How well you sleep directly affects your quality of life. And, truth be told, we could all use a good night’s rest right about now. Incidentally, your lifestyle and living environment also play an important role in how well you sleep, with stress being a well-known disruptive factor.
The internet is full of advice about how to get a good night’s rest, including avoiding electronics an hour before going to sleep, meditating and even incorporating feng shui principles that are conducive to sleep. But, one thing is certain: sleeping well starts with the bedroom itself.
Because we spend almost one-third of our life in bed, we might as well make it comfortable. So, if dozing off has become a challenge and sleep-tracking apps have lost their mojo, here are some bedroom hacks that can help you create the perfect environment for a well-deserved snooze.
1. Reduce daytime activities in the bedroom
Bedrooms often serve multiple purposes, even if you live in a one-bedroom apartment. For instance, they can double as nursery, playroom, all-around entertainment room and, especially nowadays, home office. But, it’s important to remember that the ultimate purpose of the room is to disconnect and rest comfortably at the end of the day. Consequently, thinking of the bedroom as a sleep sanctuary and making bedtime a special time of the day can help your body and mind get in the right mood to press pause. To do so, avoid spending a large portion of your day in the bedroom. As tempting as it is to have a quick snack there, work on your laptop in bed or watch the kids in there at all times, try to separate daytime activities from nighttime activities. This might be difficult if you live in a studio apartment, but it’s nothing a separator can’t fix.
2. Choose a good mattress
The bed you sleep in can make or break a good night’s rest. One key way to make sure you’re comfortable while sleeping is to invest in a quality mattress that keeps your spine aligned. Even if sleep comes easy for you, it’s a good idea to replace your mattress if it has several years under its belt or you tend to wake up with aches.
The good people at Avocado Mattresses also remind us that you can’t put a price on comfort. So, before you make your choice, do some extensive research because, although it’s certainly justifiable, a new mattress is also a big investment. Look for hypoallergenic materials for your mattress, as well as your bedding, and try different types of mattresses, such as memory foam or pillow-tops. It might just change your life! And, while you’re at it, throw in some good adjustable pillows, too. Your neck muscles will thank you every morning!
3. Use blackout blinds
Nothing says bedtime more than a comfortable, dark bedroom. Light can be the greatest distraction when trying to fall asleep, and it’s also the easiest way to interrupt your REM cycle in the morning. For some, feeling the morning sun as we wake up is a healing experience, but for others, it’s one of the harshest ways to greet a new day. Regardless of the category of sleepers you fall under, blackout blinds like those from Select Blinds are a great way to block out any disruptive light — be it natural or artificial — such as headlights, streetlamps or anything that city nightlife throws at you. Or, if total blackout is not an option in your home, try heavier, floor-to-ceiling curtains or a trusty eye mask.
4. Avoid electronics in the bedroom
One of the hardest things to do is get off your devices before calling it a day. Before you know it, scrolling through feeds and thinking “one more episode” turn into your sleep schedule’s worst enemy. That’s because exposure to artificial light can suppress melatonin, the hormone that relaxes your body and tells it that it’s time to sleep. And, because blinds can’t eliminate artificial light coming from inside the bedroom, it’s up to you to avoid any electronic devices with LEDs or lit displays of any kind. This includes your phone, although placing it screen-down works well enough.
Meanwhile, if you’re someone who can’t sleep without background noise and depend on the TV to provide it, consider alternatives. For example, check out white noise machines like those from Sound of Sleep, or use a fan that can offer you the comforting humming sound your brain needs to enter the right mindspace.
5. Invest in dimmable lights
Now that you’re ready for bed, the last hurdle is actually falling asleep. Low-wattage lighting is your best friend if you’re trying to get sleepy. But, you still need something more powerful to start your day bright and early, which is why dimmable lights are the best way to go. Installing dimmer switches on your bedside lamps and overhead lights allows you to control the brightness. Depending on what you choose, you may even be able to do so via remote control, Bluetooth or an app. For a sunset experience, you can also schedule a gradual dimming down until it’s time to hit the sack. If dimmable lights don’t work for you, there’s always room for a classy lampshade.
Try these quick tips to help you create the best sleep environment as the importance of a good night’s sleep seems more important than ever. Not only does it help relieve stress, but it can also boost your immune system and give you the energy you need to keep going and stay focused.