You had a long day at work and feel like you can hit the sack any moment. Yet, you ﬁnd yourself lying in bed for ages, waiting for sleep to come. And when it does come, it’s not the quality sleep you were hoping for. Inevitably, you wake up the next morning feeling exhausted instead of well rested, and this vicious cycle day in, day out is really wearing you out. Time to take a closer look at your bedroom for factors that stand in the way of a good night’s snooze.
GRIME AND DIRT
Clean sheets mean better sleep. Considering the amount of time you’re on the bed, it’s inevitable that your sheets trap a whole lot of dead skin and perspiration – making it the perfect breeding ground for dust mites. To make sure you’re not sharing your space with these creepy crawlies, change your bed sheets at least once a week to keep your bed clean.
Time to clear that pile of laundry by your bed. Researchers from St. Lawrence University in the US found that sleeping in a cluttered room triggers feelings of anxiety, which prevents you from having a good night’s rest. And if you’re a huge fan of plushies and tons of room decor, try not to go overboard – having too many things in your room will make it difficult for you to relax. Hop on the minimalism bandwagon – it keeps your room stylish and helps you sleep better.
It sounds like a great idea to let your fur baby snuggle with you in bed, but that may be what’s affecting your sleep. If you have a single bed, it may be a bit of a squeeze to have your dog or cat sharing the space, not to mention the fact that it may give you an unnecessary wake-up call in the wee hours of the morning. According to a study conducted by Mayo Clinic in the US, people who slept on the same bed as their dogs had a lower sleep efficiency. So instead of sharing a bed with your cuddly pet, give it its own sleeping area by your bed.
It is recommended that you change your mattress every seven years and your pillow every two to three years. Don’t wait till your mattress pops a spring before you take action. Your mattress starts to sag in the middle over time, and this may cause you to wake up feeling sore and stiff. Old pillows are also bad news for your neck and back.
Zooming cars and noisy neighbours affect your deep sleep – even if the noise does not wake you – leaving you tired the next day. If you live near a busy street with many cars and pedestrians passing by, get ear plugs or listen to calming white noise that tunes out background noise. There are many phone apps that allow you to choose from a catalogue of ambient sounds to drown out disruptive noises.
Light delays melatonin production and sleep, so consider doing without your night light. According to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, light suppresses the production of the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep and wakefulness, causing the body’s perception of night-time to be skewed. If light seeps in easily through your windows, invest in blackout window shades or thicker curtains.
Watching TV before bed? Bad idea. The blue light emitted from the screen suppresses the production of melatonin, affecting your sleep-wake cycle. And if you have a tendency to scroll through your social media at bedtime, stop – your phone also emits blue light, which may keep you up all night. If you really must use your phone, make sure to switch to night mode, which eliminates blue light (Apple calls it the Night Shift Mode). Better yet, challenge yourself to keep your bedroom an electronics free zone – you’ll notice an improvement in your sleep quality.
Yes, the colour of your room affects the quality of your sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, an American non-proﬁt making organisation that promotes public understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, blue is the magic colour to get quality shut-eye. If you’re not a fan of blue, other cool hues such as grey, green and purple work too.