With so many of us tossing and turning and struggling to find enough time to get the sleep we need, it makes sense to do everything we can to make sure our surroundings are as supportive of sleep as possible. November is National Sleep Comfort Month which is a great time to think about the important role comfort plays in our ability to get a good night’s sleep. Unless you are seriously sleep deprived and could sleep standing up in line at the DMV, comfort can make a big difference in both your quality and quantity of sleep. Take a little time this month to assess how comfortable your sleep environment and make any adjustments needed to ensure you are getting the maximum benefit of every minute you spend between the sheets.
There are many ways that our level of comfort can impact our sleep. By and large, the majority of them make up our sleep environment. In order to assess how comfort is impacting your sleep, you need to start there. Here are some tips for creating a cozy, comfortable sleep environment that will make it easy to slip off to sleep and help ensure you are getting the sleep you need.
1. Start with the Surface
Most of us sleep on some kind of bed and this sleeping surface is key to creating a level of comfort conducive to sleep. When determining the effect this surface is having on your sleep, you need to consider several factors. First, do you have enough space? If you are 6’4” and sleeping in the twin bed you had as a kid, you definitely don’t have enough room to sleep comfortably. If you sleep with another person, make sure the size of your bed allows you both to move around over the course of the night without waking each other. If you are sleeping on that childhood mattress, you probably need to invest in a new one. Take your time when picking a mattress. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people who spend at least 15 minutes testing each mattress before making a decision were more satisfied than those who took less time.
Bedding, the pillows, sheets, and blankets that go over the surface are also an important component on comfort. On one hand, soft sheets and fluffy pillows help create the cozy environment your body crazes at bedtime. On the other hand, the bedding you choose also plays a part in one of the other comfort factors, temperature. Keeping your sleep environment at the right temperature makes a real difference in how well you sleep. Our body temperature drops when it is time to sleep and the best sleep environment is on the cooler side so as not to disrupt this natural state. There is such a thing as being too cold to sleep however, which is one of the things that bedding can do for us, help us manage the temperature around us to optimize sleep. However, bedding that keeps us too warm can have the opposite effect, keeping us awake or causing us to wake up prematurely.
The third element that can significantly impact our sleep comfort is distractions. Eliminate things that emit unnatural light, use white noise or ear plugs to mitigate external sound, and leave electronic gadgets in the other rooms of the house. Keep your sleep environment for sleep and your body will become accustomed to sleeping when you go there.
- How Sleep Works: The Sleep Environment (sleepfoundation.org)
- 5 Home Remedies That Can Help Your Sleep (valleysleepcenter.com)
- How to Keep Summer Heat from Stealing Your Sleep (valleysleepcenter.com)