We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but it’s easier said than done. The quest for better sleep is unending!
At the end of a long day, oftentimes we tumble into bed exhausted and then find ourselves unable to sleep. Even if you’re getting an early night and you’re ready to settle into slumber, sometimes sleep doesn’t come easily.
In recent years, people have become much more aware of the importance of better sleep and the role it plays in your overall health and wellbeing. Quality sleep has become a priority and instead of falling into bed at the end of the day without much thought, people have begun to focus on identifying what they can do to give themselves the best chance of a better nights sleep.
There are many factors that have an impact on how you sleep including exercise, diet and of course your mattress and bed, but another factor for your consideration should be your sleep environment. We spend a third of our lives asleep, in our bedrooms, so investing time in creating the right sleep environment is time well spent.
We’ve gathered 10 tips on how to create the ideal sleep environment so that you can set yourself up to get a better sleep and wake up feeling refreshed, well-rested and full of renewed energy to take on each day.
Tips For Better Sleep
1. Declutter your sleeping space
Clear your bedroom or sleep space of unnecessary clutter and anything that does not need to be in that space. Piles of laundry, paperwork and exercise equipment are all things that can be removed. Having them in your sleep space is just a reminder of things on your to do list or issues to be dealt with that can distract you from getting into a state of relaxation before sleep. Generally speaking, a tidy, decluttered bedroom will give your brain less things to worry about before you go to sleep at night.
External noises can make it difficult to fall asleep and cause you to awaken during the night, resulting in a reduction in sleep quality. External noises may be out of your control, but you can limit the disruption by closing any doors or windows that may dampen the noise. You can also listen to relaxing and comforting music, white noises or meditative podcasts which may help to drown the noise out while simultaneously creating an environment of relaxation that is conducive to sleeping.
3. Control light exposure
The ideal sleep environment should be dim to dark and eliminate as much natural and artificial light as possible. Too much light exposure when you’re trying to sleep can give your brain the impression that it’s day time, making it hard to switch off and fall asleep. Many people use heavy curtains or blackout curtains to eliminate light coming in from outside, whether it’s sunlight, moonlight or street lighting. The total darkness helps you to fall asleep and stay asleep without any interruptions from natural or artificial light sources.
4. Switch off your devices
Is it widely acknowledged that exposure to blue light can affect the quality of your sleep. Digital screens and electronic devices including TV’s, PC’s, laptops, tablets and phones are all sources of blue light. When it comes to how we spend our free time in the evenings, these items regularly make an appearance. Research has shown that exposure to blue light stimulates alertness and blocks melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy! Experts recommend limiting your screen time at least an hour in advance of going to bed in order to give your brain time to unwind and allow melatonin to kick in.
5. Invest in a new mattress
The right mattress is the foundation to a good night’s sleep.
If you feel like everything else in your sleep environment is in place and you still can’t get a good night’s sleep then perhaps it’s time to change your mattress. The right mattress is out there for you and if you don’t know where to start when it comes to looking then check out our handy guide to choosing the best mattress.
Mattresses tend to last 7 – 8 years and in that time, you’ll spend almost 3000 hours in your bed, so it’s worth investing in a good mattress!
Pillows are a crucial component of a good sleep environment. In addition to having the right mattress, pillows play an important role keeping the head aligned with the neck and body during sleep and ensuring the spine is in a neutral position, which helps to alleviate pressure points, minimising aches and pains.
Without pillows to support the head and ensure neutral spine alignment, sleep can be interrupted during the night causing aches and pains, as well as sleep loss. Experts recommend replacing your pillow every 1 – 2 years. Pillows are important because they keep the head aligned with the neck and backbone during sleep. If a person's spine or neck is not in a neutral position, they may wake up during the night, causing sleep loss. To maintain spinal alignment while you sleep, the standard rule of thumb is to replace your pillow every 1 to 2 years. If you have allergies or asthma, ensuring your pillow is anti-allergy or hypoallergenic will help to reduce irritation and allergy symptoms.
7. Find your ideal sleep temperature
The temperature of a room or sleep space can have a serious impact on your sleep quality. The perfect bedroom temperature is said to be around 16-18°C, but ultimately, it’s down to personal preference. Your sleep temperature can be affected by a variety of factors including your own body temperature, your sleepwear, your bedding or duvet and the climate/weather. Try out different types of bedding and duvets for different times of the year to find your optimum sleep temperature and ensure maximum comfort for a restorative sleep.
8. Adjust your room colour
The energy of a room can be greatly influenced by the paint colour used on the walls. Vibrant, bold colours can stimulate the brain into thinking that it should be switched on and ready to go, so when it comes to creating an environment that is conducive to sleep, these colours should be avoided in favour of more neutral and pastel shared. Blue, green and yellow have all been suggested as ideal bedroom colours that will help to promote relaxation and a better night’s sleep.
9. The scent of a good night’s sleep
Smell is a very powerful sense! We associate scents with different states of emotion, experiences and memories, which is why it can play such an important role in your sleep environment. If you have trouble relaxing and unwinding as you lay in bed ready for sleep, essential oils could help when it comes to getting you in the right mindset.
The use of essential oils whether topically, on your pillow, in a diffuser or an oil burner, can help you to relax and quieten your mind in preparation for sleep. If you’ve ever had a spa treatment or massage, think about how your brain and body reacts when you enter the space and the associated smells that come with these environments, it evokes positive associations and an air of relaxation that you can tap into by using essential oils to create your own signature sleep blend that will help you drift off to sleep. Lavender is an extremely popular scent when it comes to scented products designed to aid sleep and has been used as a natural remedy to treat insomnia and improve sleep quality for hundreds of years.
10. Review your bedding
Getting into a clean bed with fresh sheets after a long day has got to be one of the best feelings ever! Having the right bedding on your bed is a critical component as it will impact on your comfort in more ways than one, you want your body to be comfortable and your room to be at a comfortable temperature to help you get a better, restorative sleep, the type of bedding you opt for may be influenced by the climate in your area and if the climate changes throughout the year, then so should your bedding choice as this ensures a comfortable sleeping temperature, all year round.
Some other points to consider when selecting your bedding:
- Natural breathable materials such as cotton, linen, wool or down are ideal for bedding and bedsheets
- Synthetic materials should be avoided as they can trap heat, leading to overheating and an uncomfortable night of sleep.
- Good bedding is worth investing in, so you should buy the best products that you can afford and ensure they are easy to care for at home e.g. machine washable