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Is Clutter Costing You Your Sleep?

Is Clutter Costing You Your Sleep?



People spend 1/3 of their lives in their bedroom. Are you getting enough zzz's when you're there? If your room is cluttered chances are you're not. Research has proven that the messiness of a room leads to affected sleep patterns.


A study done by the Academy of Sleep Medicine showed those at risk of hoarding disorder may have serious complaints about sleep. Basically the more clutter you have in the bedroom, the more likely you will develop a sleep disorder.


Ultimately cluttered bedrooms:

  • overwhelm our minds with extreme stimuli causing our senses to be on overdrive
  • prevent us from relaxing both physically and mentally
  • cause us to have increased feelings of anxiety
  • create feelings of guilt and frustration around how and when we will tackle the mess


So as our sleep decreases, our risk for stress, depression, and slower thinking increases. People with hoarding disorder typically have poor decision-making skills and weak executive functioning, factor in poor sleep and it further compromises the cognitive processes in general. 


Now I know, from having worked with people struggling with hoarding and chronic disorganization, that they report they don't even notice the clutter and it doesn't bother them much and that may be true. They may be so acclimated to it, they've become "clutter-blind." But in actuality, our brain unconsciously recognizes the mess and wants to complete the task and it can make us feel anxious and unsettled, which in turn makes it difficult to fall asleep. 


So what does one do? The answer is to work on decluttering the bedroom as much as possible. Your sleep space should be your sanctuary. I've outlined some tips in a previous post about ways to unclutter your bedroom as a guide. Then again, you could always call a Productivity & Organizing Professional to help you!


Is it time to make getting more sleep a goal this season? We can help!


Categories: Mental Health / Hoarding


  • Kim
    Yes I totally agree about the clutter blindness. It’s interesting that it can still affect people even when they are not aware of it. I see clutter that’s been around for awhile as stuck energy. It can become invisible but it’s still there. Thank you for the reminder.
    3/5/2018 4:09:29 PM Reply
    • @Kim: I like that you bring up the energy piece. At our last NAPO-CT meeting, we had a feng shui expert give a presentation and she talked about the energy in bedrooms, especially that you should have nothing under the bed so that the energy or chi can move freely throughout the room. The more clutter you have the more blockages are likely which can impact how we feel and function.
      3/6/2018 5:04:42 PM Reply
  • I agree. We are affected by the clutter in our bedrooms. I experienced this personally when we were changing the flooring in my daughter's room. She had 2 large IKEA cabinets that needed to be stored in our bedroom near my bed. I found that it was hard for me to fall asleep and when I was asleep, it was hard for me to sleep deeply. After a few days, I found the cabinets didn't bother me as much but noticed that I was anxious and wanted the room to be completed as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing your expertise.
    3/5/2018 1:49:48 PM Reply
    • @Sabrina Quairoli: I would have felt the same way, Sabrina. Having those big looming pieces of furniture in my sleep space would have caused me unrest too! And I do believe I remember that post about your daughter's flooring - I remember the cork looked amazing!
      3/6/2018 5:02:44 PM Reply
  • When we think about designing our spaces to support our needs, the idea of creating a "sleep" sanctuary in our bedroom makes so much sense. If the purpose of our bedroom is to sleep, relax, and be intimate, then organizing it to look the part is key. If the bedroom is overrun with clutter, the room can make it feel anti-sanctuary. Thank you for sourcing out the sleep study. This supports the experience I've had with helping clients create calm, clutter-free bedrooms with one of the outcomes for them being improved sleep.
    3/5/2018 9:04:47 AM Reply
    • @Linda Samuels: Thanks for chiming in, Linda. Yes, sometimes having the research to back up what we tell our clients helps get them on board. Who wouldn't want a sleep sanctuary and improved sleep?!
      3/6/2018 5:01:12 PM Reply
  • I have a client that showed me 4 spaces in her home that she wanted to work on with me and I suggested that we start in her bedroom because I thought we could make the biggest impact. Sure enough, the next day she told me it was the first time in years that she slept for 6+ hours straight.
    3/5/2018 8:36:33 AM Reply
    • @Lisa Tonjes Moritz: Wow! Thanks for sharing that story about your client. It reinforces how our environments truly do affect our functioning. You surely proved one of the benefits of hiring a PO with that woman. :)
      3/6/2018 5:00:10 PM Reply
  • I am very 'environmentally aware,' so I can certainly believe this is true. I've been with people whose bedrooms are quite cluttered, and I'm not sure if they would acknowledge that their clutter causes worse sleep. I am interested to read that your mind remains aware of the clutter, even if you don't realize it. Wow! I'm working with a client on her bedroom this afternoon - now I'm even more inspired:)
    3/2/2018 8:44:42 AM Reply
    • @Seana Turner: I like that term 'environmentally aware.' It's amazing the longer we do this work, how in tune we become to surroundings. I hope you were able to share some of this info with your client!
      3/6/2018 4:57:28 PM Reply

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