Sleep is precious. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Sleep allows our minds and bodies to recharge so that we can make good decisions and so that our bodies can function, and it helps to prevent disease. There are so many benefits to sleep, and yet there are many people who don't sleep enough. Sometimes, people don't prioritize sleep because they feel that their time can be better spent doing other things. More people struggle with sleep—falling asleep or staying asleep—which could be due to many internal and external factors.
Creating the Perfect Sleep Environment
If you struggle with sleep, there are steps that you can take in order to set yourself up for success. Consider some of these things that you can do to make your environment more conducive to quality sleep.
Temperature and Sound
The temperature in your bedroom can directly affect the quality of your sleep experience. Experts suggest that the optimal sleeping temperature is 65 degrees. If you're too cold or too hot, it's less likely that you'll sleep soundly. If you share your bed with another person, it's pretty unlikely that you always agree on a temperature that makes you both happy. Without adjusting the thermostat, you can keep yourself comfortable by adding or removing blankets, choosing different sleepwear, or opening a window or running a fan.
The noise level in your room can also impact your sleep. Do you silence your phone when you sleep? Do you have pets or children who sleep with you in your bed? Is there a lot of noise from your neighbors or on the street that is interrupting your rest?
You may think that some of these things can't be managed, but they can! You can silence your phone with confidence because there's a setting which allows calls from certain people to ring through even in a silent setting; that way, you won't miss an emergency call from a parent or a child. If you have lots of people and pets sharing your space, upgrade to a larger bed so that everyone can have enough room, or consider transitioning pets and children to their own comfy spaces so that you can all get more rest.
Sound machines that play white noise can help to block out outside sounds that you can't control. There are also ways that you can soundproof your windows to keep noises out.
Mattress and Bedding
Did you know that you're really supposed to replace your mattress every five to seven years? While that may seem like a pretty frequent turn around, a consistently positive sleep experience is worth it. Save up for a great mattress that you love. Consider your needs such as preventing pain in your hips or back, if you need some sort of breathable material to keep you cool, or a mattress that allows you and your partner to select different levels of firmness for optimum comfort.
Your bedding is as important as your mattress. Are you always cold? Consider flannel sheets. Too hot? Look for breathable, moisture-wicking weaves and materials for your sheets that will keep you comfy. Maybe you need your own fleece throw while your partner throws their side of the duvet over to you. It is also possible for there to be too much going on on your bed.
Tons of pillows and fluffy blankets look great when the bed is made, but once it's time to sleep, most of that should probably be put off to the side so that you don't wake up confused and covered in throw pillows in the middle of the night.
An Environmental Factor
Maybe you've finally settled on your perfect bedding and you love it. But you still can't sleep. You get stuffy, your partner snores (clearly, it's not you), or you wake up and can't fall back to sleep. It might not be you. Somewhat surprisingly, bedrooms are fairly susceptible to mold growth. Much like your basement, attic, or bathroom, if the humidity level in your bedroom is too high, mold can grow on window sills, between tightly hung clothes in your closet, or on your mattress if you aren't caring for it properly. If you've noticed a musty smell, cracking paint or dark stains on the walls, or dampness in the closet, it would be wise to hire a mold remediation specialist to investigate. Untreated mold can damage your property and the quality of your sleep.
Decor and Layout
Your choice of color palette can have an impact on your sleep as well. No, not while you're actually sleeping, but as you settle into your room at night, it's important that you choose colors that promote comfort and relaxation rather than stimulation. Bright yellow is gorgeous, but maybe not for the place where you're trying to wind down. Think neutral colors like gray, white, or tan, soft pastels, or rich, dark colors like forest green or navy blue that make you feel cozy. Choosing light bulbs that offer a softer wattage are better for the bedroom, or consider a dimmer switch for your overhead light. A tidy room is more relaxing than a cluttered one, and a low-tech environment is more likely to help you relax than having the temptation of responding to just one more email.
The way that you position your bed is important, too. If you face a window, be prepared to be awoken by dawn's early light, unless you invest in blackout curtains. You should also have easy access to an exit so that if you need to get up in the night for any reason, you're not stumbling over or into furniture or other belongings. Even having nightstands that match the size of your bed will help you to relax when you know that you can reach a tissue or water bottle or see the clock easily.
Putting It All Together
You value the quality of your rest, so you're going to do your best to make sure that your room is set up for a perfect night of sleep . You can run the air conditioner or a dehumidifier to control the level of humidity in your room, which helps you to sleep more comfortably and prevents mold from growing. Once you've found your perfect mattress, you should flip it from time to time to promote air flow and occasionally air it out so that mold doesn't have a chance to damage it and interrupt your rest by making you stuffy.
You should also avoid laying on your bed if your hair is wet from the shower or the pool and don't lay wet or damp towels or clothes on the mattress.
Great sleep can be achieved if you take the proper steps to set up your room for rest and control the environment to prevent factors that might impact your sleep.
Getting a sleep routine and figuring out what your body needs to be able to fall asleep. If you have done a lot of research and put a bunch of effort into your sleeping and you still can’t fall asleep you will want to consider consulting a trusted medical professional.
What are some things that you do to help you fall asleep and stay asleep? Comment below and be sure to share with a friend that has trouble falling asleep!