Creating the Perfect Bedroom for Great Sleep

The perfect bedroom environment for sleep

If you look at a typical bedroom, you’ll notice several things that may be disrupting sleep quality. There may be an iPod or tablet on the bed, a big screen T.V., a work project or clutter from a movie marathon. If this sounds like your own room, you may be affecting your sleep in the worst kind of ways. Fortunately, creating a sleep-friendly bedroom is easier than you might think and it’s one of the most important steps you can take to finally getting the sleep you’ve been longing for. Your bedroom environment can profoundly affect the quality of your sleep and sleep scientists agree that a good sleep environment is dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool.[1] Think about the way animals sleep.[2] Bears hide away in dens. Rabbits nestle in warrens. People retreat to their bedrooms. Sleep experts agree that, like many animals, we need quiet, darkness, cool room temperatures, and general comfort to get plenty of good, refreshing sleep. If you’re looking for some easy and quick things you can do to get a better night’s sleep, you need look no further than your own bedroom.

When creating the perfect bedroom oasis there are several factors to consider. You’ll want to think about the basic elements of your sleep environment: light, noise, temperature, and comfort. Any of these factors can increase the restlessness of your sleep and the amount of time you spend awake throughout the night. Each component can also affect the sleep of anyone who shares your bed—whether your partner, pet or child—and their discomfort can, in turn, disturb your sleep.

Keep it quiet

The first step to fostering a perfect sleep environment is to limit noise and keep your room as quiet as possible.[3] Many people find that even small amounts of noise can disturb their sleep. Try dealing with noisy disruptions like a bed partner’s snoring by using earplugs, or by turning on a “white noise” machine, a CD of ocean waves, or a fan, before turning in for the night. White noise is static, whereas the volume on a TV can change rapidly and unpredictably, and that can disrupt sleep.[4]

Keep it dark

A dark room helps you to sleep longer and better. Light is the key indicator to your body that lets you know whether it’s daytime or nighttime. If you’re getting too much light at the wrong times, you’re more likely to confuse and disrupt your body’s internal clock, which can make sleeping at the right times more difficult.[5] To block outside lights – such as street lamps or light in neighboring homes, try using window blinds, blackout curtains, or heavy drapes.[6] An eye mask can provide you with a personal zone of darkness and can be helpful if your partner’s reading light keeps you awake. If you tend to wake up during the night, keep the lights in your sleep environment dim. A small night light in the hallway or bathroom can gently and safely light your way.

Keep it cool

Temperature plays a huge role in the quality of your sleep environment. A cool room sets the stage for sleep. Experts agree that in most cases, sleep can be enhanced with the thermostat set between approximately 65°F and 72°F, while temperatures above 72°F or below 54°F tend to disrupt sleep.[7] During the summer, cool things down with an air conditioner or fan. In the winter, snuggling under comforters or electric blankets can keep you warm without making you feel weighed down.

A good mattress matters

You’ll also want to consider what you’re actually sleeping on. Your mattress and its foundation can also make an enormous difference in how well you sleep.[8] According to the National Sleep Foundation, most good-quality mattresses have a life expectancy of 9 or 10 years. Even if it still feels comfortable, keeping it longer than this means it has probably lost its ability to provide your body with the proper support it needs. If you are waking up in pain or if every movement your partner makes is waking you up, consider upgrading sooner.[9] If you share the bed with a partner, you’ll sleep better on a mattress that gives you both enough space to move easily without disrupting each other.

De-stress and relax

And finally, the best way to get a good night’s sleep is to reduce stress and relax. A positive sleep environment is one that is low on stress. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says your bed is a place to rest, not a place to worry.[10] Research shows that watching TV or checking your email is not conducive to calming down and falling asleep. Consider removing electronic stressors from the bedroom, such as your laptop computer, tablet, phone, and T.V.[11]

See! With just a few simple changes you can transform your bedroom from a place of action to a place of restful peace and rejuvenation. Follow the above steps and you’ll be reaping hours of bliss in no time!

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