5 Things That Don't Belong In Your Bed

11/23/2014 09:09 am ET | Updated Nov 23, 2014
  • Sarah Klein Senior Editor, Health & Fitness; Certified Personal Trainer
BLOOMimage via Getty Images

Setting up the perfect sleep haven only requires a few things: The bedroom should be cool, dark and quiet and feel like a true respite from the hectic world outside those four walls.

But there are a handful of things the ideal bedroom layout definitely does not include. Here are a few of the things we'd like to see banned from bed -- for good -- and why you'll be better off by banishing them to another room.

1. Your Phone
We've heard all your excuses for keeping your phone in or near your bed: You use it as an alarm, you don't have a landline and fear missing an emergency call, you love a late-night refresh of your Instagram feed. But there are about as many reasons why keeping your phone at arm's reach is ruining your sleep. The most obvious: Every time it beeps or buzzes, it's likely to disturb your slumber. But even the light from your phone can cause problems: The artificial blue light emitted from smartphones and other electronic devices triggers arousal in the brain and tampers with the body's production of sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep if you use your phone too close to bedtime. Leave it in another room -- in airplane mode -- and turn the volume up on your alarm.

2. Work
working in bed
For one thing, you're probably doing said work on a light-emitting laptop, tablet or smartphone, which should already be banned from the bedroom. But turning your sleep haven into a makeshift office conditions your brain to expect to work in that space when it should be conditioned for sleep. Around 80 percent of young professionals admit to working in bed, but doing so weakens "the mental association between your bedroom and sleep," according to Harvard's Division of Sleep Medicine.

3. Pets
We know many pet owners feel strongly about spending some serious snuggle time with their furry friends, but sharing your bed with a pet is only welcoming disruptions to your slumber. Every time that cuddly animal moves or meows, you're likely to wake up. In fact, about 30 percent of pet owners who share their beds report waking up at least once a night, according to 2014 research. Pets also bring with them dust, pollen and dander from their daytime adventures, putting you at risk for possible allergic reactions.

4. Food
eating in bed
Yes, breakfast in bed sounds glamorous, but crumbs in bed certainly do not. For hygiene purposes alone, food just doesn't belong in the bedroom. But eating there doesn't fit with the narrative of your sleep routine, either. "I would suggest not eating in bed at all," Kadi Dulude, the owner of New York City cleaning service Wizard Of Homes, told HuffPost Home. "Keep the bedroom as a sacred place where you go to rest."

5. Books
Even those of us who are the most devoted to good sleep hygiene probably dabble in a little light reading before sleep here and there. But sleep experts continuously stress that the bedroom should be for two things and two things only: sleep and sex.

If you're reading a tearjerker, a page-turner or anything too stimulating, you might be riling yourself up instead of winding down, as anyone who has stayed up too late to finish a chapter can attest. Exciting, emotional and intellectually demanding activities before bed -- including reading -- can result in poor quality sleep. A little light reading can still be a good way to relax before bed, just try to keep it outside the bedroom.

Also on HuffPost:

Sleep Quotes

CONVERSATIONS