Your Bedroom is Important

This blog is about making your bedroom more conducive for getting to sleep, sleeping productively, and also staying asleep. It is also the second of 3 blogs about How to Sleep Better – you can find #1 here and #3 here. Your bedroom is the most important room in your living space. It is where your body regenerates and rejuvenates so you need it to support that process. But first let’s quickly cover why sleep is important and why you should pay attention to how long and how well you sleep.

The Importance of Sleeping

Sleep is important for every human being no matter how young or old you are, where you live, or what kinds of health issues you’re dealing with. Sleeping is the time that your body, and in particular your brain, is healing and nourishing itself through the release of human growth hormone. If you don’t get enough good sleep you will start to see it in the way you feel during the rest of your day. Here are a few of the many kinds of problems associated with a lack of sleep:
  • Heart disease & heart attacks
  • Strokes & diabetes
  • Learning, reasoning, concentration & problem solving
  • Automobile crashes
  • Depression & Anxiety
  • Memory creation & recall
  • Weight gain
There are more but I think you’ve gotten the message – sleeping is necessary for good aging, good living, and good looking (did I mention sleeplessness makes your skin age faster?)

The Bed

We’ll start with the most important part of your bedroom – the bed. If your bed isn’t comfortable for you then it doesn’t matter what else you do you won’t get a good night’s sleep. There are so many options these days for getting a bed online or in a brick & mortar store. You should start by shopping around and try out all of the mattresses you think you may like. Go into a couple of the mattress chain stores, furniture stores, and/or big box stores to see whether you like a softer or firmer mattress. Lay down on one or two for at least 10-15 minutes each in whatever position you normally sleep in (side, back, stomach). How was that? Too soft? Too firm? Just right? Do you feel like Goldilocks? The good thing about buying a bed from a store or online is that they all have generous return policies. Some will refund your money or exchange it for a different model. Either way make sure you know what it is and how long you have to return it.

The Bed Size

Next think about what size you need. This depends on whether you sleep by yourself sometimes, always, or never. If the answer is sometimes or always then be sure you get a bed that is big enough and built well enough for you both to move around and not wake the other person up. If you or your partner needs more room or if you like to sleep at different inclines you should look into getting a bed where you can adjust each side individually or buy 2 twins and push them together. And, if you are buying a bed for you alone then you can get whatever size, firmness and incline you like – and you can exchange it for another one if you need! That’s one of the advantages to being single…

Keep it CoolThermostat setting

In your bedroom, keep the temperature on the cool side – between 60 – 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 – 19.4 Celsius). You can experiment to see what is the setting that works best for you to be able to sleep through the night. I know for myself that I can’t sleep if my feet are cold – I put a separate afghan over my feet in addition to wearing a pair of socks to bed. As I said, figure out what works best for you (and your partner) and do it. A lot of the current foam mattress makers are aware of the old reputation of foam mattresses to be very hot to sleep on and have changed up their current products to be cooler. Most of their websites address that problem and tell you about how cool their mattresses are and why. Read through the comments to see whether they are actually as cool as they claim.

Sheets, Pads, & Pillows

Mattress Pads

Don’t scrimp on your mattress pad or your sheets as they can also keep you cooler. There are various kinds of mattress pad materials which can influence how warm or cool you will sleep. For instance, bamboo mattress pads will keep you cool and there are some that are also waterproof so the bed doesn’t get wet if you sweat too much during the night.

Sheets

For sheets, look at how high the thread count is – the higher the count the better (and more expensive) the sheets will be. Try to get a minimum of 200-300 – they will keep you cooler, breathe well, and last much longer. Be sure to wash them at least twice before you put them on the bed to get rid of the chemicals that are added into the sheets and aren’t good for you to sleep on.

Pillows

Get a pillow that keeps you cool and supports your head and neck. Depending on how you sleep there are various pillows available for side, back, or stomach sleepers. They really can make a difference. If you snore you may find that changing your pillow will lessen your snoring by putting your head and neck in a more supportive position. You can also try sleeping on your side or your stomach as that will help keep the airways open and you should snore less. Snoring and sleep apnea can be detrimental to your health so if you do either you should talk to your doctor to find out whether you need any additional help or medical devices. There are many pillows available these days for every kind of sleeper. I myself have a side sleeper pillow that I love that also supports my head when I’m sleeping on my back (check out the Resources below or my Resources page for the link). Whatever kind of pillow you get make sure that your head and neck are supported and are straight with the center of your back. Let me repeat that whatever you get for your bed – sheets, blankets, pillows, pads – make sure that it breathes well and that it keeps you cool.

Electronics

Turn off any electronics you have (eg phones, clocks) or have used (eg laptops, tablets, tv’s) in your bedroom before you go to sleep. Make sure there are no lighted clocks, radios, blinking lights, and in particular nothing with a blue light that can disrupt your sleep cycle. Yellow or red lights are better if you have to have a lighted clock as those light spectrums are not as disruptive as the blue light (daylight color). If you can, turn whatever it is in a different direction so you won’t have the light shining on your eyes.

Other Things To KnowGood Sleeping

Keep your bedroom as quiet as possible while you’re sleeping. If you live near traffic or other noise think about investing in a white noise machine to mask the noise from a car, voices, etc. Create a more peaceful space that, if possible, you only use for sleeping. Clear out the clutter if you can (or want). Some people like their things around them – if you’re one of those then leave the clutter. Something else that can help you get ready for sleep are blue-light blocking glasses. There are some that are yellow and work well for afternoons and evenings. The best for the couple of hours before bed are red. I’m sure you’ve seen the yellow computer glasses that help to block the blue light. One thing to remember is not to do anything that involves colors with the glasses on or you may be surprised at what your creations look like when you take the glasses off.

Summary

I hope you’ve seen how important it is to keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and comfortable so you can get the best sleep possible. Not sleeping well can cause physical and mental issues which can influence all areas of your life. And remember that as you get older you may think that you don’t need as much sleep because you aren’t sleeping as long as you used to. That isn’t true – it’s because you’re not sleeping as well. Try implementing the suggestions in these sleep blogs and see if you can sleep longer and better so you’ll feel better all day long. Checkout the RESOURCES page for some of my favorites for beds, pillows, and other things to help you sleep.

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