Feeling rested in the morning seems to be a virtue only a few get to experience. Our creativity, ingenuity confidence and leadership decisions can all be diminished because of a lack of sleep. Although insomnia can be a medical condition, sleep deprivation can be caused by the atmosphere in your bedroom. If you are a lacking the needed Zs, here are 7 easy ways to help you get back to the days when sleeping was a pleasure and waking up was exciting!
- Lighting: Dimming the lights about an hour before bed will tell your brain it’s time to shift into sleep mode, according to the National Sleep Foundation. A bedside or reading lamp is best to provide lower lighting levels and I recommend using 60-to-75-watt bulbs in lamps. Add blackout liners on draperies to prevent light from disrupting your sleep.
- Temperature: We sleep best in about 65 degrees. A ceiling fan can help regulate temperature and also provides white noise, which is soothing for a restful sleep. Make sure it is balanced properly because nothing is worse than a creaking fan! Consider a wireless remote so if you need to adjust the setting so you do not need to get out of bed.
- Keep it Clean: Get rid of clutter to give yourself some clarity of mind. Remember that at night, a messy bedroom will affect you. Even if you don’t see it, you know the clutter is there. Take that basket of laundry that you did not put away yet and move it out. Remove those guilt inducing items like desks and treadmills. This needs to be a place where you can relax and not be worried about that proposal you didn’t finish or run you didn’t do.
- Sleepy colors: A serene and relaxing atmosphere uses quiet, muted colors. These colors are comforting and improve sleep and relaxation. Soft shades of blue and green are best for feeling cool and relaxed. They’re linked to reduced heart rate, lower blood pressure, slower respiration and constricted pupils—all conditions that signal it’s time to sleep.
- Lose the electronics: Avoid distractions by removing all electronics from your room. I understand the craving for watching tv, using your laptop and having your smart phone in the bedroom, but believe me, they only make matters worse. If you must have a television, hide it in an armoire. As for your alarm clock, believe it or not, it can disrupt sleep. Good ‘old tried and true analog is best but if not, get one that emits an amber instead of a blue light.
- Bedding: Freshly washed linens can make sleeping much more pleasurable. Change your linens at least every week and add a soothing fragrance like lavender or vanilla to them when washing.
Top-of-the-line sheets are 100 percent Egyptian cotton. Second best is 100 percent pima cotton, or Supima. If a label says simply, “100 percent cotton,” assume it’s American upland cotton, a rougher, less expensive variety. Egyptian cotton’s long fibers produce sheets that are thin and sumptuous yet extremely strong and long-lasting. Pima cotton is also soft and less likely to pill than upland cotton.
- Mattresses & Pillows: As for whether or not to get a firm or soft mattress or pillow, use your body as a guide for what feels best through the night. The type and number of pillows you use depends in part on your sleeping position.
There is no strict rule about when to replace your mattress, but most have a lifespan of around eight years. Check for worn or sagging spots in the middle or at the edges, and make sure that when your partner moves, your position on the bed isn’t disturbed.
Give your pillows the same once-over for lumps and sags. When you sleep, your pillow should support your head and neck, allowing them to stay in a neutral position. Many doctors recommend replacing pillows every two years.