One thing we all have in common – no matter our race, gender, location, educational background, vocation, socioeconomic status, or any other category you can think of – is that our environments influence our lives, including our health, relationships, and general level of happiness. One of the most significant environments we encounter on a regular basis is the place where we live. In fact, research suggests that the average person spends some 65 percent of their entire life inside their home environment!
The home you create is more than just what you see; it’s also about what you smell and hear, the textures you touch, the air quality, temperature, and humidity. There are other things that factor into your home environment too, like the level of cleanliness, the ease of movement, and the level of safety and security that you feel when you’re at home. Through the input of your five senses, your environment has a profound impact on your overall state of wellness, and now there’s science to prove it!
Harvard University has released a web-based report from its Healthy Buildings Program entitled Homes for Health, where researchers have compiled scientific data that demonstrates the profound influence our homes have on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. As researcher and Healthy Buildings Program lead Joe Allen puts it, “Home is where the heart is. It’s a figurative expression, but it’s literal too because it’s actually where your heart is spending a majority of its time.”
So why not transform your home environment into a place where you can flourish? Make your home into a sanctuary that supports the health of you and your family, a springboard that supports your vitality, productivity, and positivity every day of your life. You can begin right now!
The Homes for Health report goes on to flag specific areas of focus for each room or section of the home and provides 36 expert tips to help create a healthier home environment. Some of the tips offered by the report include:
- Don’t wear shoes in the house.
- Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated with an exhaust hood.
- Vacuum regularly with a HEPA filter.
- Keep your bedroom cool at night.
- Choose furniture and carpets without harmful chemicals.
Creating a Healthier Bedroom
Looking closer at the bedroom (one of our favorite rooms here at Jennifer Adams!), a healthier space means better, more restful sleep. The Homes for Health report offers these 5 expert tips for improving the health of your bedroom:
Train your brain. Make your bedroom a conducive sleep environment by removing distractions and things that keep your brain stimulated. For example, put away your electronics, and protect your bedroom as a “work-free,” relaxing zone.
Black out, and blue out. You’ll rest better in a dark environment, so keep the lights dim. When it’s time for bed, it helps to take advantage of room-darkening shades or a sleep mask. Make sure to limit your exposure to light from blue screens, as well. Studies indicate that blue light stimulates the brain, and can even keep it stimulated for a couple of hours after turning off these devices, too.
Clean the air. Adding a portable HEPA air purifier to your bedroom (or using a whole-house air purifying system) can do wonders for helping you to breathe easier and sleep better.
Keep your cool. Setting a nighttime target temperature between 65°F to 70°F has been shown to help create a more optimal sleep environment.
Keep it quiet. Block out intermittent or unexpected noise with white noise from an air purifier or fan. You could also try playing some quiet, relaxing music to help get you in the mood for falling asleep.
As you can see, the majority of these tips are simple, inexpensive, and can be implemented immediately. But it all starts with the realization that your overall well-being is directly linked to the quality of your home environment. Your home is an extension of you, so when you take the time to create a nurturing home environment, you’re really helping to nurture yourself. Simple shifts in your habits at home can make a huge impact on the rest of your life, so don’t wait for “someday”; take action now and begin to create a healthier home where you can really thrive!