Searching for the Perfect Sleep Environment|
May 10th is National Clean Your Room Day. Either this unofficial holiday is one you’re looking forward to, or you think that it’s just another day that reminds you that you need to get to work and start cleaning!
It’s so easy to accept a cluttered, unorganized mess but it’s not just a bad habit that you’re forming. It’s also harming your mental health, and more importantly, your sleep.
I’m on a new venture in my life and I recently decided to get my own apartment. As I signed my lease, of course I was very excited about the location (it’s about a block from isense and my gym!) but really, all I could focus on was my bedroom. I dug so deep into information on how you should arrange your room for a better night’s sleep that I now feel like I have a responsibility to myself to improve my overall health.
One of the first steps I knew I would have to take was removing my television out of my room. My beloved TV, it’s been there for me every night wishing me sweet dreams while emitting its unhealthy blue light. Not only does having a TV in your room keep you up later at night, but it also disrupts our sleep cycle. I know making that (very tough) decision to remove my TV from my room will set up my bedroom for a Noise Free Zone when hitting the hay and provide me with that cave-like darkness that my body prefers when going to sleep.
Your brain takes information through your sense of sight, which then takes that info and helps regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Information from sense of sight also influences the release of hormones, including your oh-so treasured sleep hormone, melatonin. The brightness of a room can even go as far as affecting your dreams, although you’re not consciously aware of the effect. So it’s always important to remember, when your sleep environment is bright and colorful your melatonin levels stay down and low. This means just from sitting in a room that has bright light, will cause you to become much more alert, aware, and awake.
Since I’m removing my TV, that also means that I can remove the stand that it sits on that I sometimes find myself throwing random bobby pins or spare change on. Rooms are designed to serve a purpose. You cook in a kitchen, you dine in a dining room, offices are designed for work… Rooms serve purpose and I think sometimes we easily lose sight of the purpose of our bedroom.
The bedroom should be a place for sleep only. Having an uncluttered space is visually attractive. It puts your brain in a relaxed state when you look at an area that’s organized rather than waking up in a room that has a small path you can walk through between the clothes and shoes piled on the floor and the random things you threw on the nightstand.
Since I’m getting a fresh start, I really wanted to make myself a checklist of things that I thought were a must to create that perfect slumber environment for myself. And so, I did.
Prior to moving anything into my room and unpacking my things, I visualized what I thought might be the most relaxing and aesthetically pleasing look possible for me. A cozy, inviting place that welcomed sleep and rest at any time I may see fit.
Here are a few things that I put on my checklist that made a huge difference when moving into my new space and controlling my clean and sleep friendly bedroom.
Dedicate Space. My bedroom is for sleep only!! It took me decades to understand this, but now that I do, I won’t have it any other way. Removing any work-related items, my laptop, that cluttered pile of clean clothes on that chair I’ve been meaning to get to. I’m leaving these bad habits at the door. The bedroom is a place for positive routines, good habits, and a place to practice relaxation and a perfect sleep schedule.
Mood Lighting: It’s equally as important to have mood lighting as it is for a dark room when discussing sleep. Light is the single most important environmental factor affecting our ability to sleep. One of our very own iSense Sleepers told me that she has been sleeping with string lights hanging around her room for quite some time now and that she no longer wants to turn on the real light fixture in her bedroom while she’s preparing for bedtime. She simply transitions from dimmed light to dark once ready to fall asleep.
Soft and warm lighting in your bedroom sets a restful and serene mood for your bedroom. Thus making it easier for your body when you go from light, to dark. They make several different “mood lights” for the bedroom. Something with low-wattage or lights on the red end of the spectrum work well. Pink salt lamps have several health benefits, along with warm, yellow stringed lights. I enjoy using my Nox Light at night. It tracks my sleep and wakes me at the most fitting time for my body, leaving me extra refreshed come morning.
Cool Cave-Like Environment. It sounds silly to think about, but at the same time if you truly visualize it and think about it, it may bring you some sort of peacefulness. It calms me to think about sleeping in a nice, cool, dark area.
Your body temperature drops as you sleep so it’s important that you’re not overheating while going through your sleep cycle. If you’ve ever slept in an environment that was even slightly too warm, then you probably know it’s no fun to toss and turn due to overheating. Keep the temperature in your bedroom anywhere from 60-67 degrees when you’re ready for bed. Anything colder or hotter than that starts to become a disruption to your sleep.
Light Linens. I say light because it’s the beginning of spring; now is a time that you should be saying bye-bye to those thick flannel sheets and bringing out the airy, light, linens. Sliding into a clean and cozy bed with your favorite sheets is a feeling everyone can relate to.
It makes sense to invest in the highest-quality products you can afford because you’re essentially paying for a good night’s sleep. Choose materials that are comfortable to you. Find linens that fit your local climate, regulate temperature and help with any humidity. I’ve recently experienced the Sheex line of performance sheets and let me just say, I’m confident I won’t use any other sheet to keep me comfortable at night.
Noise Free Zone Please! Eliminate, reduce, and block noise. I always found it insane that parents just jump up from a deep sleep to run to their crying baby in the middle of the night. I thought, wow I don’t know if I could actually wake up so quickly. But, it makes sense to me now. Simply put, the quieter your room is, the more sensitive your ears will become. Depending on the person, a too-quiet of a room may be just as much of a problem than a too-noisy room. Trying white-noise when trying to fall asleep may be beneficial; I know it’s helped me. This has especially helped me while trying to consciously stay away from the TV at nighttime. White-noise will typically sooth you to sleep faster and helps your body sleep through small noises that may normally wake up.
It’s been easy for me to love having a bedtime regimen that I know will make me not only a better iSense Sleeper, but overall a better, healthier me.