How Healthy Is Your Bedroom?

Research shows we spend a third of our lives there. (That's about 26 years, people!) Answer our questions to ensure yours is a sanctuary that recharges you for the other two-thirds of your life.

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Does your mattress leave you achy?

You can nod off on a hard or soft surface, as long as it feels comfy and supportive. "It's best to keep the same spine alignment while sleeping and standing," says chiropractor Scott Bautch, a spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association. To see if your mattress is working for you, lie in your normal sleeping position and ask a friend or partner to check whether your spine looks straight. (If they envision a string running between your belly button and nose, it should look taut, not droopy.) If your back is sagging or curved, a pillow top can offer extra support that conforms to your body. Wondering if you need a new mattress? It depends on wear and tear, but most should be replaced after seven years, says Bautch.

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Are you using plant power?

Plants absorb indoor air toxins, which make them great sleep companions. Allergy sufferers may not want them by the bed, however, because their soil and the moisture they add to the air can be mold risks, says Estelle Levetin, PhD, a professor of biological science at the University of Tulsa.

Does your pillow protect your neck?

Your pillow should support the gap between your neck and the bed so your head doesn't bend awkwardly in any direction. Soft pillows work well because you can move the stuffing around to fill your neck's curve. One worth trying: the Casper Pillow, which features a cushy outer layer that adapts to your neck, plus a firm inner core ($75,

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Are your walls calming?

Picking paint is a personal choice, but color experts agree that blue tends to help many people feel serene. Soft, water-hued shades can reduce stress, says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. Pale green, periwinkle, and lavender also work well in bedrooms, she says, but what matters the most is how a color makes you feel. "Within any palette, you can look for a lighter, matte-finish shade that will have a more soothing effect," says Eiseman. "There's comfort in neutrals and pastels, because they don't invoke a strong psychological reaction." In other words, you want your bedroom walls to make you say aaah, not whoa.

Is the air too dry?

An inexpensive hardware store hydrometer can measure humidity ­levels — 35 to 50 percent is just right. Low levels? A humidifier can help congestion and dry skin, but be wary if you have allergies. If it's above that range, consider a dehumidifier to thwart allergy-causing dust mites and mold.

Is your bedding breathable?

Staying cool gives you a more peaceful snooze (research shows that a drop in body temp may make us drowsy), so opt for sheets and comforters made of fabrics like cotton and down — they're better at letting heat escape than synthetics.

Do you battle over the covers?

If you fight the hot/cold war with your partner, there's a solution. dual-weight comforters let you choose the perfect warmth for your side. Staff couples tested and loved the LaCrosse Dual-Weight Comforter ($209-$319, and the Cuddledown Synthetic Fill Dual Warmth Comforter ($167-$207,

Is your tube too close to the bed?

Bedroom TVs have been linked to lower amounts of sleep (and weight gain), and research shows that the glow they give off may even mess with your blood pressure. If you can't drop your watch-in-the-sack habit, at least keep the TV far from the bed. "This exposes you to less sleep-disrupting blue light," says Neubauer.

Is your nightstand dreamy?

Put serene and calming items by your bed, such as family photos or favorite books. Another healthy idea: lavender spray. "Spritzing it onto your pillow is known to be soothing," says Israel. We love Aromatherapy Pillow Mist in Lavender Chamomile ($10,

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