When it comes to what contributes to quality sleep, most of us are aware of the basics. We know to stay away from technology before bed, follow a consistent routine, exercise regularly, avoid stress and reserve our cup of joe for the morning. But there is one key aspect that deserves more attention, which is the environment where we do our sleeping.
Optimizing your bedroom should be at the forefront of your pursuit for better sleep. This is especially true if you frequently wake up throughout the night or otherwise struggle to maintain deep sleep, as your environment likely plays a role in that. Below are some proven ways to make your bedroom better for deep sleep.
From barking dogs to snoring spouses, there seems to be an endless stream of noise keeping us awake at night, which is known to have an adverse effect on deep sleep cycles. A white noise machine can help to blur out the chatter. Playing nature sounds – such as rain – on a speaker can also help. If all else fails, earplugs are always an option.
Use the Right Mattress
Old, worn-out mattresses are breeding grounds for dust mites and other unsavory creatures. Moreover, their lack of support can cause painful pressure points in your spine. Investing in a new mattress that supports your posture such as this mattress can help you relax. An important aspect to consider is whether the mattress is suitable for your weight and sleeping position.
For instance, a mattress with sufficient shoulder and hip support is helpful for side sleepers. Don’t forget about your bedding. Certain fabrics are better at “wicking off” moisture, which can help you stay comfortable on warmer nights. Good options include wool, bamboo, silk, and linen.
If unorganized piles of clothes and towers of paperwork could talk, they’d probably be screaming at you to clean them up. That’s why they constantly grab our attention and cause anxiety, which is no good for deep sleep. Reducing clutter and organizing your room can go a long way in helping you feel less distracted and more relaxed.
Invest in a Good Pillow
In a similar vein to mattresses, different pillows are suitable for different sleeping styles. Side sleepers require something firm; back sleepers benefit from thinner pillows with more neck support, and stomach sleepers require even less cushioning. A normal pillow should ideally be replaced within two years.
But with good care, those made out of materials such as buckwheat, latex and memory foam can last a little longer. Don’t forget to wash your pillow, mattress and blanket covers regularly. This further improves deep sleep by eliminating allergens and bacteria, which is also good for your skin.
Block Out Light
You’re probably familiar with the hormone melatonin. When your eyes are exposed to light, melatonin production is delayed. Moreover, cortisol (stress hormone) production increases and with it, your body temperature. Exposure to blue light emitted by electronics is even worse.
Thus, it helps to avoid your phone and television at least an hour before bed. You can use blackout window shades to eliminate light pollution coming in from outside, which also have energy-saving benefits. If your efforts to block out light are no less effective than blocking out sound, consider adding a sleep mask to your bedtime accessory list.
Some other aspects to consider include the temperature of your room, which should be less than 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Painting your walls in a calming color, such as a light pastel or faded tone, can also help. Some people find a plant or two in the bedroom useful for improving their sleep as well.