For Sleep and Sex Only: 4 Ways to Eliminate Bedroom Distractions

The bedroom TV habit is hard to kick and bad for z's.
It's the cardinal rule of sleep hygiene: Your bedroom should be a calming, comfortable haven—designated for sleep and sex only. The more clutter and distractions you're up against at night, the harder it will be to transition into sleep.

"One of the biggest mistakes people make in their bedrooms is they try to cram too much in there," says Gary Zammit, PhD, director of the Sleep Disorders Institute in New York City. "They use it as an office and as an entertainment room right up until the clock strikes 10, and expect to just hit the lights and fall asleep. But the brain doesn't work that way."

Remove mental stimulants
"I made the error two years ago when I moved into my house to put a television in the bedroom," says Laura, 36, a marketing executive in Atlanta. "I'd never had a television in the bedroom before, and once you have it, it's hard to get rid of it."

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Laura recently began attending cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions to help decrease her dependence on sleeping pills. "One of the behavioral modifications I'm trying to work on is not watch TV in the bedroom. My sleep specialist has made it clear that the bedroom is for two things that start with an S, not for television."

The television may be the most popular sleep disturbance in American bedrooms, but it's not the only one. You should also get rid of computers, paperwork, exercise equipment—anything that might remind you of other things you could or should be doing after you've gone to bed.

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Lead writer: Lisa Fields
Last Updated: April 09, 2008

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