Getting a good night’s rest is probably near the top of everyone’s wish list, but how many of us know the extent to which our bedroom environment plays a role in us actually getting it?
Sleep. It’s something we all desperately need but can’t seem to get enough of. In fact, numerous studies show that very few South Africans (or humans in general!) manage to get in a decent eight hours or so of sleep each night. While battling to sleep can be attributed to a myriad of reasons such as stress, illness or mental disorders like anxiety or depression, your bedroom set up could be one of the culprits without you even realising it! With that said, here are our top tips for creating an optimal sleeping environment to help improve the quality of your sleep.
Keep it cool and dark
It might sound counter-intuitive, but research has found that the cooler your room is, the better your quality of sleep. In fact, most point to around 18Cº as being the best temperature to ensure you get a good quality rest. While this differs slightly from person to person, it can be used as a guide to ensure your room doesn’t get too cold or too warm while you are asleep. That said, if you live in a warm climate and you don’t have an air-conditioner in your bedroom, fear not! Keep a window open and the fan on while you sleep and close your bedroom door to avoid any hot air from creeping in. If your room gets any direct sunlight, keep your curtains or blinds closed during the hottest parts of the day to further assist with keeping your room cool.
Similarly, the darker your room is the better you’ll sleep so be sure to use block-out curtains or blinds where possible. This is because natural light has a major effect on our body’s natural sleep cycle as a bright room tricks it into thinking that it’s still daytime and therefore no time to be resting.
Find the perfect partner in your pillow & mattress
Everyone knows that an uncomfortable pillow or mattress can make the difference between a good – or a horrendous – night’s sleep! When looking for a pillow and/or a mattress, start by considering what kind of sleeper you are, for example, do you sleep on your back, on your side or on your stomach? This answer should help give you an idea of the kind of pillow and mattress you should be looking for in order to promote good spinal alignment and maximum comfortability while you sleep. If you can, be sure to test pillows and mattresses in-store before purchasing them so that you know you’re going home with exactly what you need for some high quality shut-eye.
Use sleep-promoting bedding
Your bedding can play a role in how well you sleep as the thread count and fabric itself can contribute to your overall body temperature and therefore your comfort while you sleep. Nowadays, there is a bedding option for “every body”, regardless of whether you tend to get hot or cold during the night. Bedding that is made from 100% cotton is one of the best options to go for if your body temperature runs high due to its cool, breathable and soft fabric. That said, if you are someone who tends to wake up feeling chilly, you can opt for fleece or silk sheets for that extra injection of late night warmth.
Get rid of clutter
As tends to be the case more often than not, clutter contributes negatively to our general sense of wellbeing and when it comes to sleep, clutter’s effect is no different. Having a cluttered and disorganised bedroom will do little to promote the sense of calm and balance needed for a good quality sleep so aim to keep your room as tidy and clutter-free as possible. If you’re stuck with a cluttered mess and are not sure where to begin, have a look at how the Danish Concept of Hygge or Maria Kondo’s KonMari Method can assist you with decluttering both your mental and physical space.
Add a touch of nature
Incorporating nature into our homes, and especially our bedrooms, can do wonders for promoting a greater sense of peace and wellbeing and in turn, affect how well we sleep. Not only this but some plants even act as natural air purifiers which further adds to their vast benefits when kept in a bedroom. Similarly, by bringing in natural essential oils, you can assist your body in winding down both mentally and physically prior to dosing off. Both lavender and vanilla are fantastic at promoting sleep and relaxation so make use of these in an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporiser in your bedroom before going to sleep.
At the end of the day, creating a bedroom environment that promotes an optimal night’s sleep doesn’t have to be overly complicated or even expensive. Remember that your bedroom is meant to be a place of relaxation, peace and tranquillity and if you are able to create that for yourself by making a few of these changes, you’ll be all the better for it when your eyelids finally do shut.