We’ve all been there: Our subconscious mischievously waking us up in the middle of the night and taunting us with unresolved arguments, looming to-do lists, and general feelings of anxiety. It turns out, it’s not necessarily just the result of a bad day—our environment can have a lot to do with it.
“The ideal bedroom at night has the energy of a womb,” explains feng shui expert Rodika Tchi. “It should be nourishing, powerful, quiet, healing, protective.” Correct us if we’re wrong, but wombs never had TVs, phones, piles of clothes, or exercise bikes—so maybe our sleeping quarters shouldn’t either. “It should be an oasis with minimal electronic pollution, soothing symbolism, neutral colors, warm textures, and maximum comfort—and it should be as dark as possible when you’re sleeping,” adds Laura Benko, author of The Holistic Home and founder of The Holistic Home Co.
To stop the incessant chatter that always seems to occur in our brains between the hours of 3 and 5 a.m., we asked the pros to explain the things that can block the energy flow in our bedrooms—and what to replace them with.
Different rooms require different types of energy. For instance, the office necessitates focus, but the bedroom is quite the opposite and should fuel relaxation and healing. Anything that goes against that shouldn’t be in your space in the first place.
“Do you have a to-do list next to your bed? Exercise equipment in your bedroom? A phone charging? These are all reminders of actions that will keep your mind running, even if you are exhausted,” explains Benko. By removing these energy drains, you’re creating the ideal environment for a restorative night’s sleep. Instead, focus on soft fabrics and warm lighting to help you wind down.
If you often feel lonely or sad, it’s time you figure out what could be causing these feelings in your space: “A chair in the corner, a singular vase or artwork with one image; these are all bombarding your subconscious with the same message,” says Benko. She suggests pairing up objects like lamps and paintings and paying attention to surrounding yourself with items that truly uplift your spirits à la Marie Kondo.
Tchi recommends carving out a spot where you can express your creativity and self-love to relieve sadness and loneliness: “Having a space for regular meditation also helps release these feelings without either grasping onto them, repressing them, or denying them.”
Disturbing Sounds or Smells
Do you fall asleep to squealing brakes and sporadic honking or whiffs from your dinner a few hours earlier? Rethink your entire sensory experience. Air quality is important to ensure your sleep goes undisrupted, and Tchi swears by essential oils and soothing music to create the right energy that will help you recharge.
We think of organization as an inherently good thing, but one type can actually be disruptive—storage under the bed, which can lower the energy of those sleeping on top of it. “You don’t need as much stuff as you think you do,” says Benko, who proposes paring down, donating, or tossing useless items until the area is empty. “Think of clutter as an energetic anchor that is bringing you down, lessening your vitality, and stagnating any fresh opportunities from coming your way.”
Many experts tout plants’ air-purifying properties, which are great for a good night’s sleep, but some feng shui pros warn against having too many of them. Plants are part of what in feng shui is called the “wood element,” which is known to have expansive energy and can disturb people who have trouble sleeping. On the other hand, says Tchi, crystals and candles bring the fire and earth elements, which are believed to ignite passion, success, and stability, all important for well-being.
Too Many Scaled-Down Pieces
In cramped bedrooms, we tend to fill our spaces with equally tiny furniture and tchotchkes, but Tchi warns that this can stifle your creative side. “One of the mistakes people often make is to settle for small items, while the opposite can actually bring much more life,” she says. Instead, she recommends big-scale pieces and large art to expand your perspective.
As for the large items, their position is equally important: When arranging your bedroom, Benko recommends placing the bed so that you can see the entrance without being in direct alignment with it. Your back should be up against a wall, but not directly under a window. This is what energy flow specialists call the commanding position, where you have control. “In general, the less furniture the better, the less items the better,” says Tchi. “You want fresh and nourishing sensual energy in the bedroom.” All that’s left to do is drift into the best slumber of your life.
Discover more tips to help you sleep better:
Painting Your Bedroom This Color Causes Insomnia, Says Roman and Williams
What Actually Happens to Your Body When You Get Enough Sleep
I’ve Tried Every Trendy Sleep Product—These 6 Actually Work