One of life’s sublime pleasures is sinking into your pillow, drawing up the covers and easing gently into oblivion. Put that way, sleeping seems like a fairly straightforward process, doesn’t it? Well, for some of you, it is as easy as a-b-c, while some of you are laughing bitterly at this gross oversimplification of falling asleep. This post is for those of you who wear the floor thin pacing about at night. Or your partner’s patience thin tossing about in bed.
Luckily, there are many ways in which you can turn your bedroom into a sleep-friendly zone. Here’s how you can have your very own sleepy hollow!
Soothe your senses
If you’re one of those who cannot switch off easily, your bedroom should not get your grey cells and senses all worked up. Lull yourself into comfort by painting your room in a soothing palette and hanging up serene paintings as wall decor. Drifting off to sleep with a lingering, unpleasant odour is difficult, so keep your bed linen clean. If you’ve got a sense of smell that would make hounds jealous, make sure you use a detergent that does not offend your nose. You could also use vaporizing essential oils or potpourri that help relieve stress and induce calm.
Really Switch Off
It’s not just our chatty brains that are to blame for insomnia. Exposure to light, even the mild glow from a laptop or mobile, can prevent you from falling asleep completely. Mellow the lights in your room to a soft glow at least an hour before bed. Draw thick curtains across windows to shut out traffic and streetlights. As you prepare to doze off, keep your phone away, maybe on a bedside table, close enough for an emergency and better for your health than keeping it by your pillow.
Nod off to a quiet Tick Tock
This suggestion isn’t for everyone, but it has been found to help a lot of insomniacs. The idea is to concentrate on a single, repetitive sound that can lull you to sleep (because counting sheep doesn’t seem to have helped anyone). A sleep sound machine can create the soft sound of a brook or wind blowing through the trees. Alternatively, you can focus on an already existing ambient sound, like the hum of an air conditioner or the swish of the fan.
However, it takes all sorts of sleepers to make the world. While some of us find even the gentle chirping of a cricket annoying, some others wake up the minute the TV is turned off, because silence can be deafening too. A couple of nights of experimentation should tell you whether a steady sound relaxes or enrages you.
Do a Goldilocks
There is no one bed or mattress to suit us all, so make sure you try a few before you buy one. Besides the obvious decisions, like choosing a single bed over a double bed, or a queen sized bed over a king sized bed, pay attention to buying the right mattress. Apart from its firmness, consider its durability and ease of maintenance (a mattress protector could go a long way towards improving both).
Depending on what you need, you could also accessorize your existing mattress with soft mattress toppers. Consider hypoallergenic bed linen, if necessary, and remember to change your bedlinen to suit the weather. Think about your pillow choices. As a general rule of thumb, stomach sleepers need soft and flat pillows, side sleepers need really thick ones while back sleepers can do with a medium thickness.
Keep your room at room(ish) temperature
If you feel like you’re on hot coals as you flop into your bed, it is probably because your roof is receiving too much sunlight. Getting a air conditioner or cooler is the obvious solution. However, if this isn’t feasible, there are other ways to keep excessive heat at bay. Try coating your roof with white reflective paint.
If that sounds very complicated, you can try creating a roof garden, taking care to choose plants that can tolerate a high degree of sunlight. This protective layer of plants can protect your room from searing temperatures quite effectively. No authority to mess with the roof and no green thumb? No worries. Just sprinkle water on the floor, switch on the fan and breathe easy as your room cools down.
Get everyone else to Snooze
If you have children or even pets, your night is often interrupted. Plan your kids’ bedtime a couple of hours before yours (do we hear a collective ‘yeah, right!’ from parents everywhere?) Well, plan it as much as you can. When it comes to pet dogs, keeping them well-exercised means they sleep better. Keeping your room quiet and dark makes it clear to pets that it’s bedtime. If you have birds, a common practice is to cover the cage with a cloth for the night.
You'd think that sleeping should be an effortless impulse, just like eating and breathing. Sadly, in the hyper-alert world that we move in, sleeping is an art that requires a delicate balance of the right conditions. So fidget no more, get yourself a sleep-friendly bedroom! You may still hit snooze on your alarm at the crack of dawn. But when you do wake up, you will be ready to take on the day like a boss!
So, how do you catch a good night's sleep? Tell us all about it!