Creating your ultimate sleep sanctuary
30 day sleep challenge day 13: the bedroom
The number one rule of sleep hygiene: keep the bedroom for sleep and sex.
The bedroom can quite often be one of the more neglected rooms in a house, it’s not on show when people come round and we only really go in there to sleep so why should it matter?
The advantages of having a comfortable, clean, peaceful room where you can retreat to at the end of the day should not be underestimated. A cluttered, technology filled room associated with work and chores does not make for a restful, restorative environment.
What you see when you walk into your bedroom can determine whether or not you are going to have an easy time getting to sleep that night. People with cluttered bedrooms tend to take longer to fall asleep which leads to increased tiredness and makes them less likely to de-clutter the next day, creating a rather vicious cycle.
Taking it back to basics
Simply removing the below activities from your bedroom can quite quickly turn it into a sanctuary for quality sleep.
- Televisions and laptops. The exposure to the artificial blue light tricks your brain into staying awake.
- Work. Doing any work based activities in the bedroom will condition your brain into thinking the bedroom is a place of work so when it comes to sleeping, it will be more difficult for you to switch off.
- Exercise. Anaerobic training is only going to convince your brain that the bedroom is no longer a place to relax and you may begin to associate it more with the chores you need to do rather than the place you can switch off.
A bedroom makeover
If you are looking to make more of a substantial change, below are some ideas you could begin to implement to turn your bedroom into the sanctuary you deserve and your precious sleep desires.
Comfort is key
Your bed is the heart of your sleep sanctuary and the place you spend a third of your life so make sure it is somewhere you enjoy being. Invest in quality and comfort and ensure you are replacing the key items regularly:
Mattresses (every 8 years)
Pillows (every 2–3 years, although some believe every 6 months)
Duvet (every 5 years)
Bedding should always be cotton as synthetic materials don’t breathe particularly well, making you hot and therefore disrupting your sleep. 100% Egyptian cotton and Pima cotton are the best choices as they are soft, durable and breathable.
Dim the lights
Light inhibits the production of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep. Your brain won’t produce melatonin if there is light so it is important to keep your room dark. Black-out blinds or curtains are particularly useful for this as are eye masks. Keep the alarm clock light off (knowing the time during sleep only causes stress) and use bedside lighting as opposed to overhead.
Touch bedside lights work really well as they allow for varying degrees of light intensity, meaning you can keep light to a minimum just before you go to sleep.
Keep it cool
Everyone has a slightly different optimal temperature for their room but research has indicated that an ideal room temperature of 65F/18C as being best for a restful night’s sleep.
Your bedroom needs to be a visually inviting place. A messy room can remind you of the chores waiting and does not help one to switch off and relax. Less is more furniture wise, put your clothes away and avoid having exercise equipment, computers and televisions in your sleep sanctuary. It should be a place you can go to switch off and escape the stresses of the day.
Keep it neutral
Blue and greens are considered cool and calming colours for the walls. If they don’t suit, try more earthy neutral tones like taupe, grey and beige. Avoid dark colours and walls of differing colours, they over stimulate the brain and make the room feel oppressive
Keep it fresh
Scented candles and diffusers not only set the mood, but can also help relieve stress and prepare one for sleep. Avoid heavy scents and instead opt for something lighter and softer. Lavender and vanilla are sleep inducing while mint and eucalyptus help reduce stress. Opening a window and airing out the bedroom also helps rid of musty smells and brings in fresh air.
A white noise machine, soothing sounds or ear plugs can all be used to balance or block out unwanted, background disturbances.
Use the hashtag #8anight and find us on Twitter @sleepkokoon to share your hints, tips, struggles and successes.