Photo credit: Dimbledar
Here at Sleepio we think that the bedroom is the most important room in the house! Our sleeping environment plays a huge part in how we sleep so here are our top tips for making your bedroom sleep-friendly:
It’s oh so quiet
Ideally your bedroom should be fairly quiet, but it doesn’t have to be completely silent! Research has found that most of those living near busy roads for example quickly get used to traffic noise. Ear-plugs can be handy too. But noises inside the bedroom can be a different matter – I’ve actually dismantled a clock in the wee small hours because the ticking seemed to be the loudest thing ever. And that’s the thing - it’s often the case that sleep disturbance associated with noise is more to do with the person focusing attention on the noise than the actual level of the noise itself. Once we associate the noise with an inability to sleep, it becomes a source of irritation and frustration. So, it’s about changing how we think about the noise.
Hot, hot, hot
According to the Great British Sleep Survey, the most significant bedroom factor affecting poor sleepers is room temperature with 45% saying it negatively affects their sleep. Now, the ideal temperature for your bedroom is around 18°C. And it’s important to get the balance right – if you get too hot, you may get restless…. too cold and you may struggle to drop off or even have bad dreams. Dreaming is a light form of sleep. When we’re not at the right temperature we have lighter sleep of both the dreaming and non-dreaming varieties. So make sure your bedroom is at a comfortable temperature.
See the light
… or actually, don’t. As it gets dark, our brains begin preparing us for sleep by producing a hormone called ‘melatonin’. Light at night may inhibit the production of melatonin. Why’s this important? Well, melatonin is ‘the sleep hormone’: it’s released during the ‘dark phase’ of night and morning-light helps to shut down production. So, if we’re not producing melatonin, it’s more difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep. So, once the light’s off, your bedroom should be very dark. Blackout curtains or blinds work a treat – and so does an eye mask.
The thin blue light
Not the police but that blue light that comes from phones, laptops… pretty much every electronic device. Back to melatonin – research shows the blue light emitted from computer screens back-lit with LEDs may inhibit the production of melatonin which can leave us feeling more alert. It’s best to avoid any stimulating activity anyway at least an hour before we go to bed to give ourselves time to wind down – and that includes using your phone or laptop. But what about if you just leave your mobile on your bedside table while you sleep? Well, it’s not necessarily the mobile itself that’s affecting our sleep: it’s the way we react to it… so if we feel the need to check emails while we’re in bed. CBT techniques can actually help us develop a healthier relationship with our gadgets so we don’t feel the compulsion to always check our inbox or the latest status update.
When it comes to your bed, make like Goldilocks
We’re not suggesting you try everyone’s porridge but when it comes to finding your bed, make sure it’s just right. One in five poor sleepers put their poor sleep down to an uncomfortable bed. There’s no single formula to get it right: it’s down to the individual! So test out different mattresses, different pillow fillings and different bedding until you find what’s right for you! On average, we spend a third of our day in bed so we may as well be comfortable!