Creating a Smart Bedroom for Better Health and Relaxation
The ideal bedroom is not only a place of rest and relaxation, but a smart sanctuary designed to foster wellness.
Technology can bring a host of enhancements to the bedroom, from integrated lighting and window treatments that support a person’s circadian rhythms to melatonin-reducing mirrors to boost morning energy. And although some of these elements can be found throughout the home, the bedroom is often the place where they will do the most good.
“Clients are starting to prioritize health in their homes and thinking about the rooms in particular that impact overall wellness,” according to Suzanne Donegan, a Los Angeles-based designer and creative director at Suzanne Donegan Studio. “As a health-informed design consultant, I encourage my clients to invest in one room in particular—the bedroom.”
The three things that have the biggest effect on people’s biology and overall health are air, light and thermal comfort, or temperature, according to Ms. Donegan. Although these are important to keep in mind throughout the house, they are especially critical where people rest and regroup.
“If we’re looking at creating this relaxing, comfortable environment, these are the three main areas that impact restorative sleep,” she said. “And they impact our health during the day with productivity and creativity.”
The right technology can help create healthy habits, such as lights that mimic the natural light outside or dim at a certain time to cue bedtime.
“Science has shown the impact these can have on our circadian rhythm,” Ms. Donegan explained. “Adaptive smart technology can help regulate the body's internal clock…[and] boost our immune system.”
Smart systems can be scheduled to match the changing light outdoors, such as Ketra Natural Light systems, which were created to be as close to sunshine, firelight and moonbeams as possible. The LED lighting systems for the bedroom—or the entire house—can be controlled through Lutron or Alexa systems or using its own settings.
The lights themselves are customizable, so users can create exactly the right lighting for a space by adjusting the amount of energy outputted across the light’s visible spectrum of colors. That allows for a wide range of whites, pastels and colors to be created from just one source.
Ketra sells its products through a network of partner sales representatives who set pricing on a per-project basis, depending on project size and level of design, according to the company.
Philips also makes smart lighting options, with its HUE line. The Bluetooth light bulbs can be controlled through voice or a smart device and start at $12.99. Lighting can also be streamlined with the Philips Bridge, a hub that can connect up to 50 devices, to help create routines by setting lights to dim at bedtime and come on at a certain time in the morning.
Air filtration has become a much-requested amenity since the Covid-19 pandemic began. These systems reduce dust, mold, bacteria and other pollutants that might be lowering the air quality at home.
“If possible, it’s optimal to have a house-wide purification system that uses advanced HEPA filters to help remove pollution, allergens and other airborne contaminants,” according to Ms. Donegan.
One of her top choices for air filtration is Dyson’s Pure line. It’s top-of-the-line Pure Humidify+Cool Cryptomic humidifying purifying fan, which costs about $900, monitors things like airborne particles and gases in a room, as well as temperature and humidity levels.
The Dyson’s Link app allows users to access air-quality reports. Users can also control the system from the app or with voice commands using Alexa or Apple’s Siri.
And LG Signature’s Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Air Purifier ($1,700) is another option. It detects levels of airborne particulates in the air, reporting them via a color-coded light system. The system can be controlled or connected to other home systems via a smart device using LG’s SmartThinQ technology.
The purifier also acts as a humidifier, which has a smart self-cleaning system. Ultraviolet light sterilizes the system’s water reserve before it’s dispensed in the air. After the humidification, the purified air automatically dries the filters to prevent mold and bacteria.
Keeping the temperature regulated is also important to a restful, restorative night. That can be controlled through an all-encompassing system, but there are also separate thermostat systems available.
Ms. Donegan recommends the Nest Learning Thermostat, a self-programming system compatible with Google Home ($200). After just a week of manually adjusting the thermostat, say before bed or in the morning, it will record those preferences and adjust the temperature to match. Additional sensors (about $40) can help make sure a specific room, like the bedroom, is prioritized by the system.
Linked to smart devices, the thermostat also learns when occupants are not at home. The system then switches to an economizing mode, which can save people an average of 10% to 12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills, according to the company. The temperature can be adjusted via a smart device, so it’s warm or cool when people return home.
Meanwhile, the Ecobee SmartThermostat is a similar system that recognizes temperature patterns and repeats them. It is compatible with Alexa Home, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and other systems and starts at $250.
The Ecobee responds to voice commands—and even responds—or can be controlled via a smart device. The thermostat has other bells and whistles: it can also play music or report on the weather outside.
Fully Integrated Systems
Lutron is the gold standard for integrated systems, Ms. Donegan noted. Its top-of-the-line HomeWorks system, starting around $15,000, features dimming technology, adjustable window coverings that can be programmed to open and close at certain times, personalized light palettes and hidden control panels, all of which can be run from a smart device or by voice command.
The system can be further integrated with bulbs and/or fixtures from Ketra and other lighting brands.
Meanwhile, Delos launched its DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence Network in 2018. This system also integrates all the household systems, including circadian lighting, air-and-water monitoring and purification systems and ergonomic flooring to support posture. The self-learning system can be monitored or controlled via an app or a tablet installed in the home.
In the bedroom suite, the network connects to blackout shades that rise when the sun comes up as part of its Dawn Simulation wake-up sequence. That means light gradually floods the room, as if the sun were creeping in.