In the priviest article, we explained some factors about sleeping that you can pay attention to them to help you fall asleep better.
One important factor that affects the quality of your sleep is the environment of your sleeping.
Many people are choosing to make sleep a priority and realizing they can accomplish it by keeping a bedtime routine, exercising regularly, eating sleep-friendly foods, and relaxing before bedtime.
However, there is one aspect of sleep hygiene that still needs more attention. One that should be at the forefront of the pursuit for better sleep naturally –– the sleep environment.
A relaxing environment is essential for a good night’s rest. Studies have shown people simply sleep better when their bedroom is optimized for light and noise levels, temperature, and comfort. And since sleep quality and duration are directly tied to other aspects of human health, a bedroom environment that promotes sleep can also improve how you feel while you’re awake.
If sleep is important to you, it’s time to start looking at how your bedroom impacts your sleep, and methods to improve it.
How to improve the sleep environment
There are several ways to make your sleep space more soothing and suited for rest.
1. Change how you think about your room
One of the biggest keys in maximizing the efficiency of sleep in your room is what you associate your room with. Ideally, your room should be used for two purposes only: sleep and romance. Everything else done in your room serves no other purpose than to distract you from sleep.
2. Clean out all the clutter
Your room isn’t your gym, office, or playroom. To begin associating it with sleep, you need to get all the stuff out that is potential distractions.
Having your bedroom as the place to go for other activities only leads to your brain associating the room with other things. If your bedroom is where your office is, it can help make your mind busy and even anxious about work, because you correlate the room with busy work.
Getting rid of the TV helps in many ways. For one, it’s too easy to watch it before bedtime as it’s in the room. Engaging programs can keep your mind awake longer as you get sucked into the story.
TVs also emit blue light, which can trick the body’s production of melatonin into slowing down. Light is associated with wakefulness. When there’s light, your body doesn’t produce as much melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
3. Ditch all electronics
For the same reasons you shouldn’t have a TV or computer in your bedroom, you also shouldn’t have a cellphone, tablet, laptop, or portable game console in the room either. Most of these devices also emit the sleep stealing light and are used for consuming content that may rob you of sleep because it’s so engaging.
You should also adjust the position and location of your alarm clock. Not only is the light from the digital display distracting, but many people find themselves constantly looking at the time displayed on their clock, and if it’s getting late, start worrying about losing sleep. This worry over losing sleep can cause anxiety, which will lead to even more lost sleep. The best solution for alarm clocks is to set them at the given wake-up time, place them on the other side of the room, and turn them away from you.
4. Keep your room dark
One of the best things for sleep is to eliminate all lights possible. That means don’t leave a lamp on, remove any nightlights, and get heavy curtains or blackout blinds to eliminate outside light.
During the day, your eyes perceive sunlight and signal the brain to produce cortisol, a hormone that helps you stay alert and energized. At night when darkness falls, your brain then produces another hormone, melatonin, to induce feelings of sleepiness and relaxation.
Smartphones, televisions, and other devices with screens also produce artificial blue light that can be detrimental to sleep, even if you use dimmer “nighttime” screen settings.
Keep your bedroom light levels as low as possible if you like to read in bed before sleep. Another good rule of thumb is to avoid using screen devices – including televisions – in your bedroom.
If you refuse to remove your cellphone from the room, one helpful tip is to flip it over, screen-side down, during bedtime. Many phones light up when there’s an incoming text, email, or push notification from an app that may distract you from sleep or even wake you from sleep.
5. Keep your room quiet
Noise is another common sleep thief. Whether the sound comes from within the room itself, down the hall, or across the street, noise can prevent us from getting to sleep, and even worse, can rouse us from sleep.
It should come as no surprise that a quieter bedroom is better for sleep than a louder one.
You should strive to keep your bedroom as quiet as possible by blocking outside noises.
If your sleep environment has noises beyond your control (see noisy neighbors and traffic) try sleeping with a sound machine. Sound machines produce soothing, mellow sounds that not only help you relax for sleep but drown out other sounds that may wake you from sleep.
