A must-read for those who have trouble sleeping
The bedroom is one of the most important and well-used spaces in our homes. Dreams.co.uk estimates that throughout an average lifespan, we spend a whopping 26 years sleeping. We also spend about seven years trying to get to sleep. Together, that equates to 33 years or 12,045 days spent in bed. Sleep has many proven benefits for the human body, including boosting mental health and enhancing our physical wellbeing. Sleep also plays a role in improving immunity and boosting weight regulation, fertility, and more. So, when it comes down to our bedrooms, it is essential that they are peaceful environments that encourage a good night’s sleep. Here are seven ways to create a peaceful bedroom:
1) Soothing wall color. A bedroom with décor that is busy or overly flashy may excite rather than encourage sleep. Thus, keeping a neutral shade, such as off-white, almond, or soft hues of blue in the bedroom, is optimal. Healthline explains that blue is likely the best color for a bedroom as it tends to have a more calming effect on the brain, per a 2018 study. A calm shade enhances feelings of tranquility and restfulness for many people, thus prompting one to fall asleep more easily.
2) Say goodbye to clutter. Clutter can take a negative toll on people, creating a chaotic and uncleanly atmosphere. To free one’s mind and create a serene space, it’s best to eliminate excess items. Being surrounded by too many things also makes cleaning difficult and can increase allergies and other irritants that may disturb one’s ability to sleep. If clutter is the result of other disorders, such as depression or anxiety, that can negatively affect sleep, it’s necessary to get at the root cause of those issues with the help of a qualified medical professional.
3) Room darkening blinds or blackout shades. While all shades block out some incoming light, there are varying degrees. Blackout shades are comprised of fabric that blocks 100% of incoming light, whereas room darkening blinds to block out anywhere from 95% to 99% light. Less than 95% is referred to as light filtering. In general, the use of light and dark to regulate sleep is important, with the absence of light telling the body it is time to rest. Putting away electronics and tech devices is also helpful, as the blue light emitted can keep people awake and interfere with one’s natural circadian rhythm.
4) Proper mattress. In addition to size, such as king, queen, full, and twin, there are many types of mattresses. To name a few, there are traditional spring mattresses, memory foam, pocket spring, and advanced and combination mattresses. There are also special features available, such as adjustability, CoolTouch technology, and more. The position of one’s sleep, one’s size and weight, and other factors such as mattress materials, lifespan, and overall budget, all come into play when deciding what mattress to buy. Comfort and proper physical alignment of the body’s head, neck, hips, and spine are of the utmost importance. Orthopedic mattresses tend to offer more support to the joints, back, and overall body and may help people who have trouble sleeping.
5) Comfy pillow. There are lots of types of pillows, such as down, feather, memory foam, gel, and more. The MyPillow technology uses patented interlocking fill that adjusts to individual sleep positions. Since everyone has different comfort levels, it’s essential to find the right pillow. Per Good Housekeeping, “The goal is to have your head and neck aligned so that when you’re lying down, your neck isn’t tilting in any direction.” Having a decent pillow is key to getting proper sleep and waking up without a stiff or painful neck.
6) Weighted blanket/room temperature. A weighted blanket is known to help improve the sleep of people with insomnia, especially for those who suffer symptoms of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. Using a weighted blanket, ones that are specially designed to be heavier than standard blankets can promote calmness, working much like a baby’s swaddle. Though generally safe, a doctor may guide you regarding your decision to use one. The use of blankets may be influenced by the overall room temperature. Sleep Foundation shares that the ideal bedroom temperature for sleep is 65 degrees F. on average. Being too hot or too cold can cause sweating or chills and have a negative effect on sleep. Thus, finding a balance in room temperature is crucial.
7) Peaceful sounds. Noises can interrupt the natural sleep stages that we cycle through each night. Studies show that environmental sounds, such as air and vehicle traffic, can increase stage 1 sleep and decrease slow-wave and REM sleep. Sleep Foundation states that nighttime noises may also cause extra production of hormones, elevated heart rates, and increased blood pressure. In a study using mice, circadian rhythms showed an increased sensitivity to noise trauma at night as compared to daytime. Thus, likely for most people, quiet is best at bedtime. A white noise machine or earplugs may be useful to reduce noise distractions.
Finding that you lack adequate sleep? Talk to your doctor first. In some cases, the inability to sleep may be related to some of the disturbances mentioned above. But, in other cases, there may be a true medical cause, such as sleep apnea. When uncertain, a doctor will likely suggest a sleep study to check for medical conditions that may delay, prevent, or interrupt sleep. Doctors may also make health recommendations on the use of products, medications, and therapies to promote sleep. Since getting a good night’s rest is vital for health, it is important to address all sleep issues promptly with your medical professional.
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