Whilst we all sleep as a necessity, precious few of us actually sleep well. This is a problem that affects almost all of us at some point in our lives and it can prove incredibly debilitating. A bad night’s sleep can affect your physical and mental well-being not only the morning after, but for the entire day. Bad sleep also seems to build up, with one bad night often leading to another during the week so that we have to play ‘catch up’ at the weekend.
We constantly complain about being overworked and being distracted by our mobile phones, but one area we often overlook is how we can actually change our surroundings to help us settle into a more comfortable nightly slumber.
We’ve evolved to recognise light as a sign that it’s time to wake up and face the day, but in the modern world, this might not be the case. Many of us work night shifts and need to sleep through the early morning, which can prove particularly problematic in the summer months. Light pollution can also be a problem at night in built-up areas such as cities and large towns.
To combat this, you could consider investing in a pair of blackout blinds or a sleep mask. Conversely, if you find yourself waking up too quickly in the mornings (which can have an adverse effect on your mood), consider a ‘light alarm’ that slowly builds up from darkness to a soft approximation of the sun.
Whilst it has been known to fulfil many other purposes, a bedroom’s primary goal should be to facilitate a decent night’s sleep. Prepare your sleeping environment by making sure the temperature is cool and comfortable and that the room is as clean and tidy as possible; tidy room, tidy mind. As far as decoration is concerned, stick to plain, comforting colours and feel free to add familiar ornaments and trinkets if it will make you feel more at ease.
Also, whilst it might be hard to resist their perpetual pull, try to label the bedroom as a technology-free zone if possible. This means a lockdown on games consoles, smartphones and tablets. Even an alarm clock with an LED display could prove distracting! Certain smells can affect your nightly moods too, so don’t be afraid to experiment with oils to help you drift off if you feel you need it. Many of these techniques can also be used if you find yourself sleeping in an unfamiliar place.
If you are going to spend a significant amount of money on any one piece of furniture in your home, the bed should be top of that list with a bullet. The bed offers the foundation for your nightly sleep and any foundation needs to be sturdy.
If you’re waking up in the morning suffering from aches and pains, consider swapping your mattress for something more suitable. Softer isn’t always better; the key is in finding a middle ground. Always try before you buy, as comfort is definitely subjective when it comes to mattresses. And remember; if you sleep with a partner, make sure they are able to test it out with you!