Create a simple sleeping porch in your home, and enjoy a laid-back evening.

Imagine the rustling wind singing you to sleep. Now, imagine your indoor plumbing lies only steps away. What's not to love about a sleeping porch?

Natural Lullaby
Spending a night on a covered porch offers many benefits. The sounds of nature, such as rainfall and wind, work like white noise, calming the mind. Many people even buy electronic sound machines to re-create these noises as a sleep aid.

Sleeping outdoors also entices kids away from the television and video games. Provide them with books and board games for fun before bedtime, and they'll drift off to the sounds of insects instead of the sounds of cartoons. If your kids suffer from allergies, check the pollen count in your area before letting them spend the night outside.

Good Night
It's easy and inexpensive to transform a typical porch into a nocturnal nest. Purchase a folding cot from a camping supply store, and dress it with comfortable bed linens. Add a side table and a lamp for reading.

Breathe Deep
Sleeping porches first gained popularity at the turn of the 20th century. Many people believed that fresh air helped sufferers of tuberculosis, a respiratory system illness that was the leading cause of death at that time in our country's history. Health experts then also touted the benefits of fresh air for avoiding other illnesses.

While sleeping in fresh air may not be the medical cure-all people once believed it to be, it's still a great way to unwind, relieve stress, and improve sleep.

This article is from the June 2005 issue of Southern Living.