It should come as no surprise that getting enough sleep is absolutely essential for good health. Without enough sleep, you tend to lack in energy, and it can also impact things like your body’s hormonal balance and your metabolism. Unfortunately most guys I know don't get enough sleep. We live in a work hard - play hard world and unfortunately we don't think about sleep until it's too late. However, when you must cram sleep into as few hours as possible, you had better make the most of that time. Getting enough deep sleep each night is one of the most important components of wellness. With a little effort though, we can tweak our daily routines and improve our wellness by getting more meaningful sleep.
One of the things to keep in mind in your quest to get more restful sleep is the design of your bedroom. There are certain things you can adjust or add to your bedroom that will help you sleep more, and improve your health in the process.
Keep It Clean
The state of your bedroom ultimately sets the tone for your rest and sleep experience. If your bedroom is packed with clutter, is dirty, or has things like work papers and files scattered around, it’s going to be difficult for you to calm your mind and feel relaxed enough to drift off to sleep easily.
Bedroom designs should be simple, fresh and clean, with clutter removed to another area, particularly if it involves work or things that might stress you out. Also, keep things like exercise equipment and other things like that out of your bedroom, because they can add to your stress and anxiety as you try to fall sleep.
Make It Dark
First, think about a layered lighting approach when you sleep. This could mean that instead of lying in bed reading under a harsh overhead light, you turn that light off and relax and unwind with a soft bedside table lamp. That will make it easier to transition to sleep. Also, make sure you block out light. If you live in a big city, you might need something like vertical blinds or heavy drapes to keep street and car lights from pouring into your windows.
Even if you fall asleep, your body can detect light through your eyelids, and then your brain won’t produce melatonin because it’s confused into thinking it’s daytime.
Make it Quiet
While so called, "white noise" can be restful, if you have distractions outside your window such as traffic in an urban area, make sure to close your windows or invest in sound deadening drapes, carpet, and other ways to mitigate those noises. Likewise, you should consider moving your computers and other electronics away from the bed. Even though you might not perceive the noise generated by cooling fans or light clicking noises, that can interfere with your sleep patterns.
Choose the Right Mattress and Pillow
Most people simply look at mattresses and pillows as "it's soft, so that's good enough". There are so many different mattress types today at all price points that it can be sort of bewildering. However, I absolutely love my Reverie mattress and I can tell the difference in my sleep when I come home after a trip. Similarly, getting a good pillow is just as important.
Avoid LED Lights From Electronics
Your bedroom almost certainly has multiple LED lights that blink or even constantly stay on from various electronics ranging from your TV to laptop to mobile phones. Some devices have the ability to turn those lights off, but you can simply cover most LEDs with black electrical tape so that it doesn't interfere with your sleep.
Consider Some Simple DIY Projects
There are a few things that we've done over the years to make our bedroom better for sleep. These include changing your walls from basic white to a more relaxing color such as a light purple or blue. Even though you sleep with your eyes closed, the feeling you get from the moment you enter the room will set the mood for a great night sleep. On the other hand, there are other projects such as hanging heavy drapes to block out the sun. If you are even more advanced, you can do what we did to compensate for not being able to cool down our entire loft. Since we have no walls, it was important to block off space so that the cool air from our AC unit stayed by our bed. Thankfully, we had a great cordless drill that saved a lot of effort as we hung dozens of hooks for the curtain wall! Contractor Culture is a good place to start with some great reviews if you are looking to start a project like this.
Above we mentioned the importance of keeping a bedroom clear of clutter, but you need to also make sure it’s adequately deep cleaned. You need to clean all those small crevices and wash your bedding on a regular basis because otherwise, dust mites accumulate. That can lead to allergies that are not just bothersome but can make it harder to sleep and can impact your overall health.
Choose a Sunrise Light Alarm Clock
A big trend right now is the use of something called a sunrise light alarm clock. This refers to alarm clocks that wake you up by replicating the natural light of the sun rising in the morning, rather than using a noise that jolts you out of sleep.
These clocks start with low-intensity light, and then it gradually increases intensity. These are perfect for waking up gently and naturally, and also have your body adjust its sleep hormone product, such as melatonin. People who use these light clocks experience increased cortisol levels as they wake up, which can leave them feeling more energized.
If you want to do something valuable for your health, assess your sleep space and see if it’s optimal or improvements could be made.