Does a messy bedroom affect sleep? Sleep experts give us the definitive answer

Your sleep quality and wellbeing depends on your organizational habits – here's how to ensure your room is ready for the perfect slumber

Bedroom decorated in Blackthorn by Morris and Co
(Image credit: Project by Zoe Feldman / photograph by Stacy Zarin Goldberg)

From Cluttercore to maximalism, the world of interiors is no stranger to busy design trends. However, for all their fun, they can make your bedroom messy, and that can affect the quality of your sleep, say experts.  

Clutter does have negative connotations, but it is an inevitable (and somewhat personal) part of every home. And recent design movements (spurred particularly by social media) have given us every permission to fill our rooms with meaningful things. However, if you're looking for ways to sleep better, the solution could simply come down to decluttering and tidying up.

So, while the question of whether a messy bedroom affects sleep has always been important, current bedroom trends mean it is even more important to know the effects of mess on your sleep and, inevitably, your wellbeing. Below, sleep experts give us the low down.

A blue fabric covered headboard with soft edges next to a bright orange nightstand

(Image credit: Future / Polly Wreford / Sally Denning)

Does a messy bedroom affect sleep? 

'It's important to remember how much our environment can affect our sleep. A messy and cluttered bedroom will not only affect how fast you fall asleep – but also the quality of your sleep,' says sleep expert and owner of Bed Guru Carl Walsh.  

If you're surrounded by mess and clutter before falling asleep, you are likely to feel anxious or on edge. So, even if you've invested in therapeutic paint – and found the best mattress for your posture, you're still likely to suffer a bad night's sleep.

Carl isn't alone in his observations. Robert Pagano, the co-founder at Sleepline, similarly warns against any clutter in the bedroom. 'A disorderly bedroom can be a distraction and make it difficult to relax and fall asleep,' he says. 'It can also be a source of stress, which can interfere with sleep.'

Neutral bedroom with cream walls, large headboard and pillows

(Image credit: Future)

How do messy bedrooms affect us?

Messy bedrooms may have an impact on our sleep schedules, but what makes them so influential?

'The brain is a pattern recognition machine and makes strong associations between your environment and your behavior,' says Dr. Chelsie Rohrscheib, the head sleep expert and neuroscientist at Wesper.'[Therefore] when your bedroom is calm, comfortable, and quiet, your brain will associate your bedroom with relaxation, making it much easier to relax and fall asleep.' 

When your bedroom is messy, however, your brain is overstimulated. According to Dr. Chelsie, the brain will 'quickly associate your bedroom with stress' – meaning it is harder to fall asleep in this space. 

stone bedroom with green upholstered bed, yellow and white bedding, yellow and white table lamp with wall light with yellow lampshade. Vintage side table, vintage mirror, panelling

(Image credit: Pooky)

How do you handle a messy bedroom?

Avoiding clutter and organizing your bedroom are two of the most impactful ways to promote better sleep. However, the process goes beyond simple cleaning tips. Here's what sleep experts do to promote a healthy sleep schedule. 

1. Only showcase sleep-inducing items 

The process of decluttering is one thing, but if you want to take your space further, you can do so by only exhibiting items that help you sleep better. 

'It's recommended that your bedroom should have no clutter; there should only be items that help you sleep better,' Carl says. He recommends choosing lights for their ambient lighting, white noise machines, a book, and the best luxury bedding you can find. 'All these things help send your body into a sleepy state,' he says. 

2. Deep clean your space often

Ensuring your room is clutter-free and clean is essential in maintaining a good sleep throughout the week. However, Dr. Chelsie recommends undergoing a 'deep clean at least once a week' to ensure your space continues to support your slumber without facing an overwhelming clean. This involves washing bedsheets and removing irritants that can affect the quality of your sleep, like dust.

3. Consider sleep hygiene

While it is perhaps no surprise that poor sleep hygiene is linked to a bad night's rest, Robert reminds us of the biggest problems that can impact your routine. 'Sleeping in a noisy environment or eating late at night can increase the risk of developing a sleep disorder,' he says. So, while it is tempting to dine later in the evening, it may be worth noting if you're struggling to sleep over a long period of time. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.