At no other time in recent history have we been so preoccupied with our sleep.
What was most important for many years was the magical eight-hour duration, the basic recipe for rest and recovery. But today, given our complex and hurried lives, the science of sleep has become more sophisticated. The focus is not only on sleeping longer, but also sleeping better. The quality, depth and continuity of sleep are among the criteria for a good night’s sleep as the cradle of our well-being.
Sleep trackers like smartwatches and Fitbits act like sentinels to our snooze hours, but while they’re tracking, they don’t improve. Good sleep is largely left to an individual’s habits and environment. Since I firmly believe that you can change the things that you can change for a better quality of life, I would recommend rearranging, modifying and optimizing your bedroom to make it high on your list.
Keep your room cool at 15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius. This is the prescribed sleeping temperature for adults. Studies show that cooler temperatures boost the production of melatonin, help you fall asleep faster, and encourage the body to have a restful deep sleep.
This is where growth hormones are released, muscles and tissues are repaired, and our bodies eliminate waste and toxins. If nighttime air conditioning is hurting your wallet, consider using a ceiling fan, which not only provides better airflow but is typically quieter than other types of fans. Keep your bed height closer to the floor where cooler air settles.
Comfortable mattress, bedding
Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and bedding. A good mattress should cradle your back and neck to reduce neck, shoulder, upper and lower back strain. There are no rules for firmness or softness, the choice depends on your body and sleeping position.
For pillows, firmer pillows give your neck better support when you sleep on your side. Softer pillows on your back prevent strain on your neck. If space allows, use a king-size mattress to allow for more movement. Also, keep in mind that memory foam mattresses are typically warmer, while the traditional innerspring mattresses offer better, more intense, or cooler, airflow. Choose wise.
Regulate your bedroom lighting
The artificial lighting in your bedroom should be kept at a warm temperature and placed at a height below your standing eye level. Avoid using overhead lights. If you must, keep them dark and yellow.
Studies show that the type of light you are exposed to throughout the day affects your sleep cycle. Therefore, stay away from blue light, which is mainly found in daylight and electronic devices, in the early evening. And during bedtime, white lights sabotage your sleep, so keep electronic device use to a minimum and stow them away after use.
Invest in acoustics
Reducing the amount of noise transmitted into your sleeping quarters can significantly improve sleep quality. Even if you don’t want to completely block out noise for safety reasons, installing crown molding around doorways, door jambs, installing acoustic curtains, or even adding a second layer of windows if you live in an overly noisy neighborhood can all prolong or significantly improve sleep quality
Wrap your room or set accents in cool colors
Studies have shown that cool, pastel colors in the bedroom — particularly bright blues, greens, and yellows — are conducive to sleep. They cool you down visually and are very soothing to the eyes. Avoid strong and bold blues and don’t use warm colors, especially the bolder reds and oranges, which are both visually distracting and suggest activity and restlessness.
Minimize visual clutter
Out of sight out of mind! Clutter stimulates the brain away from a quiescent state. If you have a work desk in your bedroom, place it out of your line of sight when viewing it from a seated or lying position on your bed. Store your books and other items in your bedside tables, including your electronics. If you have accessories, artwork, shelves, and other decorations, make sure they are properly arranged and free of anything that might bother you visually or trigger you emotionally.
Protect your eyes from morning light
Our optic nerves are very sensitive and a small ray of light can wake us up at dawn. While eye masks or covers are convenient, they can sometimes be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Make sure you have a layer of blackout curtains or shades, and pay attention to their edges where small gaps let in light. Make sure there is enough overlap or channeling to wrap around the edges and seal in the light.
Establish a sleep schedule
Science shows that the time you wake up is more important than the time you sleep. To regulate your sleep duration and quality, go to bed and make sure your alarm clock goes off at the same time every morning. Are you afraid of not getting enough? With regular waking hours, your body adjusts and your sleep becomes more efficient.
Our waking activities should be determined by our sleep cycles and not the other way around. Productive and enjoyable days can only take place when supported by a good night’s sleep, which may or may not be eight hours long, but with the quality, depth and continuity made possible by a well-designed environment.
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