Bears hide away in dens. Rabbits nestle in warrens. People retreat to their bedrooms. Sleep experts agree that, like many animals, we need quiet, darkness, cool room temperatures, and general comfort to get plenty of good, refreshing sleep.
Create a sleep-friendly bedroom
If you’re looking for some easy and quick things you can do to get a better night’s sleep, you need look no further than your own bedroom. Your bedroom environment, in fact, profoundly affects the quality of your sleep. Sleep scientists agree that a good sleep environment is dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool.
Factors to consider
Consider the basic elements of your sleep environment: light, noise, temperature, and comfort. Any of these factors can increase the restlessness of your sleep and the amount of time you spend awake throughout the night. Each component can also affect the sleep of anyone who shares your bed—whether your partner, pet, or child—and their discomfort can in turn disturb your sleep.
Keep it quiet
Many people find that even small amounts of noise can disturb their sleep. Try dealing with noisy disruptions like a bed partner’s snoring by using earplugs, or by turning on a “white noise” machine, a CD of ocean waves, or a fan, before turning in for the night. White noise is static, whereas the volume on a TV can change rapidly and unpredictably, and that can disrupt sleep.
Keep it dark
A dark room helps us to sleep. Light is the key indicator to your body that it’s either daytime or nighttime. If you’re getting too much light at the wrong times, you’re more likely to confuse and disrupt your body’s internal clock, which can make sleeping at the right times more difficult.
To block outside lights – such as street lamps or light in neighboring homes, try using window blinds, blackout curtains, or heavy drapes. An eye mask can provide you with a personal zone of darkness, and can be helpful if your partner’s reading light keeps you awake.
If you tend to wake up during the night, keep the lights in your sleep environment dim. A small night light in the hallway or bathroom can gently and safely light your way.
Keep it cool
A cool room sets the stage for sleep. Experts agree that in most cases, sleep can be enhanced with the room between about 65°F and 75°F, while temperatures above 75°F or below 54°F tend to disrupt sleep. In summer, cool things down with an air conditioner or fan. In winter, snuggling under comforters or electric blankets can keep you warm without making you feel weighed down.
A good bed matters
Your mattress and its foundation can also make an enormous difference in how well you sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most good quality mattresses have a life expectancy of 9 or 10 years. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. If you share the bed with a partner, you’ll sleep better on a mattress that gives you both enough space to move easily.
Reduce stress and relax
A good sleep environment is low on stress. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says your bed is a place to rest, not a place to worry. Research shows that watching TV is not conducive to calming down and falling asleep. Consider removing electronic stressors from the bedroom, such as your laptop computer, tablet, phone and TV.