When it comes to having poor sleeping patterns, the experience for many of us is the same. When we wake, we have that heavy feeling like our bodies just do not want to move, our eyelids do not want to open, and the brain fog only clears after a cup or two of strong or very strong coffee.
These unpleasant feelings can also come with a wide variety of symptoms such as impaired reasoning, a decreased awareness to detail, a lack of motivation and poor memory and concentration skills.
Unfortunately, despite knowing that we need to get an excellent sleep every night, most of us toss and turn, have insomnia, or have overactive brains that do not want to switch off and thus, often experience the sluggish mornings described above.
With this said, there are a couple of things you can do to help you have a better sleep, such as consuming sleep-friendly foods, exercising regularly, creating a bedtime routine, and for that perfect sleep, creating the perfect sleep environment.
In this article, we are going to run through all of the things you can do to create a sleep environment that is right for you (also check out the seven commandments of a good night’s sleep here).
Maximize Your Room for Sleep and Romance Only
One of the biggest issues with bedrooms is that when they contain a reading nook, a corner desk, a full-length mirror, and a laptop station, your room becomes a multi-purpose environment. In these types of environments, distraction reigns free, as clutter tends to grow when you are using the room for more than one purpose.
In order to begin associating your bedroom with nothing but sleep and romance, you must remove the objects that act as distractions. This could be the mounted television that’s on the wall, the corner desk with the laptop, or the treadmill that rests quietly in the corner.
Keep in mind that the energy that you have in the room does have an impact on your sleep, so if that corner desk has leftover anxiousness from the work day, that’s only going to translate into your nighttime sleep patterns.
Why You Should Ditch The Electronics
Beyond the fact that these electronics can cause some serious distraction to your nighttime bedroom routine, in order to sleep better, you need to eliminate the sleep-stealing light that they output. Your cellphone, tablet, television, e-reader, and portable game console can all rob you of sleep because they emit blue light which slows down your body’s production of melatonin, which is what helps you fall asleep.
In addition to this, you should adjust the position of your alarm clock so that you cannot see the time from your regular sleeping position and so that it is across the room.
Although this seems counter-intuitive at first, if you are worried about getting sleep and are constantly looking at your alarm clock to check the time, this can cause anxiety which feeds into the loop. Placing it across the room requires you to get up in the morning and prevents you from hitting snooze one too many times.
Adjust the Atmosphere of Your Room to Cool, Dark, and Quiet
In order to get the perfect sleep, you need to be wary of three major conditions, what you can see, what you can hear, and what you can feel. If the visual conditions of your sleep environment disrupt your body’s natural rise and shine rhythm, then your brain has no way of knowing when it is time to go to sleep and when to wake up. This is why avoiding bright lights is imperative at night.
Consider doing the following:
1. Choose to use low-wattage, incandescent lamps on your night tables to help you wind down when you are reading before bed or engaging in your nighttime routine.
2. If you are a shift worker or do all of your sleeping during the day, use blackout blinds and an eye mask to help make your room dark so that you get better sleep.
3. If you are someone who is prone to waking up in the middle of the night to use the washroom, consider adding in a nightlight in the hall, in the bedroom, and in the bathroom, as this prevents you from turning on the strong overhead lights.
4. Arrange your furniture so that it is in a position that feels natural to you and is visually appealing at the same time. This will help ensure that the room has a calming effect on you when you walk into it.
5. Take some time to understand whether or not noise bothers you and disrupts your sleep. For some, who are light sleepers, any type of noise that is audible can completely ruin an otherwise perfect sleep. If this is the case for you, eliminate as much of the noise as possible, whether this is through noise cancellation foam on the walls or by removing things like clocks and fans from the bedroom.
If there is background noise that is coming from outside that disrupts your sleep, use the white noise from a fan or an air purifier to block it out or use earplugs.
6. Do not underestimate the temperature of your bedroom. If your bedroom is too warm, it can interfere with your body’s natural temperature regulation as it will not be able to easily cool itself. The secret to a solid night’s sleep is keeping your room nice and cool at a temperature you are comfortable with. Generally, though, a temperature between 65-68 degrees works best or anything below 70°F (21°C).
6. Consider using relaxing scents, such as lavender or pine to help increase the calming atmosphere of the room. You can do this through a plug-in scent distributor or through the use of essential oils and an aromatherapy diffuser. There are also plenty of pillow sprays you can buy.
7. Everyone has a particular sleeping position they prefer but if you are waking up with pain in the morning, it’s a good indicator that your sleep is getting disrupted even if you aren’t waking up during the night. If you sleep on your side, place a small pillow between your knees to combat back pain and if you sleep on your back, place one under your knees.
You can also read this article to find tips on alternative therapies for pain-free living.
8. Trade out your loud, buzzing alarm clock for a sunlight alarm clock which will provide you with a much more gentle wake up call.
9. If your mattress has hit the ten-year mark (some mattresses can only last around seven to eight years at most), consider buying a new one that is made out of organic materials. This will help you become a lot more comfortable during the night.
10. Other than this, consider buying an air purifier or inexpensive air filters such as bamboo charcoal bags, salt lamps, and beeswax candles, or place plants in your bedroom, as all of these will help filter out toxins and reduce any air pollution that you may have.
Unfortunately, air quality directly impacts sleep by increasing your risk of developing sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea. Although not all of these options will be free, finding creative ways to implement them will be worth the perfect sleep you get as a result.
Start Implementing One or More of the Above Suggestions for A Sounder Sleep Tonight
If you or someone you know has a sleeping issue that is not insomnia – in which case you should consult a sleep expert for help – it could very well be worth your while to make some minor changes to your environment as this could potentially have you sleeping more soundly and waking up more energized for the days and years ahead.