Create the ideal environment for sleep
Our sleep environment – that is our bed, bedroom and everything in it – has a big impact on how well we sleep. The bedroom should be the ultimate sanctuary; a place where we can escape from the bright, noisy, stressful world outside and experience the deep, restful sleep that restores body and mind.
There are four main culprits when it comes to environmental factors that affect sleep: noise, light, temperature and comfort. While its not always possible to create the perfect conditions for sleep, evaluating our sleep environment can help identify what could be disrupting our slumber. By taking these factors into account, it is possible to make some simple, effective changes that will help on the path to better sleep.
Our bodies are tuned in to the gradual progression of light throughout our daily cycle – daylight signals to our bodies to wake, while darkness activates melatonin (our sleep hormone) to prepare us for sleep. The alerting effect of light, particularly the blue light emitted from smart phones and other devices, can be very disruptive to sleep. Invest in block-out curtains or an eye mask to keep out unwanted light, and remove TVs and electronic devices from the bedroom where possible.
Block out noise
Unfamiliar noise can have a disruptive effect on our sleep cycle. Noises from neighbours, traffic and animals are common sleep disruptors, however for some people, the ticking of a clock can be enough to disrupt sleep. Simple solutions, such as wearing ear plugs or listening to white noise, can help reduce the effects of noise on your sleep.
Keep your cool
We have all experienced a restless night when the mercury soars in the middle of summer, but temperature can affect our sleep year round. Our body temperature rises and falls as we progress through the day, and decreases as we approach bedtime. If the bedroom is too hot or too cold, our body temperature can be disrupted, meaning we wake – possibly in a hot sweat, or with a shiver! The optimum temperature for sleeping is between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius. If you don’t have climate control to maintain your ideal room temperature, experiment with different bedding and nightwear options to help keep you sleeping comfortably. Read blog “The ideal temperature for sleep” for more detailed information on this topic.
Last, but not least- you need to be comfortable. You spend a third of your life sleeping – that’s a significant amount of time spent in bed, on a mattress that may (or may not) support your body and spine. That’s why it’s important to invest in the highest quality mattress and pillow you can afford. Your mattress should be supportive and comfortable. It should contour to your body while maintaining the natural curve of your spine. Your pillow should support your head and neck in its natural position. By adding your preferred bed linen, you can create a cosy and comfortable place to rest and revitalise!