Here’s how to turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary
With Easter just around the corner and the clocks about to change, now’s the time to remind ourselves of the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is vital for our overall health and wellbeing, impacting everything from our concentration levels and mood to our heart health and energy levels.
Our sleep has taken a significant toll over the past year. Due to the changes, health concerns and anxiety brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of insomnia and sleeplessness have risen significantly. In fact, an article published last year in The Guardian titled ‘How coronavirus has wreaked havoc with our sleep’ highlighted how the pandemic has affected everything from our sleep quality to our dreams.
So it’s now more important than ever to ensure your home is fully supportive of good and restful sleep. By making certain changes to your sleep space and setting certain boundaries, you can create a bedroom environment that encourages better quality sleep, supporting you in your quest to awaken feeling rested.
With that in mind, here are our top tips for making your bedroom as sleep friendly as possible.
Keep the temperature cool
The temperature of your sleep space can have a huge impact on how easy it is to get to sleep and stay asleep. Warmer temperatures can cause restlessness, excess sweating and general discomfort, and it’s advised that you maintain a cool temperature in your bedroom in order to encourage the best quality sleep.
Of course, everybody is different, so don’t be afraid to play around with temperatures to see what works best for you. However, sleeping with the heating on is generally considered a bad move, as not only can this cause stuffy heat but it can also cause you to wake up with a dry nose and throat.
Make sure it’s dark enough
Alongside temperature, light is a key feature that you’ll need to consider in your sleep sanctuary. Your internal clock is primarily based on light levels, so making sure your bedroom is dark is a good way to tell your body that it’s time to start winding down.
Any lighting you do use in your bedroom should be low. If you find yourself waking up with the changing light outside, invest in blackout blinds or curtains to shut out the outside world.
Soundproof your sleep space
Speaking of shutting out the outside world, noise pollution is a key reason behind many of our sleepless nights. Noise can impact deep sleep cycles even if you don’t remember waking up, and the culprits are often regular offenders like noisy neighbours and busy streets.
If the noise itself is outside your control, consider investing in noise-cancelling earplugs, or try listening to white noise or calming background sounds. This puts you back in control of the sounds entering your bedroom, giving you the chance to find out what works for you.
Establish a No Screens rule
Remember the internal clock we mentioned earlier? Because it’s primarily based on light levels, electronic screens can cause it significant disruption. If you’re scrolling through your phone right up until the moment your head hits the pillow, your brain will need to work extra hard to unwind. What’s more, the likes of news apps and social media platforms require us to digest huge reems of information very quickly, keeping our brains active while we scroll.
Instead, establish a rule whereby no screens are allowed in your bedroom. Try to avoid screens from phones, tablets, computers and TVs for at least an hour before you go to sleep, opting to read or meditate instead.
Get rid of clutter
Be mindful of the kinds of things you allow into your bedroom. Remember that this is a space which should be solely dedicated to sleep, so try to stop clutter from invading it, especially items like schoolwork or office work, bills, dishes and rubbish.
The rule ‘tidy house, tidy mind’ really does apply to the bedroom, so take a few minutes each day to make sure the space is decluttered and organised. The first step to achieving this is making your bed every day.