Setting the right tone and mood for sleep is crucial for that deep, quality restorative sleep we want so badly. If you're a little haphazard about your bedroom environment, you might sleep through the night, but it might be lower quality sleep than if you take the time to really create a healthy sleeping space.
Here are a few ways your bedroom might be hurting your sleep and what to do about them:
Your bedroom is too hot.
To prepare for sleep, your core body temperature actually drops. If your bedroom is too hot, it's harder for your body to kick through its "go-to-sleep" cycle and you'll also be more likely to wake up. The ideal bedroom temperature is between 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're still waking up too hot, evaluate your covers and pajama setup: it might be time for a little de-layering.
Your bedroom is too bright.
Your melatonin production (AKA your go-to-sleep hormone) is so sensitive to light. While our eyes contain a large portion of receptors for light, it turns out these receptors can be found in our skin too! Even if you sleep an adequate amount, the quality of your sleep will be negatively impacted by a light or dimly lit room.
Your bedroom should be a nice pitch black when the lights are off. The less you can see your hand in front of your face, the better. The total darkness helps melatonin do its thing without interruption. Some practical solutions for keeping your bedroom dark:
- Use blackout curtains or shades. Cover up your windows where light can leak in. If you live on a street with lots of streetlights, this is important. Out in the country, less so.
- Use an eye mask at night.
- Cover up any small blinking lights from electronics.
Your bedroom is too noisy.
Another important factor that could interrupt your sleep quality is intermittent noises at night.
Cars passing on the street, buses zooming by, airplanes overhead, dogs barking, snoring partners: all of these noises have the potential to wake you up at night.
If your bedroom is in an area prone to intermittent noise at night, I recommend using some sort of white noise: a machine, an app, etc. White noise is a blanket term to describe adding noise in order to mask other noise. You’re essentially creating a consistency in your aural environment that is harder to interrupt and thus you’re less likely to be woken up in the middle of the night by a passing car.
What about sleeping with earplugs?
Well, it’s best not to use them every night but it does offer the occasional relief when needed. I like to pack earplugs when I travel because you never know what middle-of-the-night sounds happen in a new place.
Your bedroom is the opposite of calm.
Make your bedroom a sleeping sanctuary. Your bedroom should be a place to relax at the end of the a long day. Here are a few practical tips:
- Fill it with fresh air! If you can open windows while still maintaining that cool temperature - that’s great.
- Add plants! Yup: it’s no secret that leafy green creatures give you better air (we recommend jasmine, snake tongue, or English ivy for the bedroom!).
- Use soothing tones for walls and bedding.
- For dry air around this time of year, try adding a humidifier to bring some moisture to your air.
To sum things up, our bedroom should be cool, dark, and comfortable. While this seems like common sense, it’s often quite surprising how many bedrooms work against better sleep.