We’re all Sleep-Deprived
Let’s face it, most of us aren’t getting enough sleep. Between work, social lives, and precious time spent with family, it’s hard enough to find a minute for ourselves let alone a solid eight hours for some much-needed shut eye.
But something pretty cool has been happening in the past few years; we have seen a major increase in the popularity and emphasis placed on self care. There are major benefits to taking the time to take care of yourself. We’re starting to understand that you need to practice being selfish sometimes to be at your best for others. And getting enough sleep should be top priority.
There are a lot of things you can do for yourself to make falling asleep easier. For this post, we’re going to focus on manipulating your surroundings, rather than your body, for optimum benefits when it comes to falling asleep and staying asleep.
Creating Your Sleep Oasis
For best sleep results, your bedroom should be as dark as possible. Light tells our brains it’s time to wake up. It also slows the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
There are a few things you can do to make your room as dark as possible for sleep:
- Install Blackout Curtains – Installing blackout curtains in your bedrooms allows you to block out virtually all outside light. This is great if you live in a city or close to either the North or South Poles, where daylight hours are far extended during the summer months.
- Use a Sleep Mask – Take a page out of Holly GoLightly’s book and cover your peepers with a sleep mask to block out any light while you dream. Added bonus, it’ll make you feel extra fancy.
- Move to the Country – We’re kidding, obviously. But the countryside boasts less artificial light – not to mention less noise – which will definitely make achieving a pitch-dark sleep space that much easier. So if you currently live on the edge of the grid, you’re already one step ahead of us city dwellers!
Keep your room cool! I know, I know, it’s winter and you want to crank that heater all the way up to 80. But you should resist, at least at bedtime.
Try to keep your bedroom between 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit. It will help you sleep better and save you money on monthly heating bills (added bonus!). Some thermostats let you set timers for various temperature settings throughout the day, so you don’t have to remember to turn the heat down before leaving the house. The same can be done for going to sleep. Set the timer to lower the thermostat about an hour or so before you head to bed, and have it kick back on around the time you normally wake up.
If you don’t have a fancy pants thermostat, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to turn the heat down before bedtime.
Then, bundle up with blankets! This is the perfect opportunity to create a warm, cozy next for yourself, so take it! Especially given the time of year, there’s few things more inviting than a bed piled high with soft, warm blankets.
This factor is more a matter of preference. Some people like total quiet when the sleep; others want/need some form of white noise to drift off to dreamland. And then there are those city dwellers that swear by the soothing lulls of honking horns and police sirens.
- If you like things quiet when you sleep, try earplugs at night. Just make sure you’re using them correctly.
- If you need white noise in the background, you can try a fan or use a white noise machine. There are even apps you can download on your phone that offer different types of white noise (rain, fan, babbling brook), so you can personalize your noise situation.
- And if the sound of the city is your lullaby, then open the window and let that beautiful cacophony on in!
Technology & Blue Light
We’re all guilty of this one. You know what I’m talking about; checking your phone in bed. For a lot of us, it’s the last thing we see before we close our eyes and the first thing we look at when we wake up. And if it’s not a phone, it’s a tablet, computer, or television. All of these devices emit what is called “blue light”, which is harmful to our sleep/wake cycle.
The best thing you can do is to eliminate all blue-light emitting devices from your bedroom. Now, I’m a realist, so I understand that might not be possible for everyone. Start with removing your television Yes, this includes watching shows on your computer in bed. You want the primary focus of your bedroom to be sleep.
If you need to have your phone (if you’re like me, your phone is your alarm clock), then here are a few useful tips you can follow:
- Set a “bed time” for your technology – At least one hour before going to sleep, make sure your morning alarm is set, and then put your phone away and all other tech away for the night. Make sure your phone is somewhere where the light cannot disturb you for any reason, such as face down on your night stand. Or, better yet…
- Do Not Disturb – Many phones have a “Do Not Disturb” setting. This allows you to halt any incoming calls/messages etc. until you turn the setting off.
- Nighttime Setting – Newer phones (such as the iPhone 7) come equipped with a nighttime setting. Instead of blue light, your phone emits a soft red glow, which is better for sleep. You can customize the schedule for this feature in settings. Or, you can download an app that does virtually the same thing.
Mattress & Bedding
What you sleep on at night affects how much and how well you sleep. If you’re constantly tossing and turning, waking up in a sweat and sticking one foot out of the covers to cool down, or doing anything else to try and get comfortable, you’re not getting quality sleep.
Investing in a quality mattress, pillows, and bedding will have an enormous impact on your sleep quality. A mediocre mattress paired with substandard sheets and pillows is a recipe for restless nights.
- For bedding, we recommend washable wool because of its natural moisture-wicking properties that help keep you cool and dry throughout the night. You can read more about this natural bedding option in our blog post Down vs. Wool Bedding: Which Is Better.
- For mattresses, we’re big fans of 100% tree rubber latex; but there are other great options out there that might work better for your needs. Check out our line of latex mattresses. From there, you can explore some of our other options! Every mattress we sell is two-sided and flippable to ensure you sleep your best for years to come.
- For pillows, you want something that supports your head and neck. Needs differ depending on whether you’re a back, side, or stomach sleeper. You can explore our diverse line of pillow options to get a better idea of what will work for you.
We Wish You Sweet Dreams and Happy Mornings
Change takes time. Revamping your bedroom into the ideal sleep oasis probably won’t happen overnight, and that’s okay! Start with one or two upgrades and see if you notice any benefits. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll notice a difference. In fact, you’re probably going to be so thrilled with the results that you can’t wait to try some of the other tips and tricks on this list.
Happy sleeping, everyone! Let us know in the comments if you have any additional tips/tricks to transforming your bedroom into a calming sleep oasis, or if you’ve tried any of the things we’ve listed above and how they worked for you.