Does your bedroom send you to sleep?
A survey conducted in 2011 by the organisation Sleepio revealed the worrying statistic that over 51% of people in the UK regularly have trouble sleeping. Getting the right amount of sleep is essential (health practitioners recommend 7.5 to 9 hours a night): not only for health but for overall wellbeing. Did you know that sleep deprivation can affect your career, relationships and even your weight?
If you want to prioritise better sleep, one of the best ways to start is by looking at your sleeping environment. We asked Andrew Waters from 1907 to put together his top 5 tips on how to create a bedroom which will truly send you to sleep:
- What do you do in your bedroom?
No, that’s not what I was thinking... I’m talking about what your use your bedroom for beyond sleeping, whether you work in your bedroom, spend time online – we all know how addictive Facebook can be – or even watch TV in bed. These activities can cause stress and wake up your thought processes when you should be winding down. Research has also shown that the blue light given out by a computer or TV screen inhibits the body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin. So give your brain a rest and your body a chance by banishing technology from your bedroom.
- Love the dark
Despite the sophistications of 21st century living, we are still fundamentally animals, relying on our circadian rhythm to establish and maintain a healthy sleep pattern. While several factors influence our circadian rhythm, the main one is light – and not just daylight, artificial light can be disruptive too. Interestingly, the only light which doesn’t seem to have a noticeable impact is the orange light given off by fire – which means our hunter-gatherer ancestors could enjoy the protection of a fire by night and still sleep soundly. Invest in blackout blinds/curtains and make sure you turn alarm clocks with blue digits either away from you or off completely. This will also stop you clock-watching during the night and counting down the hours you have left!
- Cool it
As much as we love the idea of sliding into a toasty warm bed on a winter’s night, in fact it’s essential for your body temperature to drop before you can fall in a deep sleep. Ideally your bedroom should be around 16-18C – try opening a window half an hour before bed to let fresh air in and cool the room, even if you are more comfortable shutting it again before you go to sleep.
- Go green
Green works on the parasympathetic nervous system to produce feelings of calm and a sense of harmony, ideal for banishing any anxious thoughts before you settle down to sleep, while blues and violets are also known for their relaxing qualities. So consider redecorating your bedroom in a sleep inducing shade.
- Invest in rest
Forking out for a new mattress may feel like an expense you’d rather avoid, but you will reap dividends from getting a mattress which offers the right level of firmness and support. Everyone is different, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to mattresses. An unsupportive or uncomfortable mattress can cause untold disruption to your sleep, as you shift around trying to find a comfortable position. You may not realise how many times you were waking during the night until you find the right mattress and experience how different it feels to wake in the morning, refreshed, in the position you were in when you fell asleep.