Designing for Good Sleep
Finally, the dinner mess is cleaned up, kids are in bed and you’re ready to follow suit. It’s been a long day and you can’t wait to get to dream land. You march into your room, clear your bed of clutter, click on the TV and check your email one last time. You’ve been waiting for this all day and yet you can’t coax yourself to sleep. What happened? Well, your sleep environment can have a much larger impact than you think. In this blog you’ll learn how to create the perfect place to lay your head at night.
I know it doesn’t seem to be a big deal to have that last load of laundry piled in the corner or a stack of bills on the dresser but your brain would disagree. When you leave little messes or unfinished projects laying around your sleeping area it acts as a constant reminder that you have unfinished business you’ll eventually have to attend. This can lead to unnecessary anxiety that can rob you of your shut eye. Put stuff away in drawers or closets and try not to bring work into the bedroom. Even piling your unfolded laundry in the closet out of sight will help. The phrase out of sight out of mind really rings true for your bedtime environment.
Just like your kids, you’ll get to sleep faster if you follow a consistent routine each night. Whether it’s drinking a warm cup of sleepy time tea or reading before shutting out the lights, doing the same thing each night prompts your brain for bedtime. However, for a lot of us our routine includes checking email and watching TV right before bed. And while it’s great to do the same thing every night, you might want to re-think working on your electronics right before hopping in the sack. The bright light can be super stimulating and makes our brains perk up, exactly the opposite of what you want. And checking emails is prompting you to think about business which, again, can lead to anxiety right before bed.
Light and sound
Even the slightest light can keep you from your best sleep. Humans are diurnal which means we sleep when it’s dark. Light is actually one of the things that helps us become alert in the morning. If you’ve got a bright street light outside that you don’t think is having an effect on your sleep you’re probably wrong. Try getting some room darkening drapes to block that light at night. You can still keep them open and the room bright during the day but shut them at night and you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll sleep.
A quiet room is also key. Even a slight clock tick can disrupt your slumber. If you can’t stand the silence, try some white noise. Anything that quiet and a consistent humming will help drown out the sleep stealing noise you might get from outside. Try a fan or even a sound machine with settings like “rain” or “ocean.”
Last and certainly not least is the surface you’re sleeping on, your bed. Surprisingly, this is one of the most over looked things in your bedroom but has the most influence on your sleep quality. Sure that hand-me-down mattress you’ve had since college still looks decent but if it’s over ten years old or feels lumpy, it’s not making the comfort cut. If you feel like you’re constantly rolling to middle or the edges against your will, your bed isn’t supportive anymore and needs replacing. If you wake up after a solid 8 hours and still feel achy and tired, your bed is probably to blame. If you fell lumps or bumps, then, you guessed it, it’s your bed.
While you don’t need to spend a fortune to upgrade, you do need to be picky. Let’s face it, you spend a third of your life in bed so do your homework. Go lay on some mattresses and not just for a minute or two, for 10-20 minutes in all the positions you usually sleep in. I know, it’s awkward to lay around on beds in a store but you need to make sure that you make the right investment in your sleep. If you like memory foam the Beautyrest Comforpedic line is a great option. If you prefer luxury with a great innerspring support system, your best bet is Beautyrest Black line.
Once you make these simple changes you’ll see a noticeable improvement in your sleep and in turn, you’re everyday life.