The bedroom used to be a place where you would simply turn in at the end of the day and not visit again till the next night. These days we’ve turned them into full entertainment centers with T.V’s, phones and tablets all thrown into the mix.
If you’re not making your bedroom the best setting for your sleep you may be neglecting yourself the true restorative rest that you need and deserve.
How Sleep Enhances Your Health & Productivity
There’s no other way around it, sleep is the true way to repair and rejuvenate your body. When you deprive your body sleep you’re basically telling it that some sort of external trauma must be happening or otherwise you would be asleep. This brings stress hormones into play specifically cortisol.
When stress hormones are elevated over the long term they can cause a lot of pretty nasty effects in the body including:
- Headaches and dizziness
- Increased heart rate
- Digestive disorders
- Immune system dysfunction
This is only scratching the surface as stress really hammers your body. It doesn’t matter if you’re not sleeping because of some disaster or environmental trauma or you’ve just been up all night watching a House Hunters marathon your body will respond with this increase in stress hormones.
When you do start to sleep better you can see all areas of your health improve. You begin to have stronger immunity, less pain, better memory and improved cognitive function that can lead to better productivity.
How Your Environment Affects Your Sleep
Our environments affect so much of our lives and you might not always be aware of that. There are many factors that impact our ability to get decent sleep including:
- Bed comfort
- Electronic distractions
Even just the occasional car honk can cause more sleep disruption than continuous noise. Studies have found that people who live in urban areas may actually be chronically sleep deprived.
Key Elements That Create An Ideal Bedroom For Sleep
As I mentioned earlier the mistake most people make is turning their bedroom into an entertainment center that lights up more than Times Square. It may seem boring but a bedroom should not be a pretty simple set up to optimize sleep. Here are 5 key elements you’ll want to focus on.
If you can get dimming lights that make it easier to decrease the brightness later into the day. If you don’t have this you’ll want to turn off overhead lights and just use a small bedside lamp with a soft glowing bulb. You don’t need to turn your room into the red light district but the warmer the bulb glow the more conducive to sleep it will be.
You want to get your room as dark as possible. Darkness stimulates melatonin production in the brain and the more it’s exposed to light the more melatonin is suppressed. This is why avoiding electronics late in the day is important as they emit blue light which prevents this melatonin release.
Your best bet is to get blackout curtains which a lot of hotels use to eliminate outside light. You can usually find these at places like Walmart or on Amazon. They also can help block out sound which is important for better sleep.
3. Room Color
You want to create a sense of calmness and color can help with that. Before we talk about colors this is why you may be better off removing things like computers or exercise equipment from your room if you have them. These things tend to not be related with being calm and you want to avoid reminders of stress. Color wise the most soothing type colors to create a good environment include:
- Pale grey
- Cool blue
- Pale pink
It may seem appealing to have a warm room as that may make your drowsy to sleep better but that’s actually not an ideal temperature. Your room should be on the cool side. Your body temperature naturally drops as your drift off to sleep so keeping a cooler room can help jump-start the process, make it easier to fall asleep, and help you get a deeper sleep.
Sleep experts say your room should be 5-10 degrees cooler than your average daytime temperature. If you need a simpler rule to follow your sheets should feel cool to the touch when you first lie down on them.
There are so many options out there for mattresses and while you may want to go for the most super soft one you can find your best bet for ideal sleep is still a medium-firm mattress or a firm one with a softer “pillow top”. This will help give your spine the ideal balance of support and cushioning.
You spend a third of your life asleep so it’s in your best interest to create the best sleep environment possible to help achieve this. Hopefully, here you’ve learned why you don’t want to neglect your sleep and also ways that you can create that ideal bedroom to make it happen.
Originally published at www.lifehack.org