Sleep restores everything in our bodies. It’s essential for proper functioning of immune, nervous, skeletal, hormonal, and muscular systems, plus it regulates our metabolism and affects our brain power.
As such, getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for good health. One thing that may help is creating your own sleep sanctuary to help you support your goals.
There are a few things that make a big difference when it comes to our sleep space, so let’s look at these one by one:
To know where your destination is, knowing your starting point is essential What’s the current temperature in your room? Do you have an accurate thermostat or is there an app you can use? Alternatively, just place a room thermometer in the centre of the room, leave for five minutes and then check.
Recommendations are for between 16 to 20C (60-68F). If your room doesn’t fall into this range try:
- Extra blankets
- An electric blanket
- Open windows
- A fan
Our body runs on an internal clock you may have heard of: our circadian rhythm. One of the strongest cues for that rhythm is light – and it’s why blue light blocking glasses are all the rage in biohacking circles.
Daytime light wakes us up and regulates us. Exposure, especially early in the day, is critical to quality sleep. One of the best things you can do when you wake up is jump out of bed and stand in front of a window – of course, make sure you’re appropriately dressed first. You could also get a clock timer that lights up your bedroom as you wake up.
Night-time light (especially artificial light) messes with internal body clocks, making it harder to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. It’s one of the reasons I try and work with my clients to get them to ditch screens before bed.
Here are a couple of other tips:
- use a dim alarm clock, and/or cover it up.
- set up thick curtains or blackout blinds
- try and ramp down in the hours before bed – maybe dim the lights earlier or use some red bulbs in some lamps
Think about how you can create more peace in your environment. You could, say, reduce outside noise with some ‘white noise’ from a fan or dehumidifier.
Speak to the rest of the family if you wake at different times and see if you can’t work together on a solution: My daughters were recently ecstatic when I went around the house and applied WD40 oil to all the creaking doors!
Electronic media are stimulating (see my above comment about screens and light). They rev up our brain and body even if we don’t realise it, and the light from screens can interfere with natural circadian rhythms.
Thinking about your sleep space, could you make that a gadget-free zone?
- Do you need a phone in your bedroom
- If you need it for an alarm, could you get an old-fashioned clock to do this with no LEDS?
- Could you make small changes to screen time? Reduce it by 15 minutes a night for a few weeks say
- Could you keep a notebook and pen by the bed to write down some streams of thought – brain dumping can often help with sleep
- A story book for reading is a good idea – try not to make it something you need to retain (like a work or study book) and don’t go for stories full of disturbing imagery
Take it steady
- Don’t try to change everything in one go – you won’t know what works and what doesn’t
- Experiment with just one area first and see how you get on.
- What one small thing could you do today to make your sleep environment better?