6 tips for a sleep-friendly bedroom
More and more people are realising the benefits that can be gained by improving the quality of your sleep every night. Sleeping better should be a priority given the positive effects it has on your daily life, general health and well being, concentration and even how you perform at work. There are many ways to improve your sleep, including keeping a bedtime routine, regular exercise, avoiding caffeine and other stimulants. However creating a sleep environment conducive to a great night’s sleep is sometimes overlooked, so we have put together 6 tips to make your bedroom the sleep sanctuary it needs to be so you get a proper rest.
Your bedroom be a place that makes you feel relaxed at the end of the day so it pays to consider how it looks and feels. Having a cluttered bedroom full of laundry, storage, books and work items amongst other things, can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Make sleeping a focus of your bedroom and spend some time creating a clean and ordered space that is visually pleasing and free of distractions. Bright colours tend to be quite stimulating so it helps to use a neutral, calming colour scheme throughout your bedroom, including walls and bedding. And make your bed in the morning to make your room look clean, neat and uncluttered.
Light and darkness are vital to the regulation of circadian rhythms so your body knows when it’s time to prepare for rest. Production of melatonin, a hormone which helps induce sleep, is hindered by exposure to light, whether natural or artificial. This disrupts your body’s ability to regulate cortisol levels and night time body temperature, making a good night’s rest more difficult to achieve. A good sleep environment eliminates as much light as possible. Do not have lamps or night lights on, and remove LED alarm clocks or at least turn them away from you. Mobile phones should be kept out of the bedroom, but if you cannot resist it helps to turn it face down so unwanted light is not visible. And it goes without saying that electronic devices such as TVs and computers do not belong in a restful bedroom. Aside from being distracting, they emit blue light which has been found to be particularly disruptive to melatonin production and therefore to good sleep. This includes the light coming from stand-by mode.
If outside light sources are bothersome, invest in heavy block out curtains to make your room completely dark. Failing all that, try a sleep mask to make sure your body remains in sleep mode until you are ready to wake up.
Keeping your sleeping area as quiet as possible is important to as sounds can put your brain on alert and prevent you from falling asleep or disturb your sleep through the night. Noises which are inconsistent or variable are the most likely to rouse you from sleep which is why it’s a bad idea to fall asleep with the television on as the sounds emanating from TVs are constantly changing. Another reason to keep the box out of your bedroom! If you need background noise to fall asleep and stay that way, try leaving a small fan on or use a sound machine. Its ambient, mellow sound will also help drown out outside noises such as traffic, dogs barking or noisy neighbours. Better still, if at all possible, try and pick a sleeping area that’s furthest away from the street and any noisy appliances you may have in the house. Make sure you close your door and if all else fails, try some earplugs.
Don’t forget the role your nose can play in getting a good rest! Research has shown that better sleep comes easier with certain scents. Using aromatherapy scents such as lavender, jasmine or vanilla can create a calming atmosphere plus it also provides a physical cue for your body to know that it’s time to wind down. Lavender in particular has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure, so try using lavender scented oils or candles in your room to enhance your sleep.
If you’re not a fan of using scents in the bedroom, it is still important to make sure you have good indoor air quality which helps reduce certain sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Keep your room clean and introduce house plants such which clean the indoor air effectively. Good choices are ferns, snake plants and aloe vera. Some people choose to sleep with the windows open to let the fresh air in, but if that's not for you, try to at least air out the bedroom in the daytime.
Your body temperature naturally reduces at night and during sleep and keeping your room cool will help this process and make for a restful sleep. Sleep experts agree with 18 degrees Celsius, give or take a degree or two, as being the optimal bedroom temperature. If ever you’ve tossed and turned in the middle of a hot summer night, you’ll no doubt agree that cooler is better, but experiment to find your preferred temperature range.
Keep your bedding comfortably warm, and adjust what you wear to bed as needed. Pop on some bed socks if it’s too cold and conversely it may help to sleep naked if the heat is keeping you restless.
Last but not least, the bedding you choose will definitely affect the quality of your sleep. Waking up tired, stiff or aching is a sure sign that your mattress might be up for replacement. The typical lifespan is around 10 years but replace sooner if it’s lumpy or sagging or damaged in some way. Focus less on whether a mattress is firm, soft or in between and just choose one that feels comfortable to you.
The same goes for pillows. If you’re constantly fluffing them to reshape the contents, you might need to look to replacing them. And you might not realise but your sheets could be what’s coming between you and a good night’s rest. Some fabrics can trap heat and make sleep an uncomfortable experience. Choose breathable, comfortable sheets such as our 100% long-staple cotton percale for a better sleep through the night. And make sure you wash your sheets weekly, not just for cleanliness but because what is better than ending the day in freshly washed sheets?
For more tips on how your bedroom décor can influence the quality of your sleep, head here.