It’s been proven that quality, at least where sleep is concerned, matters more so than the hours of sleep you count. But what are the best ways to ensure you reach the peak of slumber and stay there for as long as possible?
According to research, your bedroom can greatly affect your quality of sleep, as such, it is important to create a space that is as conducive to rest as possible.
Related: How to get to sleep: 7 surprising tricks and tips
8 ways to prepare your bedroom for the best sleep ever
Bedrooms should be more focussed on natural light during the day and softer, darker light during the evening. LED bulbs may be more energy efficient, but try to keep them out of the bedroom as they can make it harder to fall into a restful mood.
The bedroom should be used for sleeping and intimacy only, recommends The Sleep Health Foundation. They suggest removing all distractions from the bedroom such as televisions, computers, radios or mobile phones. They even recommend covering a clock to avoid clock watching.
Technology like smart phones and alarm clocks emit a blue and invasive light that disrupts our natural melatonin production. If you are unable to rise with the sun, then set an alarm clock that isn’t backlit and keep it on the floor, or as far away from your head as possible.
If you listen to meditations before bed make sure to place the device away from the bed before laying your head down.
Try these relaxation tapes for sleep.
Make your bed
It may seem like a waste of time in the morning, but by taking an extra few minutes to make your bed after you wake up, you are actually preparing the room to be more relaxing when you get home.
Change the sheets
You should change your sheets at least once a week. By keeping the sheets clean you are clearing the breeding ground for disruptive dust mites. Not to mention getting into new sheets has an overwhelmingly positive outcome on our mentality.
Colour me happy
Bedroom walls, decor and bedding are the most sleep-inducing and restful when they are decorated in soft and muted colours. Light blues, grays, whites and lavenders as well as simple patterns like stripes or ombres – as opposed to loud wallpapers – are all the most conducive to sleep.
Keep it cool
When we sleep our bodies start to shut down, slowly turning off unnecessary parts, preparing to enter into our very own ‘rest mode’.
When that happens, our core temperature drops. Helping the process along by forgoing artificial temperature control and replacing your heater with a water bottle, will speed up the natural progression – bringing you even closer to your dreams.
Place the bottle close to your feet, where the heat will dilate the blood vessels in your limbs, helping to redistribute heat throughout your body.
Experts say an ideal temperature for sleep is around 18 degrees and while that may seem too cold, think about the joy you get from cuddling up under warm blankets – you never want to leave right?
Keep a timer on your mattress and pillows
Jennifer Adams, a sleep environmentalist, told The Huffington Post that the age of your mattresses and pillows could be affecting your slumber. “So many people who don’t sleep well are allergic to dust, and they don’t realize how dusty their bedrooms really are,” said Adams. “Your mattress and pillows have allergens that get trapped in them and are difficult to ever wash out. A lot of people who have sleep apnea or wake up exhausted every day have told me that once they changed out their mattress and pillows and then got allergy barrier encasements, they started getting a good night’s sleep and woke up feeling really refreshed. If you don’t change out your pillow every two years, it’s just laden with junk inside there. No matter how nice your pillow is, you have to get rid of it. A mattress can last up to 10 years.”
Breathe it in
Apart from being an olfactory treat, essential oils can also have numerous therapeutic benefits. It’s important to note here that it is only the essential oils that have a therapeutic effect. Oils labeled ’fragrance oils’ or ’aroma oils’ are usually synthetic and do not contain the numerous components that enable the healing action of essential oils.
Citrus based scents should be kept out of the bedroom at nighttime, as they act to invigorate the senses, rather than relax them. Filling your room with relaxing scents like lavender and neroli have a far more calming affect on your mood and can assist in quieting the brain.
Related: What not to eat if you want better sleep