“Your life is a reflection of how you sleep, and how you sleep is a reflection of your life.” Dr. Rafel Pelayo, clinical professor at the Sleep Medicine division, Stanford University.
For some people, getting off to sleep at night is easy. Others spend the night tossing and turning, only to find the alarm jolting them awake as they have literally just nodded off. Getting a solid night’s sleep is essential for good health, but it isn’t always as easy as you may think. What’s more, even those getting plenty of rest may want to think about the quality of rest they are getting.
There are lots of factors affecting sleep, including diet, stress and medical conditions. In addition, there are a surprising number of things related to your bedroom interior that could be sabotaging your sleep. Here are 7 things you simply must look at (and change) if you want the best chance at getting a restful night’s sleep. How well you recharge your batteries will determine how you live your life.
1. Bedroom clutter
If you’re not the tidiest of people at least try to keep clutter and piles of clothes out of the bedroom. According to Dr. Emerson Wickwire, Director of the insomnia program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, “physical clutter causes mental clutter, which activates the brain and negatively impacts on sleep.”
Turn your bedroom into a clutter-free zone and you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. A tidy room is the first step to a peaceful environment, and that will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the quality of your sleep.
2. Your mattress
It’s surprising how little attention we pay to our mattresses. Many of us sleep on mattresses way beyond their recommended life cycle. A mattress lacking in comfort and support is likely to leave you waking feeling tired. The Sleep Council recommends you change your mattress every 7 years. Be sure to consult a reputable bed and mattress company, like Snug Interiors to get expert advice.
3. Your window treatment
Is your window treatment letting in light? Light and darkness are powerful cues for our wake and sleep cycles. Light suppresses the production of our sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. An early sunrise can bring you out of restful sleep to soon if your window treatments aren’t of the black-out variety. Use black-out blinds or curtains to keep your body in sleep mode until it’s time to start the day.
4. Bright décor
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary of peace and serenity. Bright colours are exciting and vibrant and look great in the home, but they aren’t particularly soothing so should be avoided in the bedroom. Neutrals and soft shades are the best colours for the boudoir. It’s unlikely you’ll be calmed by bright red or neon yellow!
5. Digital overload
Unfortunately our bedrooms have become extensions of your living areas, and digital devices are common place. Checking facebook and answering emails on your phone in the bedroom before you switch off the light is common place. Many of us think we are winding down by watching TV in bed.
Not only do the beeps and pings throughout the night from nearby mobile phones disturb your sleep, standby lights can wreak havoc with the body’s circadian rhythm (that’s your 24-hour body clock moderating sleep cycles, and it’s modulated by light).
Banish digital devices from the bedroom and you’ll have a better chance of a good night’s sleep.
Many of us sleep in bedrooms that are over heated. We think we want to be warm and cosy at night, when in fact our body temperature decreases to initiate sleep. The ideal temperature for optimal sleep should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Any higher than that and it can be much harder to get off to sleep. Your bedroom should be cool if you want the best chance of a good night’s rest.
Sneezing and itchy eyes aren’t the only symptoms that come with allergies. Poor sleep is a side effect too. Dust mites and pet hair could be playing havoc with your sleep. Invest in covers for your mattress and pillows and wash them regularly on a hot wash (cold water doesn’t kill dust mites). Dust mites also gravitate to where dust settles, so keep your bedroom clean and dust-free. Don’t let animals sleep in your bedroom. Regularly air your bedroom by opening the windows during the day.
Improve your sleep, and you could also improve your energy, your health, your mood and your life!