Better Sleep Month: Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep Oasis
What better way to take part in Better Sleep Month and get the high-quality sleep that you need to feel happy and healthy than by focusing on turning your bedroom into an oasis of sleep?
According to sleep researchers and scientific studies, your bedroom can greatly affect the quality of your sleep, and have measurable effects on your ability to get and stay asleep.
The good news is that optimizing your bedroom for a better night’s rest can be as easy as making a few tweaks to the lighting, temperature, and layout of the room.
Cool it Down
If you’ve ever felt too hot to sleep, it may not be just in your head. Sleep experts state that the ideal sleeping temperature is somewhere between 60 to 72 °F. If that sounds too chilly for your taste, consider adding a fan to the room or leaving the windows open on cooler nights.
Kill the Lights
When your brain detects light, the production of melatonin (the hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle) is slowed down and your body temperature remains elevated. Both of these can initiate a state of wakefulness, which is the exact opposite of what you want!
Make every attempt to reduce the presence of light in your bedroom by turning off all electronic devices and light fixtures, and covering any windows that allow light into the room. You can also opt for a comfy sleep mask, as well, in order to completely block out light and get to sleep.
Block out Noise
Bothersome sounds can prevent you from falling asleep, and negatively affect deep sleep cycles. Making sure to do your best to cut out noise is the first step, but if you’ve found that’s not possible due to a snoring partner or street sounds, your best bet is to pick up some ear plugs or a white noise machine – these can provide you with the peace and quiet that you need to fall (and stay) asleep.
Banish All Things Electronic
Research has shown that TVs, laptops, cell phones, and all other electronic devices are one of the main culprits of sleep theft. It may seem relaxing to tune into one of your favorite shows before bed, but the motion and light from the television keeps your mind stimulated and actually prevents you from falling asleep. And the light from the screen of your TV, cell phone, or iPad can prevent your internal clock from regulating.
Instead of catching up on television, email, or your Facebook newsfeed, opt for more sleep-friendly activities, such as reading, some light yoga, or a warm bath before turning in.
Ditch the Clutter
A disorganized and cluttered bedroom can distract you and prevent you from drifting off to Dreamland. Spend a few minutes each day decluttering your sleeping space by making sure that dirty clothes are placed in the hamper, all paperwork and bills find their way to your desk, and that dishes make it into the kitchen.
Use the Right Mattress and Bedding
Your mattress is crucial to getting quality sleep. The Better Sleep Council recommends that innerspring mattresses are replaced every 5 to 7 years. If your mattress has lumps, bumps, or dips in its surface, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Many sleep experts and health professionals recommend transitioning to a memory foam mattress for better comfort and support.
Make sure that your sheets and pillows are made from moisture-wicking materials to promote cooling airflow while you sleep, and that you replace your pillows every 2 years, at a minimum.
Gradual Transformation is Key
Making slow and steady changes to your sleep environment may be what works best for creating a bedroom sleep oasis. Try testing changes out for a week before moving on to the next tweak to get the best outcome.
Week 1: Cool down the room, turn your cell phone on silent, and reduce clutter.
Week 2: Reduce light sources and turn off the television 30 minutes earlier.
Week 3: Start turning the television off a full 60 minutes before going to bed.
Week 4: Consider removing all electronic devices, and assess mattress and bedding.
Be sure to listen to your body when making these bedroom tweaks, and note what works best for you. You may not need to make every change listed here in order to create your own sleep oasis – just remember that your priority is to create an environment that caters to sleep above everything else.