In the first of a series of guest posts or ‘sleep stories’ as we like to call them TV presenter Aggie MacKenzie looks at the impact of clutter on a good night’s sleep . . .
“We all have clutter – stuff we no longer use or even like – but having too much of it in your home can start to get under your skin and mess with your mind (although you may not be conscious of this). The result could be interference with your sleep patterns.
I’ve been into bedrooms (when I co-presented How Clean is your House?) where I’ve viewed the room from the door (no chance of further access unless I mounted the piles of detritus and, frankly, often the pungent body odours were enough of a deterrent not to want to venture forth) and used to wonder how the occupants actually made it to bed, never mind got to sleep. But maybe they felt somehow cocooned and comfortable, the mounds acting as a kind of barricade against the outside world? Either way, it’s just not healthy!
I know that too much clutter in your life can leave you depressed, agitated, disorganized, overwhelmed, anxious, lethargic . . . and none of these states of mind is conducive to sleeping well!
Last year I presented a series for ITV daytime called Storage Hoarders. These people in general had tidy houses but too much stuff (say after downsizing or the death of a parent, and not knowing what to do with it all, so ‘park it for a short time’, which becomes a long time). Storage centres are expensive (one contributor racked up over £80,000 in fees) . . . surely the financial strain alone would keep you awake at night!
Another contributor, whose storage unit contents we sorted, emptied and sold, told me that he’d had this ‘noise’ in his head for years about his stuff. When it was gone, the noise had stopped and he felt much calmer, more relaxed. Noise and sleep are not good bedfellows, and I like to think he now wakes up each day feeling much livelier.
I believe a well-ordered life is key to achieving a good night’s sleep. Whether it’s physical clutter in your home or emotional clutter in your mind, if you can put things in order as much as is feasible, you’ll be in better stead to knock out the zzzs.
Start clearing today . . .
In your bedroom, go through your clothes and take to the charity shop all those items you’ve not worn for ages and, if you’re honest with yourself, will never wear again. Don’t think about how much they cost – the money’s gone now. (And follow my mantra: if in doubt, chuck it out.) These things can have a new life and be enjoyed by someone else (and the charity benefits too).
When you’ve got rid of the things you don’t wear, you’ll be able to see much more clearly what you do have. And forget keeping things for ‘best’ – enjoy wearing them today!
Take a good look at all the items in your bedroom, and you’ll realize there are things you don’t use or even like that much. Let go of excess stuff – you’ll feel so much better!
If you have too many things running around in your head, keep a notebook and pencil by your bed and before you shut your eyes jot anything down that you need to remember for the morning. Then lay your empty head on the pillow and slip off to sleep. . .
© Aggie MacKenzie. www.aggiemackenzie.co.uk