Environmental psychology: what to put on your bedside table

The environment around us shapes us as individuals. Environmental psychology focuses on the interplay between people and their surroundings: how our environment affects our behaviour, our performance, and our well-being. While environmental psychology is used in many fields such as interior design, architecture, retail, education and more, I want to briefly explore its implications applied to something small and simple we all have control over: our bedside table.

Environmental psychology: bedside table

Here are three things you should consider putting on your bedside table to increase your overall creativity and productivity:

  1. Pen and paper. For many, the bedroom is one of the few sanctuaries where we can relax without being interrupted. There are many ways to use a pen and paper—or a notebook—before and after sleeping. Journaling is a great way to reflect on the day and plan for the next one. Recording your dreams is also a great exercise. And if you find yourself struggling to sleep because your mind is racing, thinking about a project you’re working on, or if you suddenly have an idea while you’re about to fall asleep, quickly jotting it down will help you get it out of your head and deal with it the following day.
  2. A book and a lamp. Make sure to always have a book on your bedside table. First, research found that reading can help relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles. Especially if you take your time to read. As a result, you will sleep better. Second, according to a Harvard study, sleeping on it will improve your memory of the content. Finally, it’s much better to read a book than to spend time on your phone before going to bed. The blue light of the screen has a terrible effect on your circadian rhythm. And did I mention that you’re likely to get the bacteria on your phone all over your face?
  3. An alarm clock. Because you need a way to wake up without your phone. If you want to get fancy, you could even get a sunrise-simulating alarm clocks, such as the LBell or the more expensive Philip Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock.

Of course, you could also get candles, photos, or whatever makes you feel more comfortable and relaxed, but in my opinion these are the three only things you really need to have on your bedside table. If you want to give environmental psychology a try, that’s an easy and fun project to start designing your space in a way that improves your creativity and your productivity.


Anne-Laure Le Cunff

I’m an ex-Googler, entrepreneur, and part-time neuroscience student at King’s College. If you found this article useful, subscribe to my weekly newsletter about productivity, creativity, learning, and designing engaging products.

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