Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t always easy. From the food you eat to the amount of stress you’re under, there are a number of factors that can affect whether you’ll sleep soundly or be tossing and turning all night. And there’s one big factor that can often be overlooked – the bedroom itself.
Not only a place to crash after a long day, your bedroom can play a pivotal role when it comes to achieving a deeper more restful night’s sleep. Natalie Armstrong, sleep expert at Sealy UK, shares five things in your bedroom that could be sabotaging your sleep, and tips on how you can achieve a better night’s sleep.
We all know that phones aren’t good for your sleep, but did you consider the other technology you have in your bedroom? Watching a TV show or reading a book on an e-reader or tablet might seem like a good way to unwind before bed, but these devices emit the same blue light as phones, which has been shown to suppress melatonin, the sleep hormone, and disturb the body’s natural circadian rhythms, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle. If you have a TV in your bedroom it might also be time to reconsider – not only is it more likely to keep you up later at night catching up on your favourite programmes, studies have also shown a link between binge watching TV and poor sleep quality.
Blue light from devices gets a bad rap, but it’s not the only way that light in your bedroom that could be ruining your sleep. We all have an internal clock that mirrors nature’s cycles of day and night, meaning that any light – including daylight coming through your curtains or bright overhead lights in your bedroom – can incorrectly trigger this cycle and keep you awake. Bright light in your bedroom before going to sleep could keep you awake even once the light is off, so try dim lights or those with a red tone before bedtime to sleep better. If it’s outside light that’s the problem – from streetlights or daylight in the morning for example – then black out blinds or thicker curtains could be a gamechanger.
A bedroom isn’t only a place to sleep – it’s also the place we get dressed, do work and have leisure time, so it’s no wonder it often becomes one of the messiest places in the house. Bedrooms often attract clutter and you might think it’s harmless, but it could be having a detrimental effect on your sleep. This is because the clutter will naturally weigh on your mind, whether you’re conscious of it or not, and your brain will interpret the clutter as a task that needs to be completed. This anxiety naturally makes it harder to drop off and can make it harder for you to get up in the morning. To sleep more soundly, clear away the clutter and ensure items like clothes are tucked away in drawers and wardrobes – out of sight out of mind.
Your wall colour
Have you ever considered that the colour of your walls could be the reason you’re not sleeping well at night? A study found that those with grey, brown, red or purple bedrooms regularly had less than 7 hours of sleep a night, with colours that are too bright and bold thought to stimulate the brain, creating a state of alertness which makes it harder to sleep. If you want a better night’s sleep, try painting your bedroom blue or green. Associated with the sky and nature, blue and green stimulate feelings of tranquility, prompting our body to relax and helping us to fall asleep more quickly.
The quality of your mattress is one of the biggest factors that could be stopping you from getting a good night’s sleep. Whether it’s an old mattress that’s lost its shape, or a product that is too firm or too soft for your comfort levels, a bad mattress can cost you dearly. If you’re tossing and turning night after night or waking up feeling unrested, consider how long you have had your mattress and if it’s the right one for you. It’s recommended that you change your mattress every seven years so if you’ve had yours longer it might be time to say goodbye. Look for a mattress that offers core support and is made with materials such as Purotex, which gets rid of dust mites, which can cause allergies that could be inadvertently keeping you up at night.