedroom. Again, extra items and clutter only worsen your feelings of stress and guilt, which then worsens your sleep. Outdated electronic gadgets and old phones always seem like they’ll come in handy one day, but they never do, and you will never use them. Get rid of everything that you might need “someday.” You’ll make your life much simpler and better by holding on to the things you use.

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Storage

Sometimes it’s your only option, but really try to not use your bedroom as a storage room. The bed is a place for sleep and rest, not storage. Again, this will only make your room messier and cramped. Add paintings, curtains, light fixtures; make your bedroom a beautiful place to be. Shelves should only hold pictures, piggy banks, and decorations. The closet is for clothes, shoes, and accessories only.

If you keep your donations box in your bedroom, you need to move it. Since the bedroom is off limits for storage, the best alternatives are closets, cabinets, attics, and basements. Boxes used for storage can make your bedroom seem very claustrophobic. Storing things under the bed makes hideouts for spiders. Storage is a necessity, but if at all possible, keep it out of the bedroom.

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