The average person spends more or less eight hours a day sleeping in the bedroom. That’s about 102,000 hours or 4,258 days or 141 months for a 35-year-old — and these numbers don’t include the extra time people spend sleeping when they’re still babies or teens.
The point here is that people spend a lot of time in the bedroom, and it’s also where the body gets a chance to rest and rejuvenate. Thus, it makes perfect sense for you to ensure your bedroom environment is conducive to promoting and maintaining quality sleep.
To help make your bedroom a healthier place to be, here’s a handy guide.
1. Check your mattress
How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Do you feel well-rested, or do you wake up feeling more tired than the night before? Is your nose clogged or chronically congested?
If you always wake up feeling groggy, stiff, and sore, it may be time to examine your mattress.
The typical foam mattress starts to sag after five years of use — as the springs and foam get old and worn — so you might notice a permanent dent on your side of the bed. Organic latex mattresses tend to hold longer, however, and can provide good service for 20 years or so. Whichever type of mattress you have, if it already shows a noticeable sag, it may be time to go shopping for a new one.
Also, depending on your sleeping position, there are certain mattresses that are recommended for providing the best lumbar support during sleep. For example, back and stomach sleepers benefit most from firmer mattresses, while side sleepers get the most pressure relief from thick, medium-firm mattresses.
Aside from considering back support, you need to remember that your mattress requires cleaning as you shed old skin and sweat through the night. Dust mites, bacteria, dust and pet dander (for those with pets) can also accumulate over time, resulting in a cocktail of allergens. No wonder your nose is always clogged in the morning!
Moreover, most foam mattresses are made from petroleum-based polyurethane. Add to this the chemical flame retardants and glues used in mattresses, so yours can end up releasing gases that can affect air quality in your bedroom.
To ensure you don’t have problems with allergens and gases, it’s usually best to opt for a high-quality natural latex mattress. There’s no room for dust mites, mould, and mildew in latex mattresses as they are naturally antimicrobial. And since they are made of natural latex material, there are no chemical additives you need to worry about. Best of all, they’re sustainably sourced.
2. Set the proper room temperature
The optimum temperature for good, sound sleep is set between 60 and 67°F (or between 15.5 and 19.4°C). To prepare for sleep, the body gradually lowers its temperature, so colder air can help facilitate this process.
However, if you’re feeling uncomfortable or cold, put on socks or use a water bottle to keep your feet warm and cozy.
3. Get the lighting right
If you want your sleep quality to improve, you need to steer clear of bright, white lights in the bedroom. While these kinds of lights are great for productivity — such as work and other tasks — they can interfere with sleep and keep you alert instead of ready to fall asleep.
White light is known to suppress melatonin production and affect the circadian rhythm or your body’s natural clock that’s influenced by light and darkness.
So, to doze off faster and sleep better, opt for dim or diffuse lighting, or even total darkness.
4. Leave devices out of the bedroom
Before going to bed, make sure you leave your digital devices outside — this includes your smartphone, tablet, and laptop.
Staying glued to a screen while in the bedroom not only keeps your brain stimulated, but also interferes with your sleep and wake cycle the way white light does. This is because these devices emit blue light that has an even stronger effect on melatonin production.
If you need to read about the news or check your email, do so in the morning. Use an alarm clock if you need to wake up at a certain time. Give your brain time to relax and your body to fall deep in slumber by banning these devices in your bedroom at night.
5. Keep things quiet
Silence is golden — especially when it comes to sleep.
Environmental noise interferes with sleep, so aim to keep your room a quiet place to be. If you can’t have your bedroom fitted with soundproof walls, you can try to soften or reduce the noise by:
Adding plants — especially those that clear the air of toxins like the golden pothos, Boston fern, peace lily, and snake plant.
Sealing gaps under and around doors.
Masking external noise with a white noise system.
6. Make bedroom-cleaning a habit
Cleaning your house is important for health as it’s the best way to rid your home of pathogens, allergens, dust and all types of dirt and grime. Naturally, this also applies to your bedroom — perhaps even more so.
To ensure you have a clean, hygienic, and organized place to sleep, try to implement the following:
Clear out clutter regularly.
Make your bed every day and put everything in its place.
Change bedding every other week — or weekly if you suffer from allergies.
Use containers to organize your space.
Change your pillows every one to two years.
Keep clothes off the floor.
Throw dirty clothes into the hamper.
Put away clean clothes in your closet, cupboard, or organizer.
Avoid eating in the bedroom.
After an intensive de-cluttering and deep cleaning, aim to maintain and clean your bedroom weekly.
If you have allergies, don't use rugs or carpets as these harbour dust, dirt, pollen and mites.
Healthy bedroom = better sleep
A healthy bedroom is an important part of getting good quality sleep, and making yours a healthier one doesn’t entail a lengthy, complicated process.
All you need to do is to consider the different variables in your sleep environment and keep your bedroom clean, so you can look forward to years of better sleep and good health.
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