Many people struggle with sleeping at some point in their lives. A recent insomnia study showed that almost 1 in 5 people in Britain have trouble sleeping every night.
An inability to fall sleep, or to sleep through the night can be caused by a change in routine, or a build up of stress. It can also be the product of environmental factors, from the kind of pillow you’re using, to your bedtime routine.
A calm, tranquil space can help enormously in the quest for a good night’s sleep. It’s not always easy to achieve a sleep sanctuary with with our ‘always-on’ lives, but there’s a few simple steps that we can all take to prepare our bedrooms for a good night’s sleep.
1. Comfy Bedding Fabrics
The average person spends 229,961 hours sleeping over the course of their life, so the fabrics you sleep in matter as much as the clothes that you wear. Everyone has a different preferences when it comes to bed linens; perhaps you enjoy the indulgence of silk sheets, or the coolness of a cotton duvet cover next to your skin. Is it time to treat yourself to new bedding as a first step to a good night’s sleep?
2. Get the Temperatures Right
There are two temperatures to deal with when creating the perfect conditions for sleep. The temperature under the duvet, and the room temperature. Here’s the recommendations of sleep expert, Dr Neil Stanley:
- Room Temperature – 16-18ºC
- Under the Duvet Temperature – 29ºC
3. Treat Yourself to a Tech-Free Zone
Having your phone nearby means that you’re still connected to it, even if you’re not actively scrolling. The mind stays active, rather than closing down ready for sleep. The same is true of watching TV in the bedroom. Whilst it may feel relaxing, you’re actually maintaining quite a high level of stimulation that takes a while to settle down once it’s turned off. Try a night or two with your phone in another room, to test the difference.
4. Find the Right Pillow
Everyone has a favourite sleeping position and it’s the job of your pillow to keep you properly supported in that position so you remain relaxed. Here’s a quick guide:
- Back Sleepers. You need medium firmness and ‘loft’ (compressed height of pillow when your head’s resting on it). This helps relieve pressure on your neck, and keeps the pillow from flattening in the course of the night.
- Side Sleepers. A high loft and medium firmness is what’s required. This keeps pressure off your shoulders as you sleep, and stops the pillow from getting crushed down by your head, which can cause a stiff neck.
- Stomach Sleepers. If you sleep prone, you need to take care that you head isn’t craned upwards as this puts stress on the spine. You need a low loft pillow, therefore and the filling should give you a soft buffer but no lift.
5. Darkness is Necessary for Sleeping
Turning out the lights sends a signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. Light seepage can confuse those critical signals, which makes it harder to fall asleep, and stay asleep. Even natural light can be a problem, so if you have a bedroom that enjoys the glow of the moon, or sunlight at dawn, consider investing in thermal curtains that will block out the light, and allow you to sleep on soundly.