Here's How to Turn Your Bedroom Into an Actual Sleep Sanctuary

This month, we're determined to help you catch more z's. We've partnered with Equinox to build a sleep challenge guaranteed to help you feel more well-rested by October's end. Each week, we'll tackle one science-backed strategy to help you work toward getting more quality sleep. This week, we're talking about how to prime your bedroom for optimal shut-eye—from the right temperature to the ideal bedside accessories.

While the 12-week sleep makeover I took part in at Equinox this summer taught me many things—namely, how to mitigate the stress that was throwing my snooze cycles completely out whack—I walked into the experience confident about at least one aspect of my routine. I realized long ago that a beautiful, cozy bedroom is a worthy investment for the sake of both my insomnia and my mental health, and I pride myself on the temperature-regulated, palo santo–scented sanctuary I've built. 

"Creating an environment for quality sleep is something that most people can control," says Kenneth Laing, the Equinox Tier-X trainer who served as my sleep coach this summer. "Because of that, this can be an easy first step toward improving sleep."

Of course, a lot of this comes down to personal preference. I recognize that my inclination to wind down with some scented candles and old records might not prove as relaxing to someone else. But there are a few universal, science-backed truths to building an optimal environment for sleep. Keep reading to see what they are.