Sleep is one of those habits that we know is super important, yet many of us still struggle to get adequate rest. Most people fall short of the recommended seven to eight hours per night. Plus, they also don’t manage to get good sleep quality for however long they do sleep.
Because sleep is so important for all aspects of our health, it’s worth it to figure out how you can get better sleep each night. The best place to start? Your bedroom.
“First of all, we want the bedroom to be a place that we associate with rest, relaxation, and sleep,” says clinical sleep health expert Martin Reed. “So, anything that is not compatible with rest, relaxation, or sleep needs to be addressed.”
There are many environmental factors that can affect how well you sleep. These include the temperature, outside noise, and even what items you keep in your room. To help ensure you get the best sleep possible, you want to make sure you set up the ultimate positive sleep environment. Here are six ways you can set up your bedroom for better sleep.
Lower the temperature.
If you’ve ever found yourself tossing and turning at night, throwing the covers off of you because you’re too warm, you might want to adjust that thermostat. Bedroom temperature plays a big role in getting better sleep. “Put simply, sleep likes the cold,” says Reed. “A bedroom temperature of between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit is best for sleep, with 64 degrees Fahrenheit being the sweet spot.” As part of our body’s natural circadian rhythm, the body’s core temperature drops at night. Artificially lowering the temperature can help encourage your body to be ready for sleep.
Make sure it’s dark.
Many people don’t realize that their rooms are too bright, which can mess with their sleep. “You want your sleep environment to be as dark as possible. Darkness helps signal to the mind that it’s time for sleep,” says Reed. When your bedroom is light, whether it’s shining in from the window or from electronics that you keep in your room, it confuses your body into thinking it’s time to wake up. Create a darker environment by buying blackout shades or wearing an eye mask. Plus, put a cloth over any electronics or blinking lights that can’t be removed.
Keep electronics out.
It’s tempting to fall asleep binging shows or scrolling on your social media feeds. However, playing with electronics before bed can wreak havoc on your sleep. The blue light from phones, TVs, laptops, and tablets messes with your body’s natural circadian rhythm. This not only makes it harder to fall asleep, but it also disrupts your sleep quality. You also want to keep these activities separate from where you go to rest. “When we watch TV, do work, play video games, or do anything in the bedroom other than sleep (with the exception of sex), we are training ourselves that a bedroom is a place for all these activities rather than sleep. This can make sleep more difficult,” says Reed.
Keep your bedroom clean.
Part of getting better sleep is ensuring you feel relaxed before bed. It’s harder to feel calm and serene when your room feels like a disaster zone. “Keeping your bedroom tidy, free of clutter, regularly changing your bed sheets, and keeping your bed made can also help you associate the bedroom with relaxation and sleep by making it a pleasant place to be,” says Reed. “The National Sleep Foundation found that those who said they made their bed every day were 19 percent more likely to say they get a good night’s sleep every night compared to those who didn’t.”
Utilize white or pink noise.
If you live somewhere where there’s lots of background noise from the city or neighbors, you can use a noise machine to help mask environmental sounds and make it easier to fall asleep.
“Just make sure you listen to white noise (or pink noise, which emphasizes lower frequencies and occurs more frequently in nature),” says Reed. “Nature sounds can feel relaxing. But, any changes in volume or unpredictable sounds can actually make it harder to fall asleep and disrupt sleep during the night.”
Replace your pillows.
You’re never going to get better sleep if you’re uncomfortable in your bed. Old pillows are typically flattened and no longer support your spinal alignment. This can cause discomfort when you sleep. Update your pillows from time to time. Look for a medium height and slightly firm pillow to best support your neck and head.
By making these little changes to your bedroom, you’ll find that you fall asleep quicker, sleep better, and feel more well rested.