Everyone knows that getting a restful night’s sleep is essential for maintaining good physical and mental health and overall well-being. Consistently sleeping well and awakening refreshed, however, isn’t always as easy as it sounds. According to a study by National Public Radio, roughly 60 million Americans, or approximately 1 in 5, suffer from a sleep disorder. Although there are several factors that can affect sleep quality, many experts agree that environment can go a long way toward promoting sound, relaxing sleep. Here are a few tips to turn your bedroom into a comfortable, sleep-friendly sanctuary.
Sleep On the Right Mattress
Replacing that sagging old mattress is a good place to start. Factors to consider when shopping for a new mattress include your body weight and shape, preferred sleeping position and any physical disorders such as a history of back pain, neck pain or allergies. Choosing a mattress from among the various combinations of brands, sizes and comfort levels, however, can be overwhelming. That’s why all Sit ‘n Sleep Southern California locations have trained sleep consultants on duty who will be happy to help you select the mattress size, comfort level and bed type that’s best for your unique situation.
Use the Right Pillow and Bedding
Once you’ve selected a new mattress, add the right pillow to properly support your head, neck and shoulders. Adding a quality mattress cover will both protect your investment, and also guard against mildew, mites, bed bugs, mold and miscellaneous allergens, which is particularly important for people who suffer from allergies or respiratory problems. Finally, top it all off with soft, comfortable bed sheets.
Brighten Up Your Bedroom and Your Mood
Your bedroom’s color can directly affect your mood and disposition. If the walls are beginning to look a bit drab, consider repainting the room. Research indicates that hues of soft blue, yellow and green tend to have calming and relaxing effects. Shades such as purple, which is thought to stimulate the mind, or somber colors like brown or grey should be avoided in the bedroom. Other options that can help improve the room’s appearance include adding a decorative headboard, an accent piece such as a nightstand, a chest of drawers to hold clothing and linens or a mirror to make the room feel larger. Being more than just mattress stores, all Sit ‘n Sleep outlets carries a full line of bedroom furniture and accessories.
Keep the Room Cool
As you start to nod off, your body temperature naturally begins to drop in preparation for sleeping. A slight decrease in body temperature helps encourage sound sleep, which makes it important that the room is kept comfortably cool throughout the night. Sleep experts recommend a room temperature of 68° Fahrenheit or less, so be sure to adjust the thermostat before retiring, since a cool room can help your body. As amazing as it seems, a hot bath or shower shortly before bedtime will not only relax the body, but will also lower its temperature.
Block Out the Noise
Noise is another distraction that can prevent falling asleep, or worse yet, cause an already sleeping person to be abruptly awakened in the middle of the night. If the source of the noise is beyond your control, such as inconsiderate neighbors or nearby heavy traffic, consider blocking it by using a sound machine that emits soothing sounds such as a gentle rain shower, the surf or a breeze blowing softly through the trees. Relaxing music from a CD player or similar device with a shutoff timer is another possible means of overriding unpleasant noises. As a last resort, consider using earplugs.
The Darker the Better
Total darkness is best for deep, relaxing sleep. Even the light from a full moon coming through a window can keep you awake. Exposure to light suppresses the body’s production of melatonin, which is a naturally occurring substance that regulates the internal clock for the sleeping and awakening cycle. Too little melatonin can disrupt or even prevent sleep. Always turn off bedside reading lamps and nightlights before going to sleep. If it’s a light source from outside the house that’s keeping you awake, consider replacing the blinds or drapes with blackout curtains.
Turn Off Electronic Devices
Avoid keeping a TV or computer in the room, since they present distractions that can keep you awake beyond your body’s natural sleep cycle. Also avoid having other light-emitting devices such as cell phones, tablets and similar gadgets nearby, since they both distract attention and emit potentially dangerous levels of blue light. If you’re someone who’s uncomfortable not having your cell phone within easy reach at all times, place it face down on the nightstand to prevent being awakened by the light emitted if an incoming call or text message is received during the night. It’s also a good idea to position your alarm clock facing away to avoid the light it emits and prevent the distraction of repeatedly checking the time.
Scents of certain essential oils, which are highly concentrated distillates of natural oils found in plants, are known to help create a calming and relaxing environment conducive to relaxation and sleep. Called Aromatherapy, scents such as lavender or vanilla sprayed lightly onto the pillow at bedtime can help you drift off to sleep. Other ways to apply aromatherapy include putting a few drops of undiluted oil into the bath before bedtime or using a diffuser to dilute the scented oil before gently releasing it into the air surrounding your body.
Have a good night’s sleep!