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Make Your Bedroom a Modern-day Cave

Once you have established a healthy sleep routine, it’s a good idea to turn your attention to your bedroom… or the modern-day cave, as we like to call it! 

You can download The Art of Falling Asleep e-book, for free, here. Or read on for more… 

The modern-day bedroom is a long way from the cave our ancestors used to sleep in. Whilst it’s a lot cosier (and safer), it can also be brighter, noisier, and warmer; all of which can affect our ability to get to and stay asleep. In addition, it’s a place we often do our work in, which is the first thing to change as the bedroom should relate to sleep and sex only.

So, getting your bedroom sorted is a great place to start with regards to the art of sleeping. Once it’s sorted, it only needs to be changed when your mattress or pillow starts to show signs of wear and tear; unlike our lifestyle and bedtime routine, which typically needs constant monitoring. Here are a few tips on how to make your bedroom a modern-day cave.

SLEEP IN TOTAL DARKNESS

Darkness is key to be able to fall asleep. Try to eliminate all light from your bedroom. To test 'light pollution', switch all the lights off, allow a few minutes for your eyes to adjust and then look for all the areas and items where you can see light.

Sleep Tip:

Eliminate all your light leakage; blackout blinds are great in the summer. Turn your alarm away from you or swap for a dawn simulator. If all else fails, get a high-quality sleep mask.

Typical light sources to check:

Curtains and Blinds

Light comes from gaps which let in light from both street lamps and early morning light. Try blackout blinds and drapes to make it completely dark.

Bedroom Door

If light seeps through, try placing a towel along the base of the door to block it.

Alarm Clock

If it’s bright, turn it to face away from you or swap it for an alarm with a dimmer. Even better, buy an alarm which ‘simulates’ the dawn, by gradually waking you up with increasing light. Simulators are especially useful in combination with blackout blinds, helping to cue your body to set a healthy sleep cycle. Lumie® have developed a range of simulators which also help combat the winter blues and can even make you feel more alert in the morning.

KEEP IT COOL

Along with a decrease in light, a decrease in temperature - which would naturally occur if we still lived in cavemen times - is another cue within our factory settings that it is time for sleep.

Optimum Bedroom Temperature = 15.5 - 20°C

The best temperature to set for your bedroom to get to sleep easily is quite cool being between 15.5 and 20 degrees Centigrade. If your bedroom is too far above or below this range, it makes it harder to get to sleep.

A room that is too hot is more often the problem, especially when we (or our partner) has set the central heating too high in the middle of winter or in the hot mid-summer nights. This is because a high room temperature makes it harder for our core internal body temperature to drop to help initiate sleep.

Sleep Tip:

If your partner prefers a warmer bed, one tip is to buy a cooling pad for your side. In the summer keep your room cool by closing blinds & curtains during the day and have a fan or open window blowing through a damp sheet at night. You could even try putting your sheets in the fridge before you get into bed if it’s especially hot.

REDUCE ALL NOISE

Apart from street noise, the biggest single noise problem in the bedroom is from a snoring partner, which can both stop you getting to sleep and even wake you up during the deeper stages of sleep. Whilst street noise can be blocked with double glazing, getting someone to stop snoring is not as easy. Encourage your partner to lose weight, to sleep on their side rather than their back and to stop drinking at night, as all of these simple changes can reduce snoring. If your partner breathes through their mouth rather than their nose at night this could be the route of the problem. Using nasal strips and nasal dilators to open the nostrils can help, as can learning to breathe through the nose rather than the mouth.

Sleep Tip:

If all else fails take matters into your own hands and use ear plugs, or a CD to produce ‘white noise’ which helps block out sound. A new product on the market is Sleep Phones®, which is composed of a soft padded headband with embedded speakers. The sleep phones also give you the choice of soft music, meditation routines or white noise which can also help you to drift off.

DECLUTTER YOUR ROOM AND YOUR MIND

The first rule of decluttering is to remove all technology from the bedroom. This means your mobile phone, tablet and even your TV. In addition, keeping your room clean, tidy and free from clutter can help to create a calm, organised, relaxed bedroom in which to sleep in.

Sleep Tip:

Declutter your room and mind before going into the bedroom. If your mind is thinking about the next day, write a ‘to-do’ list and leave it outside your room.

KEEP YOUR ROOM SMELLING FRESH

Whilst the wrong smells don’t wake us from a deep sleep they can stop us from getting to sleep easily. Scents such as Vanilla, Jasmine, Bergomot and Lavender are often suggested as aiding sleep.

Sleep Tip:

Lavender oil in your bedroom helps get you into a deeper sleep. Plants can also help the air quality.
Decluttering your mind, especially if you have been working late, is also a key part of getting to sleep easily. If you must work at night, don’t work in the bedroom. Instead, finish your work first, take a break or even do some meditation to settle your mind. Then leave everything outside your bedroom reinforcing to your brain that the bedroom is a space reserved for sleep (and sex) only.
A study from America’s National Sleep Federation (NSF) showed that 3/4 people said they got a more comfortable night’s sleep when their sheets had a fresh scent.

CLEAN REGULARLY

A clean bedroom improves your sleep and keeps you healthier, by ridding your room of dust, pet hair, pollen and bacteria, which reduces the risk of asthmatic attacks and allergic responses. One such allergy is rhinitis (inflammation of the nose) which affects about 20% of us.

Rhinitis can occur in hay fever, and as a reaction to dust mites and is a risk factor for both snoring and sleep apnoea, as it reduces our ability to breathe through the nose.

Allergic Rhinitis has been shown to impair all aspects of sleep.? Sufferers slept fewer hours, took longer to fall asleep, woke more in the night and more often felt sleepy during the day.
Changing your bed linen each week can decrease the opportunity for dust mite allergies and removing rugs from the bedroom will limit the places for dust mites to accumulate. Vacuuming regularly will help and also keeps your room smelling clean. Whilst damp dusting is recommended for sufferers of night time asthma.
2/3 of participants said a clean bedroom is key to getting a good night's sleep.¹°

Sleep Tip:

Washing your bed linen in hot water, reduces dust mites and keeps your bed crisp and fresh, which can help you get to sleep more easily. Also, make sure you always use a mattress protector which can also be regularly washed.

Like this?

You can download the first section of our sleep guide for free, here. Tell us what you think, we would love to hear from you!

Our consumer research highlighted some interesting, new findings. 82% of 18-24-year-olds use their mobile phones in bed, a worrying statistic! Read more, here.

DISCLAIMER

Whilst great care has been taken compiling the information within this guide, it is intended as a resource for general information only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your GP if you have ongoing problems or concerns regarding your sleep.

The statements and suggestions made within the text have not been evaluated by the NHS and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness.

Always consult with your healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking or stopping any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have any health problem.

9 Damien Léger, M.D., of Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris et al

10 National Sleep Federation Study

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