From noise pollution to environmental concerns, is city living stopping you from resting easy?
We all know good sleep is important. After all, sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health, alongside nutrition and exercise. Without sleep, we can quickly find ourselves feeling worse both physically and mentally, with lower energy levels, worse concentration and an increased vulnerability to chronic health conditions.
Which is why we all try to make effort to get enough sleep when we can, but those living in the city may be at a disadvantage. With noise, late night openings and other factors to contend with, how can city dwellers enjoy restful sleep every night in spite of their environment? Let’s take a look.
The potential damage of city living
Two of the most damaging factors to our sleep health are noise and light pollution, and both of these are far more likely to occur in busy urban environments.
Streetlights and neon signs, as well as lights from other homes and apartments, can make it difficult to get the cool, dark environment your body needs for good quality sleep. Similarly, traffic noises and other city sounds can make getting that peace and quiet you want feel impossible.
Your body needs darkness in order to know it’s time to start winding down. This is why using smartphones and tablets late at night can impact your circadian rhythm, as the blue light inhibits the release of vital sleep hormones like melatonin.
Those who live in a city, travel by car or public transport and work at a desk all day will often find that their lifestyle has a detrimental impact on their posture and musculoskeletal health, which in turn can damage sleep quantity and quality. Add in a mattress of questionable quality in a rented property, and this can make feeling comfortable come bedtime an almost impossible task.
How to enjoy better sleep no matter where you live
The city can present challenges to good sleep, but that doesn’t mean these challenges can’t be solved.
Household changes – such as investing in double glazing and blackout blinds – can go a long way when it comes to tackling common sleep problems like noise and light pollution. Blackout blinds will also help to keep your bedroom cool in the summer months, stopping you from becoming hot and uncomfortable when trying to get to sleep.
These are both ways to help create the optimum sleep environment in your home. Other changes you can make include investing in a quality mattress and banning phones and other blue light screens from the bedroom. Try to reserve your bedroom for sleep, rather than eating, watching TV and spending much of the day in there. This gives your bedroom a clear, singular purpose.
Setting yourself a bedtime routine you can stick to is important for sleep quality. Aim to go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day, giving yourself enough time to enjoy the seven to nine hours of sleep recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. Put your phone away around an hour before you intend to go to bed, and engage in something more relaxing instead such as reading or even meditation.
Stretching and exercise can help not only improve your posture and musculoskeletal health, but also to promote better sleep. Exercising during the day boosts your energy levels, and makes you feel ready for rest by the time night comes around.
With the right lifestyle and environmental changes in place, you can enjoy better sleep no matter where you live.