Are you getting enough sleep? Is the sleep that you do get restful? Do you feel that a lack of sleep is affecting your life in a negative way?
If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions then you’re not alone. Almost half of American adults aren’t getting an adequate amount of restful sleep, and this affects almost every aspect of their waking lives. Sleep is critical to our overall physical and mental health, and when we don’t get enough of that precious shut eye, the effects are seen in a multitude of ways.
While some physicians might be eager to prescribe a sleeping medication for the slumber starved, there are a few things that you might want to try before heading down the road to the pharmacy. Some simple changes to your bedroom might be standing between you and a blissful trip to dreamland.
Below are four things you should do before you call the doc.
1. Turn down the Temp
As stress has become a major barricade to quality sleep for many people, sleep experts and other scientists have launched massive research campaigns to determine what is and is not conducive for sleep. One of the most important factors that they’ve discovered is the temperature of our sleeping quarters.
If you’ve ever tossed and turned in a pool of sweat while trying to sleep in an unairconditioned room at the height of summer then you know that the climate of your room is important. Experts say that the ideal temperature for sleep is between 65 and 72 degrees fahrenheit. A cool temperature causes the brain to become drowsy, and encourages sleep much faster than a warmer temperature does.
Set your air conditioner to the desired temperature and use a fan to keep the cool air circulating. Make sure that you have layers of bedding available that you can use or discard as necessary.
2. Think Pink
For years, white noise has been the thing that many people turn to when they’re looking for a restful snooze, and this is apparent given the fact that many stores and late night infomercials that tout white noise machines as slumber salvation. However, researchers now say that white noise is a thing of the past.
Called pink noise, the new rage in the bedroom is a type of sound that combines different frequencies with steady noise. Falling rain, wind through a tree’s branches, or other types of sounds have been shown to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Many smartphone apps serve this purpose, or you can swap out your white noise machine for its pink counterpart.
3. Call a Truce on the Bed Battle
One of the biggest problems that married people have takes place in the bedroom, but it’s not what you think. While sharing a bed can be a wonderful part of a relationship, the quality of sleep attained by many couples leaves a lot to be desired.
Choosing a mattress that both members of a couple can agree upon is a challenge. While there are some mattresses that allow for each side to be adjustable, these beds are often quite expensive. There are some less expensive options that don’t skimp on quality and offer couples the luxury of essentially having two different, fully customized mattresses in one bed.
It can also be helpful to outfit your bed with two completely separate sets of sheets and blankets. This allows each person to choose the type of bedding they prefer, and it prevents the tugging and pulling that can occur when one person takes more than their fair share of the covers.
4. Black Out Your Room
Light affects melatonin production in the human brain, which is why we feel sleepy when it gets dark, and why we wake when the day becomes light. While it seems quite simple, in our artificial light filled modern lives it might be impossible to attain a perfectly dark sleeping environment without some help.
Invest in some heavy blackout curtains for your bedroom and be certain that they fully cover the windows. Remove any object that emits light, such as lighted alarm clocks, and use tape or sticky notes to cover the power lights that emit from televisions or other electronics. Even the smallest amount of light can trick your brain into thinking that it’s time to be awake.
Sleep is crucial to our health and well-being, but getting the shut-eye that we need is not always so simple. Try some of these tips in your bedroom and you just might find that you’re sleeping better than you have in years.