How Your Cluttered Home May Be Subtly Sabotaging Your Sleep

Yet another reason to keep your space clean.

Between messy countertops, piles of laundry, dirty dishes in the sink, and floors that need vacuuming, your cleaning to-do list can sometimes feel never-ending. So what's the harm in putting off a few duties until tomorrow?

As it turns out, procrastinating on those cleaning tasks may have more serious consequences than simply creating more work for your future self. A messy home could actually be a cause of sleeping troubles, according to one survey conducted by CPAP, a sleep therapy product company.

Close up of an aqua bed frame and white dresser
Laura Moss Photography

The poll asked 1,000 Americans about how their cleaning habits affect their quality of sleep—and the results make a great case for sticking to a regular cleaning schedule. While only 26% of self-described "messy" individuals reported feeling satisfied with their sleep, habitually clean people were about twice as likely to get good quality z's.

As for what cleanliness has to do with sleep, mess-induced stress may be to blame for some bedtime troubles. The majority of survey respondents (including about 80% of clean people and over half of messy individuals) said they feel anxious when their homes are untidy.

"A clean space tells our minds that we have nothing to worry about and can therefore drift peacefully into good restorative sleep," says Chrissy Lawler, the sleep expert behind The Peaceful Sleeper. "When we're surrounded by messes, then everything feels chaotic and it's harder for our brains to shut off. We're biologically wired to produce chemicals to keep us awake if we're surrounded by chaos."

Christine Lawler

A clean space tells our minds that we have nothing to worry about and can therefore drift peacefully into good restorative sleep.

— Christine Lawler

To turn your bedroom into the ideal sleeping environment, Lawler suggests focusing on the areas directly around the bed. "The best things you can do are to tidy up your nightstand, the floor by your bed, and whatever furniture you have that is across from your bed," she says. Look for a nightstand with storage (similar to this Better Homes & Gardens Modern Farmhouse USB Nightstand, $106, Walmart) to keep clutter at bay.

bedroom with large cloth light fixture
Dave Greer

Apart from clearing clutter, washing your sheets regularly can set you up for better sleep, too. Besides the hygienic benefits of clean sheets, people who wash their bed linens more regularly report higher sleep satisfaction, according to a survey conducted by SleepJunkie, a website that reports on sleep health. For those who say they're "very satisfied" with their sleep quality, the average length of time between washes is 12.8 days (which is still over the recommended weekly washing schedule). People who report being "very unsatisfied" with their sleep, however, take an average of 19.9 days between laundry trips. That extra week's delay in laundering your linens could have a significant impact on how well you sleep, which is no surprise considering the soothing feeling of climbing into a bed with freshly washed sheets.

Other housekeeping tasks, like making your bed each day, may also help you rest easier. Though it's not necessarily a cure-all for every sleep issue, a neatly made bed with a soothing duvet cover (like this Better Homes & Gardens Solid Color Contrast Border Linen Flange Duvet Cover Set, $58, Walmart) can make you feel calmer and more in control, Lawler says, which helps the brain associate your bed with restfulness.

So the next time you're having trouble sleeping, make like Marie Kondo and try a little tidying up.

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