Are you sleeping in the right environment?
Tell me about your bedroom. Sounds a little bit creepy, right? But I can assure you, I’m not here for any other reason than to get you to think about the place you sleep in. I promise.
What does your bedroom have in it? A bed? I’m guessing so. What about a wardrobe and a chest of drawers or two? A couple of bedside cabinets and a floor lamp? Some clutter on the bedside cabinet, perhaps a book, phone charger, night time face serum, glass of water, a few old but meaningful greetings cards and a box of tissues.
What’s your pillow like? An old faithful, a bit flat with a pillow cover on it to disguise those dribble stains? How about your duvet? Too thick, too thin? Not quite in that elusive Goldilocks zone?
What about the non-tangible things, like the temperature and light levels? Still looking for that peachy just-right warmth and darkness?
Roll over. Is there a partner there? Throw him or her into the mix, and we’ve doubled the bedside paraphernalia, duvet dilemmas and ideal comfort zone conundrums.
Do you see what I’m getting at?
At first thought, answering the question, “tell me about your bedroom” is simple – it’s got a bed in it, and I sleep in it. But unless we’re extremely minimalist, this room of the house contains a whole lot more than the piece of furniture we sleep on.
Our bedrooms can quite easily become dumping grounds for piles of dirty clothes, drying clothes, yet-to-be-ironed clothes. On the clothes theme, we store our clothes in our bedrooms, along with the mélange of accoutrements we pick up along life’s way. In short, if something isn’t for cooking, eating, cleaning or looking at, we keep it in our bedrooms. Such is life in a world without much spare space to call our own.
Long gone are the days when we spent hours playing on the floor of our bedrooms. As adults, it’s easy to think, oh well, it’s just the room I spend eight hours in bed, in. All I do is sleep in it, what does it matter if I need to weave my way through an assault course of clothes, exercise bikes, trailing sockets and stuff, to get into bed?
The concept of a sleep environment
It turns out though, that this actually matters. Quite a lot. Our ‘bedroom environment’ has a direct impact on the quality of our sleep. Get our bedroom environment right, and we stand a much higher chance of getting the better quality, nourishing sleep that we need in order to live a more productive and fulfilling life.
The absolute importance of sleep
Lose out on restorative sleep, and we risk not only tiredness, lethargy and low productivity. We also risk impaired immunity, an increased risk of chronic disease and even obesity. (Ever reached for the carb-heavies and sugars when you’re tired? It’s a thing.)
Connecting with our partners is important too. And ‘usually’, this is done in the bedroom, aside from those fumbles on the sofa or a quickie in the kitchen. The problem with a cluttered bedroom here is two-fold – we’re too tired from a lack of good quality sleep to have the energy to get jiggy with it, or our bedrooms are simply too busy and cluttered to even feel like getting down to business.
So, our bedrooms are important, to all aspects of our life.
But how do we create the perfect sleeping space? Here’s our tips on creating an environment worthy of your eight hours.
How tidy and free from mess our bedrooms are, is perhaps the most important, but the most overlooked aspect of so-called good ‘sleep hygiene’. Clutter is as mentally impactful as it is physical, that is, we’ll trip over it emotionally as well as physically.
Going to bed in a room full of excess furniture and things won’t bode well for a mind clear enough to sleep. So, a rethink of your bedroom might be in order. Make a point of spending time clearing out your drawers and wardrobes, so that there’s more space, quite literally, behind closed doors to keep stuff.
Have as little as possible out on display (especially on your bedside cabinet or table) and if you’re overloaded with furniture, now might be the time to donate an item or two to charity.
Block out the light
If you like a little bit of light when you’re asleep (because, you know, the bogeyman), then use a Himalayan salt lamp or similar that emits a low level glow, rather than actual lightbulb light.
Make sure all other lights are off that could shine into your bedroom. If you have a bright streetlight outside, use heavy curtains or a blackout blind to block its way into your bedroom. Wear an eye mask if your sleep partner is awake later than you, reading with the lights on.
Keep it cool
It’s oh-so tempting to have the heating cranked up to make sure everything is cosy and warm when we get into bed. But being too hot during the night is only going to disrupt our sleep.
Ideally have the radiator in your bedroom turned down or even off, and keep the temperature in there below 18°C. Wear loose socks to bed and kick them off in the night if you can’t bear cold feet on getting into bed.
Tone down the noise
You don’t need us to tell you that noise is the complete antithesis of good sleep. Some noises you can fix, others you can’t. Try to fix the noises that you can – get a plumber to fix that dripping tap, speak to your neighbours about their noisy boiler and take the ticking clock out of earshot (unless the rhythmic noise helps you sleep).
Finally, make sure your mattress, duvet and pillows are fresh and up to the job. Change your sheets weekly, don’t use harsh, artificially scented detergents and softeners if they make you feel stuffy and bunged up and invest wisely in bedding.
Orthopaedic pillows and duvets that are suitable for all year round temperatures (they’re normally in two sections that can be clipped together for winter and unclipped for summer) might be pricey, but they’re worth it for your sleep quality.
Ready for bed?
Now that your bedroom is the right place to sleep in, create a bedtime routine that’s equally as beneficial to achieving restful, restorative sleep that allows you to wake up feeling refreshed. Night night!