Build a Better Sleep Environment
It doesn’t take much to disrupt a good night’s sleep. The neighbor’s dog barking, the need to get up and take care of a sick child, and tossing and turning because of the stress that accumulates over the course of the day can all wake us up or keep us up. All these things can keep us from getting the sleep we need and are unfortunately are outside of our control. But there is one thing we can do to help promote sleep and decrease the number of distractions. It is completely within our control and builds a better sleep environment.
Regardless of whether you are an early riser or a night owl, there are some things that are consistently needed to get a good night’s sleep. Here are some things you can do and things you can change to create a bedroom that will help you slip off to sleep and stay asleep until morning.
1. The Noise You Need
Not everyone needs silence to sleep. For some people, silence is just as much of a sleep stealer as a radio blaring from the house next door. The National Sleep Foundation says that people who live in cities grow accustomed to the sirens and traffic and can have trouble falling asleep without those sounds. Likewise, someone who is used to sleeping in complete silence may struggle to get any sleep in a hotel next to the airport. The secret is figuring out which sounds and what volume of sound is useful to supporting your sleep.
2. Not too Hot, Not too Cold
Many people sleep best when the temperature is between 54 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, although even the NSF indicates there is no agreement amongst the experts. Generally speaking, we sleep better when our environment mimics what is happening in our body. As we fall asleep, our body temperature goes down, when it’s time to wake up, it rises. Therefore, a room that is on the cooler side is more conducive to falling and staying asleep throughout the night.
3. Leave the Light Off
Much of our sleep cycle and biological clock is controlled by light and darkness. Bright light, like sunlight, keeps us awake which is great during the day, but the light of a television, computer screen, or video game console can do the same thing. Monitoring your light exposure as you prepare for bed is crucial to helping you fall asleep. This means that you need to ban all those artificial light sources from the bedroom to safeguard your sleep. If you need to get up in the middle of the night, try to avoid turning on lights. Understanding the role light plays in your sleep schedule can also help with daytime sleepiness. If you are struggling to stay awake during the day, make sure you get more exposure to sunlight.
4. Cozy and Comfortable
In order to get the best night’s sleep possible, you need to be comfortable. Having the right bed, soft sheets, comfy pillows, and inviting pajamas are all important to supporting a good night sleep. There isn’t any right kind of mattress or right kind of pillow. What matters is that you find the right mattress and pillow for you. Hand-me-down mattresses may save you money but they can cost you a good night’s sleep.
- How Sleep Works: The Sleep Environment (sleepfoundation.org)
- Bolster Bedtime with a Better Bedroom (valleysleepcenter.com)
- 5 Things You Should Not Do in Your Bedroom (valleysleepcenter.com)