The Sleep-Promoting Bedroom
Missing out on sleep makes you grumpy, weakens your immune system, and you might notice more acne on your face than usual. A sleepless night can even make it more challenging to lose weight, making your weight loss goals even harder to achieve. And being obese (which itself increases the risk of heart disease), in turn, can make falling asleep nothing but a dream. These are all just a couple of reasons why you should be sleeping enough!
If you’re unable to sleep and you’ve been following a sleep routine (avoiding a big meal before bed, limiting caffeine in the afternoon, etc.), then the problem could be with your bedroom. Researchers believe that your bedroom can affect how deep you sleep in the following ways:
- Sound: Your bedroom should sound silent at night. A car honking in the middle of the night can wake you up and keep you up. Try blocking the outside noise with a sound machine, a fan, or earplugs. You can also try stuffing a towel or a blanket in the space under your bedroom door. And before you go to bed, remember to put your phone in silent mode.
- Smell: Did you know that there’s a part of your brain that controls your emotions based on what you smell? It’s called the amygdala, and it receives information from olfactory neurons inside your nose. This means that you might have a better time drifting off if you have an oil diffuser in your bedroom or apply lotion under your nose when you go to bed. Never use a candle or incense to help you fall asleep.
- Light: A dark bedroom causes your body to produce melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Blue light from electronics can reverse this, though, throwing off your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is a clock your body uses to know when it’s time to sleep. Dimming the lights around bedtime and going outside in the morning can keep your circadian rhythm in sync with the day.
- Temperature: No one likes waking up drenched in sweat! If it’s cold outside, open a window in your bedroom if you have one. Also, using lighter blankets and having a fan can make the bedroom cooler. (If you often wake up sweaty along with chills or a fever, then let your doctor know.)
- Mattress and pillow: A squeaky bed and joint pain are signs that it’s time to get a new mattress. Your mattress might be causing this because it’s no longer strong enough to support your body. The same thing happens to pillows as well. You know your pillow isn’t any good when you wake up with neck pain.
- Decor: When decorating your bedroom, go for grayish and soft shades of green, blue, beige, and pink. These colors are associated with better sleep than brighter colors like red or orange. It might also be helpful to hang pictures in your bedroom that you find relaxing. Also, keep your bedroom clean so you won’t trip or fall if you have to get up at night.
When to Get Out of Bed
There will be some nights where no matter how hard you try, you still won’t sleep. When you’ve been tossing and turning, get out of bed and read a book or take a warm bath. You want to associate your bed with sleep only, not with work, scrolling through your phone, or watching the television. If you don’t, your body will believe your bed is a place to work rather than sleep. As a result, you could struggle to sleep because of the association your body has with your bed.