6. Keep your room cool
As you go to sleep your body temperature begins to drop as it prepares itself for slumber. Keeping your room at a cool temperature (between 60-67 degrees) can help aid the process of cooling your body.
Whether you only use a top sheet or sleep beneath a thick comforter, many experts agree the ideal bedroom temperature for sleeping is 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius). This might sound a bit chilly for some, but a cooler thermostat setting helps you maintain a lower core temperature while you sleep.
That said, A range of 60 to 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 22.0 degrees Celsius) should be suitable for most sleepers.
Sleeping naked not only increases the chances you’ll sleep comfortably and soundly; it also helps cool your body down by eliminating nightgowns and pajamas that may keep your body temperature.
7. Use aromatherapy
Research has shown that using certain scents in a room can help promote sleep. What aromatherapy does is creates an atmosphere that is relaxing and calming, which can help you wind down to sleep. It is also good as part of a routine that, through continued use, your brain will pick up as a cue that it’s almost time for bed.
8. Make your bed comfortable
If you’re waking up feeling stiff, numb, or tired, or maybe just had great sleep in a hotel bed, it may be time to replace your mattress and/or pillows. Most mattresses are designed to last up to 10 years, but if your mattress has lumps, snags, rips, or holes you may want to think about replacing it.
There are mattresses available to suit all types of sleep needs including adjustable stiffness, preferred sleep positions, disturbances from a tossing/turning partner, or even have covered if you have allergies to certain fabrics or dust mites.
Depending on your sleep preferences, you may enjoy the close body contour of memory foam, the gentle support of latex, or the springy feel of a mattress with coils. Some studies have found that a newer mattress will promote better sleep quality and alleviate more back pain than an older model. However, the best mattress for you likely depends on individual factors like body weight, normal sleep position, and whether you prefer lying on a soft or firm surface.
Important considerations for selecting the best pillow include firmness, loft (thickness), and durability. For sheets, the best option for you may come down to whether you prefer a crisp or silky hand-feel and how hot you sleep at night.
A sanitary bedroom is also important for promoting healthy sleep. Vacuuming your carpet and regularly washing your bedding can reduce the presence of dust mites, small arthropods that trigger allergies. Just be sure to follow washing and drying instructions on your bedding’s care tags to avoid damage or excessive shrinkage.
9. Keep your sheets and pillowcases fresh:
Many experts agree you should wash your sheets at least once every two weeks. If you sweat excessively in your sleep or share your bed with a pet, you may want to consider weekly cleanings. Routine washings not only prevent dust mites and body oils from building up but can also promote better sleep.
10. Make the bed before sleep:
Most people turn down their beds several times a week, if not daily. These respondents were more likely to sleep better at night. A made bed allows you to crawl into bed and fall asleep more quickly.
11. Fill the bedroom with soothing fragrances:
Certain scents can help you feel more relaxed. For example, some fragrances, such as peppermint and heliotropin, may also be effective.
12. Paint your room
A study in Britain showed that the color of your bedroom can impact the amount of sleep you get. The colors blue, yellow, and green helped sleepers get the most hours of sleep with blue averaging 7 hours 52 minutes, yellow at 7 hours 40 minutes, and green at 7 hours 36 minutes.
These colors are often associated with calmness and relaxation and can help put your mind at ease as you are trying to rest.
At the other end of the spectrum, colors such as purple, brown, and grey can potentially ruin the amount of sleep you get. Average hours for these colors are 6 hours 12 minutes for grey, 6 hours 5 minutes for brown, and 5 hours 56 minutes for purple.
Theories suggest that purple is an artistic color that stimulates the creative mind, and browns and greys are often associated with dreariness and depression.
As you can tell, several things that can rob you of sleep. Fortunately, most of these things can be solved through practicing good sleep hygiene and making sleep a priority. So, try these tips to promote your sleep quality.