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To Sleep Soundly, Organize Your Life!

Are you someone who loves to have a place for everything and everything in its place? Do you color code your closet and create nerdy labels for everything? Are you religious about checking off tasks?

Or maybe those questions are rather hilarious to you. Maybe the busyness of life has made organization seem like a distant dream and clutter more the norm than the exception.

Regardless of where we all fall in the messy-neat spectrum, here’s a little plug for organization: research shows that minimizing the clutter of life, especially in the bedroom, can have a positive impact on sleep.

For example, a 2011 research paper published in The Journal of Neuroscience discussed how multiple visual stimuli “compete” for attention in the brain. We pay attention to some while ignoring others. But stimuli still require the brain to complete processes to determine what’s relevant in the moment. Basically, it takes work for your brain to ignore clutter.

Think about it—extra things lying around represent more than physical objects—they represent different pieces of life. They jog your memory and serve as reminders for this and that.

And the last thing you want at bedtime is to be thinking about a ton of random stuff. That’s why so many of us can’t fall asleep at night. Because we’re thinking about things we should address in the following day or week or month…

Yep. Clutter is stressful—if for no other reason that naturally neat people think about how they should clean it up when they see it. It may seem like a small thing, but day after day that mental clutter adds up and makes peaceful rest more elusive.

To minimize those pesky little thoughts clogging up the back of your mind, de-clutter your nightstands and dressers. Decorate your sleeping space with visually quiet, restful things and allow for plenty of clean, open space—especially on those flat spaces in your room that just love to collect piles.

Even if you’re one of those for whom organization seems out of reach right now—give yourself permission to start with your bedroom. Even if your house is a wreck, your sleeping space at least can be restful, and it’s a lot more manageable than trying to make everything perfect!

Clean physical space will help to make your bedroom a sanctuary and open up space in your mind for better sleep.

Sleep tight, Urbanites!