Adequate sleep is vital to health and happiness, but many of us aren’t getting enough of it.
There are lots of factors that can be detrimental to a good night’s sleep, but unbeknownst to most they can usually be remedied easily and affordably.
Give these simple tips a try to help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.
PROBLEM: Light is one of the most significant external factors that influences sleep.
Either your room is too bright because of external sources, whether that’s street lamps or the morning sun, or the disturbance is coming from inside – this could be light from an alarm clock, computer or phone screen.
SOLUTION: Switch to heavier curtains or add window blinds that block out external light, and turn off all electronics that emit a glow before going to bed.
Adding a dimmer, or using light bulbs with a lower wattage in the bedroom, can also aid rest by reducing stimulation before bedtime – lessening exposure to light helps increase the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
PROBLEM: In addition to emitting distracting light, electronics – including your television, tablet and mobile phone – release low-level radiation that contributes to insomnia.
Late-night use can also encourage cognitive stimulation, the exact opposite of what you want when you’re trying to wind down.
SOLUTION: Ideally, you should remove all electronic gadgets from the bedroom.
But if that’s not possible then at least pack them away into a drawer or switch them off before you snooze.
PROBLEM: Can’t sleep because of an itchy nose, watery eyes or irritated throat?
Allergens such as dust mites, laundry chemicals and animal dander could be to blame.
SOLUTION: Clean your bedding as often as possible using a hypoallergenic detergent. Give your mattress time to air out, and vacuum both the floor and the mattress regularly.
Lastly keep pets out of the bedroom – or at the least keep your furry friend clean and brushed.
PROBLEM: Whether it’s coming from loud sounds outside (garbage trucks and street traffic) or indoor distractions (a humming refrigerator or ticking clock), noise can be the cause of many late-night disturbances.
SOLUTION: If the noises are external (such as late-night revellers or the 6am garbage collection), wearing earplugs and hanging heavy curtains should be the first step.
Failing that, you may want to look into floor insulation or relocating to another room. For quieter but equally bothersome sounds such as snoring or a dripping tap, a white noise machine (or even a fan) will help to drown them out.
PROBLEM: Studies have shown that hoarders are more likely to have sleep problems, with the stress caused by clutter and mess in the bedroom contributing to poor snoozing.
Piles of laundry and paperwork can be a visual reminder of all the work that needs to be done, so it’s no surprise that a disorderly space means less sleep.
SOLUTION: Keep your bedroom clean and tidy, eliminating clutter ‘hot spots’ where mess can easily accumulate such as a side table or desk.
Pack clothes away and keep decor minimal and fuss-free to create a calming and stress-free environment.
PROBLEM: Your room is either too hot or too cold.
Research shows that an individual’s ideal temperature range for a good night’s sleep varies, but what we can be sure of is that sleep is induced when the body is relaxed and comfortable.
This is best achieved when the room temperature is around 18 to 21 degrees Celsius.
SOLUTION: Try experimenting with different temperatures until you find one that suits – usually cooler is better. Fans, bedding and open windows can help to regulate the heat.