After a long day at work, or a weekend spent out with mates there’s nothing we look more forward to than collapsing blissfully into bed and falling asleep. Yet despite our desire for this dream scenario we often find difficulty falling and staying asleep – even when we really need it.The Sleep Health Survey (2016) shockingly indicated that inadequate sleep and poor sleep quality were common issues, affecting 35 to 45 percent of adults.
The idea that so many people aren’t achieving adequate sleep quality and quantity is enough to keep me awake at night so I’ve taken a look into one of the main culprits; the bedroom. One simple and effective way to improve your sleep is to ensure you have a positive sleep environment.
Here are some top tips to help you optimise your bedroom; helping you fall asleep easier and stay asleep throughout the night.
Maintain a spotless space
Much to the delight of nagging parents worldwide, taking a short amount of time each day to clean your room could come to save you even more time in valuable sleep. Having a clean room can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety which can adversely affect our mood before bed and influence our sleep.
A study from the Sleep Foundation found that 71 percent of people reported sleeping better on clean sheets. By regularly washing bedding, creating a clutter free environment and maintaining a tidy and organized space you’re not only creating a clean room but also a clean mind which can drift off easily into sleep.
Additionally, if you have a clean room you’re less likely to trip over anything if you get up in the middle of the night which otherwise would definitely make it more difficult to get back to sleep.
Beware of evil electronics
The Australasian Sleep Organization found that the use of digital devices and electronic media late in the evening is linked to disrupted sleep and is increasingly an issue of concern in relation to the sleep health of children and young adults.
While I’m sure we all love winding down with some Netflix in bed or treating our eyes to the latest photos on our Instagram feeds, the blue and white light emitted from these screens is proven to be harmful to our sleep. This is due to our bodies natural production of melatonin which makes us feel sleepy being interrupted by this light, resulting in an inability to fall asleep.
If you can’t escape the grasp of social medias, it can be a good idea to install a blue light filter app on your phone or computer to lessen these harmful effects and placing your device on silent to prevent any unwanted interruptions to sleep. A great alternative could also be reading a book!
Join the dark side; close your curtains
Coming in as a shock to no-one, our bodies and minds are conditioned to sleep in the dark and as such, the amount of light you let into your bedroom can influence how you fall and stay asleep. This is due to the body’s natural circadian rhythms that follow a dark-light cycle that tells us when to sleep and wake.
When trying to sleep, try to block out all unnecessary light by closing doors and curtains and switching off the television. After doing this you’ll also find that by letting in natural light in the morning you will be giving your body that natural jumpstart that it needs to start the day.
Be conscious of colour
Colours have an important and often overlooked psychological impact on our mood and when it’s time for sleep being in a calm and relaxed state of mind is essential.
Try neutral colours or pastels of green, blue and lavender which are calming and help to relieve stress. On the other hand avoid bright and striking colours such as red, orange and bright pink that can have the opposite effect.
Don’t fret if you love bright colours as you don’t have to abandon them completely. Rather than having them on your bed and walls, incorporate them into your room through accents and accessories like throw pillows and artwork.
Avoid basic bedding
While the cost of luxurious sheets, pillows and duvets can seem daunting at first, it makes sense to think of them as an investment in your sleep and health. You spend approximately one third of your life asleep, meaning that you spend more time with your bedding than that expensive jacket, shirt or pair of shoes.
With the potential to improve the quality of your sleep, reduce allergies and improve hygiene through anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic properties stepping up your game when it comes to bedding is really a no brainer.
Test the temperature
For optimal sleep, experts recommend a temperature between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius. If you’re outside of these boundaries and wake up either shivering or sweating, it’s a problem.
Rather than repeating the patented ‘kick one leg out of the sheets’ trick night in and night out, it might be time for a more elegant solution. Weather it’s an air conditioner, fan or simply an open window – sleeping in a cool room reduces insomnia, increases melatonin levels and improves sleep quality.
Another way to lower the temperature at night could be to look into pillows and mattresses designed with airflow in mind; passively providing a cooler and sounder sleep.
Meet the right mattress
We all know the fairy-tale of the princess and the pea and it turns out that you don’t have to be a princess for the wrong mattress situation to keep you awake. A mattress that is too lumpy, firm or soft will prevent you from getting comfortable in bed and falling asleep and has the potential to wake you up during the night.
Sleeping on a great mattress that is suited to your own individual comfort-feel and made of high quality materials is the best way to ensure a good nights sleep. However if you can’t come to part with your current mattress, a high quality mattress topper can also transform your current bed and give you the comfort you royally deserve.