When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, we’re starting to become better educated about what we need to do (and to not do) in order to drift off peacefully. But while avoiding late-night meals and switching off those blue light-emitting screens before bed might be familiar bits of advice, did you know that insomnia or poor sleep could actually be caused by your bedroom itself?
From lumpy mattresses to blinding lights, there are loads of different factors at play in your bedroom that could be having an effect on your sleep. We asked Beatrix Schmidt, sleep expert and author of The Sleep Deep Method, to give us some pointers about battling those things that might be affecting our sleep.
It makes sense that the more stressed you are, the less likely you’ll be able to get to sleep, so it’s important to make your bedroom as calming as possible. One way to do this is to ditch the clutter. A messy, untidy and cluttered room is a stressful environment that will send your brain into overdrive, so clear it all out to encourage tranquility.
“Often when people have clutter in their bedrooms, they tend to have clutter everywhere else in their life too,” says Beatrice. “If you often stress out in the day because you can't find your favourite top to wear, or perhaps your keys always go missing, then it is time to organise yourself a little better. In turn, it will make you feel more established at the end of the day and help you to sleep well at night, wake up refreshed, recharged and ready to conquer the day rather than the day conquering you!”
Bright colours and bold patterns will have a similarly stimulating effect on the mind – not ideal just before bed. Leave the bold decor for elsewhere in the house and make your room a peaceful haven of neutral, plain tones. If that feels too boring, try using texture instead of pattern to create a little interest that won’t bother your brain.
There’s nothing harder than trying to go to sleep in a brightly lit room, but even your regular light fixtures might be holding you back from sleep. Downward-facing fittings direct light right into your face when you’re in bed, so opt for upward-facing fixtures and consider adding a dimmer switch so you can lower the lights for at least an hour before bed to tell your body it’s time to sleep.
However, Beatrix warns against the use of blackout blinds. “When the room is completely dark and our alarm goes off, we almost scare ourselves up from sleep rather than having hormones naturally waking us up gradually,” she says. “That shock can be detrimental to our mood and, in turn, our sleep health.”
It might sound obvious to say that noise can be disruptive to your sleep, but even the smallest noises could be affecting your sleep quality without actually waking you up. Try to soundproof your room as much as possible; double-glazing and carpets are both great for this.
Lots of us pay a great deal of attention to calm decor and comfy bed sheets but neglect the one thing that might be hampering our sleep the most: our trusty mattress. If you’re waking up tired and achy every morning, it may be that your old mattress is no longer providing you enough support and needs to be replaced. It is recommended that you replace your mattress at least every 8 years.
We all know how hard it is to get to sleep in hot summer weather. This is because the body actually needs to cool right down to achieve sufficient sleep quality; the recommended temperature for your room is between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. Anything over 24 or below 12 will leave you too uncomfortable to sleep properly.
“If the room temperature is difficult to change – for example, you live in an older house and don’t have air conditioning – trial different types of nightwear in each season to really help you understand how your body maintains temperature,” Beatrix advises. “Then change your duvet in spring and autumn.”
Even if you don’t think of yourself as having bad allergies, if you notice that you’re waking up feeling blocked and wheezy in the mornings, you might have an issue with allergens that are hampering your sleep quality. Switch to hypoallergenic pillows, mattresses and bedding to help you breathe easy.
Talking of breathing easy, smell is one of the most important senses when it comes to our state of mind. If you often feel too tense or stressed to sleep, you could try bringing some essential oils into the bedroom to ease your mind. Lavender is a great oil to start with for its soothing and relaxing properties.
Sometimes it can be hard enough to share a bed with a partner, let alone when the kids or pets jump in with you. If you’re waking up a lot in the night and struggling to get comfortable, it might be that your bed simply isn’t big enough for your family! Treat yourself to something more spacious to guarantee an uninterrupted night.
Hopefully these tips have given you everything you need to set yourself up for a good night’s kip. If you think you might be in need of some bedroom TLC, take a look at our mattress and bedroom furniture ranges online or in store. Happy sleeping!