Creating Your Sleep Sanctuary
Have you ever experienced a night where your head hits the pillow and you just can’t get comfortable? The pillow is too hard/soft, the room is too warm, the light from your clock is filling the room, sounds from your partner wake you just as you start to drift off? You toss and turn, and your mind starts worrying over tasks that were left undone? And on it goes until the dawn….
Sleeping issues come from a number of different sources. Your sleeping environment is an important one that is often forgotten in the quest for a good night’s sleep. While so much of what makes a sanctuary is personal, there are definitely a few things that will be important for everyone.
The good news is that you can start today! Here are 5 tips to turn your bedroom into your sleep sanctuary:
- Can you see the light? It’s no accident that you wake up as the light starts to shine through your windows in the morning. Studies have shown that our brains respond to even the smallest amount of light while we are asleep. To get some good quality sleep make sure your room is as dark as possible, removing electronics that create ambient light. If you aren’t able to control some light such as street light, invest in some blackout blinds or a good sleep mask.
- Temperature: Now we don’t want to spark the age-old fight over the thermostat, BUT anyone who has tried to sleep through a hot Aussie summer night without the aircon, or woken to a hot flash knows that heat is the enemy of sleep. Your body needs to drop your core temperature to be able to maintain sleep and to get into certain stages of sleep. Keep your bedroom at a cool, comfortable temp throughout the night to get the refreshing sleep you desire. If you are like me and crave the weight of a doona year-round, consider swapping to a gravity blanket to provide comfort without the disruptive heat.
- Noise: With all of the noise that we encounter throughout the day, the bliss of a quiet bedroom is heavenly - but only when it stays that way! Pets, partners, kids, street noise are that much more disruptive when they break that cherished silence. Studies have shown that it is not actually the quiet that is important but the consistency of the sound. This is where things like earplugs or white noise machines/apps can work really well to help your brain tune in to the consistent sound and block out the spontaneous noises that would normally wake us up. For those of you that find the static sound of white noise annoying, you can layer your sounds with something you find more relaxing. My perfect sleep-mix is winter rain on top of my white noise.
- Distractions: Human brains are incredibly trainable, so you need to train yours so that when you walk into the bedroom you think: ‘relax…sleep’. If you walk in and start thinking about all the things you need to do in that room (the laundry that needs to be folded, tidy the shelves) or the work you are going to finish off, catching up on Facebook or the news as you wind down, then you are in need of a factory reset! Remove distractions from your bedroom. Take out TVs, tablets, phones, or computers that will expose you to the light that promotes alertness, BUT also remove any clutter or mess that can add to your ‘to do’ list and increase stress when you enter the bedroom.
- Relax: If you have nailed the other 4 tips and still don’t find peace in your bedroom, then we would encourage some experimenting to make your bedroom feel calm and inviting! Not everyone can do a full bedroom reno, but there are little things that you can do to help encourage that relaxed ‘ahhhhh’ feeling. Swap your harsh bedroom lights for some Sweet Dreams bulbs to help promote sleep. Try some relaxing pillow mists or a sleep blend for your diffuser. Invest in some dreamy sheets. Change out your social media time for a mindfulness meditation or a wind-down session with a Dodow.
Falling into bed at night should be your reward for a day well lived: something luscious and soothing. Make your bedroom your sanctuary and find your energy to live the life you dream.
If you seem to be doing all the right things and sleep still eludes you, don’t give up. Book a session with a sleep coach who can help you to take the next step.