Anxiety, stress, jet lag, a medical condition – these experiences could be causes of a sleep disorder or impairment. While sleeping disorder treatments will vary from person to person, a good sleep environment is never a bad idea for anyone.
Creating an environment that induces sleep could prove to be the necessary first step on your road to a better night’s sleep (and all the positive effects that come with it). Here are five fundamentals to keep in mind when creating your own “good sleep environment.”
1. Keep the Bedroom a Place of Rest: These days, many of us have notebook computers, wireless Internet, and other mobile devices that make it possible for us to transform any room into an office.
If you suffer from a sleep disorder and have trouble falling asleep, the first place to look for a remedy is your bedroom: make sure your bedroom is setup strictly for sleep – a place of rest away from work and play. Don’t make your bedroom into an office, a playroom, or a TV room. Your bedroom should be free of all distractions in the form of noise, light, or activity that will keep you from a good night’s sleep.
2. Ideal Temperature: When creating a good sleep environment, you need to make sure you minimize any discomfort that will keep your from sleep. Being too cold or too hot can disrupt your sleep and once your deep sleep is disturbed, especially for someone with a sleep disorder, it may be difficult to get back into the deep slumber.
Keeping the room at a constant, ideal temperature will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. While it’s really a matter of personal preference as to what the best temperature is, in general most people find that anything about 75 degrees Fahrenheit is too warm and anything below 54 degrees is too cold.
3. Comfortable Bed: One symptom of a sleep disorder or impairment is tossing and turning in bed during the night, and one reason you may be restless is because your mattress is uncomfortable for sleeping.
As with most anything in life, what’s “right” for you (and your back, your posture, your comfort) is specific to your body. However, research has shown that supple mattresses may be more conducive to a good night’s rest versus a firmer one.
Definitely avoid sleeping on a lumpy mattress. A new mattress may be in order if you’ve outgrown your current one, either in size or comfort. If you have a spouse who prefers a different type of mattress, consider getting the type of bed where each of you set the mattress to your perfect firmness.
4. Keep the Clock Out of Sight: If you can, try to keep your clock out of sight. Set the alarm and then put the clock somewhere away from you – out of your general view. For instance, instead of having the clock on the nightstand put it on the dresser in the far corner.
If a clock is visible, you may find yourself staring at it or waking up periodically to look at it. If you’re making an effort to create a bedroom that promotes sleep, it means that you’re becoming aware of an impairment.
If you’re trying to break the cycle of sleeplessness, then it’s important that you don’t focus on time. Checking on how long you have been awake can only lead to frustration and keep you from sleep.
5. No Lights: Remember that a dark bedroom can help your body “know” it’s time for rest. Light triggers a lot of physical and psychological reactions in us that is associated with our waking hours. Sleeping training your body to adjust to a regular sleep cycle by making clear distentions between daytime and bedtime.
When it’s time to sleep, keep light sources to a minimum, including when you get up to go to the bathroom. As with a TV, computer, or video game, you’ll want to avoid anything that can stimulate your brain or body out of rest. Even if your eyes are closed, light in your bedroom can disrupt your sleep.
If these steps are taken, in addition to noise reduction and a few other considerations, such as making a separate sleeping area for pets (that are used to sleeping with you) – then you should be on your way to eliminating some of the factors that may have been contributing to your persistent sleep problems.