There are few things more important for your health than getting adequate sleep. As vital as it is to our well-being, there are plenty of nights when we don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours of shut-eye.
Poor sleep could be caused by a medical condition like sleep apnea, but more often environment plays a role. Luckily, you have a lot of control over the situation, and there are easy ways to improve your sleep environment.
Bump the Temperature Down a Few Degrees
As bedtime nears, our bodies naturally cool down. Bumping the temperature down on the thermostat slightly can help you cool off so sleep comes easier. If you have an overhead fan you can also turn that on instead of adjusting the thermostat.
Upgrade Your Mattress
A good night’s sleep begins with a comfortable, supportive mattress. Mattresses that are old, worn out or not made for your physical needs will create discomfort and leave you feeling sore rather than well rested. Allergens could be another issue. Old mattresses accumulate dust and debris that could cause allergies to flare up.
Upgrade Your Pillow
Your pillow is almost as important as your mattress in terms of getting good sleep. The key is finding a pillow that offers neck support without being too stiff.
Wrap Yourself in Comfort
Once the temperature is a few degrees lower and the mattress is perfect you’ll be ready to snuggle into your cozy bed. Invest in high-quality cotton sheets that are breathable and feel great.
Add a Few Orchids
Plants help purify the air, improving the quality of your sleep environment. A number of plants can clear toxins out of the air, but orchids are particularly good to have around in the bedroom. Unlike other houseplants, orchids give off pure oxygen at night when you’re most likely to be in the room sleeping.
Block Out the Light
Light disrupts sleep because the brain interprets it as daytime when our bodies need to be active. In other words, light tells your brain it’s time to wake up, and the darkness has the opposite effect.
Make an effort to block out all the light in your sleeping environment, including light coming from electronic devices. If you don’t have the cash for blackout curtains get an inexpensive eye mask to create total darkness during sleep.
Leave Electronics at the Door
The bright screens of our devices are altering our circadian rhythms and keep our brain buzzing long after it’s time to wind down. Make it a rule to refrain from using devices in the bedroom. If you absolutely have to keep your phone within reach while you sleep, flip it over so the screen is face down and won’t wake you up if you get a notification.
Keep Noise Under Control
A sudden sound can jar you out of sleep no matter where you’re at in the REM cycle. Like light, sound disrupts your ability to get to sleep and stay asleep. But it’s important to understand inconsistent sounds are the big problem.
White noise, a steady constant sound, can be beneficial if you can’t control all of the sounds around you. The whirring of a fan may be enough to drown out other sounds, or you may need to get a sound machine to sleep more soundly.
Ban Work From the Bedroom
The bedroom should be reserved for two activities, and work isn’t one of them. You want to create a strong association with the bedroom and sleep so that at bedtime your brain is primed for rest. Adding other activities to the mix will weaken the association and make sleep more difficult.
Add Soothing Decor
How the bedroom is decorated can also make a difference. You want to create a sleep environment using soothing colors and soft textures. One British study found that the paint color could make a big impact on the amount of sleep you get. People slept an average of 7 hours and 52 minutes in blue rooms, which had the best results. People with grey rooms clocked the least snooze time at 6 hours and 12 minutes at night.