Curating the ideal sleep environment is a must, although it can be tricky if you share your sleep space with someone else. Your sleep space is sacred. It’s where your body does its most important work – recovery.
Here are 15 ways to customize your sleep space so that you can reach the golden stage of deep sleep, allowing your body to truly recover from the day’s stress – physical and mental. Whether you try one or all of these things, try not to over-complicate things. These are tools, and depending on your current routine, they may not all be essential.
- First things first, make your space inviting and relaxing. Your color scheme should be relaxing to you – whatever tones and shades that may be.
- Declutter your room. Remember this room is a sacred space for rest. Keeping it clutter free makes room for releasing stress and anxiety.
- Reading before bed can help you release details of the day that could otherwise keep playing themselves over in your head while you try to sleep. Books are powerful, however, so try to keep the bedtime reading light and not too heavy.
- Blueblockers while you read are essential. They will help block the blue light that triggers wakefulness and allow you to consume your reading material without overstimulating the brain. Blueblockers should really be worn when the sun sets, allowing your true circadian rhythm to kick in. If you’re not willing to forgo the tv in the bedroom, blueblockers are essential for curbing the negative effects of all the blue light coming from the screen
- Find pajamas that you just love to be in. Even if you prefer to sleep in your birthday suit, pajamas can help you get into the bedtime mindset. A great tool to help you begin unwinding.
- Include the soft scent of lavender to help induce a state of calm. An essential oil and diffuser are great, but you can keep it as simple as a room mist (from Shimmer) used at bedtime. The association with scent and bedtime can, over time, be a powerful aid in prompting relaxation.
- Keep it cool. In order to fall into a deep sleep, our body temperature needs to drop by about 1 degree. If you’re pregnant, post-natal, or menopausal, this may seem nearly impossible. If you’ve tried everything from open windows to central air, here’s another tool that could help keep your body temp where it needs to be for a better night’s sleep.
- Keep it dark. Our natural circadian rhythm relies on light and dark to help our bodies function optimally. With darkness comes the cue to slow down certain functions (like digestion) and ramp up others (like cell repair). Black out shades are great for achieving that deep dark our brains thrive in while sleeping. But, if your partner is in bed with you and they are watching tv, the shades won’t really do you any good until morning. That’s where a good sleep mask will come in handy.
- Quiet is also key. The thing is that we all have our idea of what a soothing quiet means. Maybe you need complete quiet like me. Or maybe white noise is best for you? You can even invest in a two-for and target light and sound… or sound and gradual light for waking (cuing that circadian rhythm again)
- Weighted blanket. Just like swaddling helps calm an anxious baby, a weighted blanket has been shown to ease stress for kids and adults.
- Heated blanket. If you feel like you might be claustrophobic under a weighted blanket, heat may be a good alternative. A little heat can go a long way. Most heated blankets come with a timer, which helps with allowing your body temperature to drop in time to reach your deep sleep.
- Sleeping inclined can help with relieving sinus pressure, headaches, snoring, and heartburn. It also helps facilitate sleeping on your back, which is great for posture, with less pressure on the lungs.
- The perfect pillow situation may seem impossible. What you want to do is be aware of the position of the neck. The cervical spine should be straight and stress free as much as possible. Placing a pillow under your knees can also be helpful with alleviating low back stiffness. I use a satin pillowcase for my ‘under the knees’ pillow so that I can move it freely under the covers without messing up the bed too much. Of course, satin pillowcases on your main pillow are also great for your skin and hair. I sleep on my back, and if I’m feeling particularly tense through the neck, I use a neck roll as a ‘pillow’ instead.
- Hard mattress / soft mattress, we all have our preference. There are options now for you to still be able to share a bed with someone and have your firmness the way you like it. Of course, you could also just have separate beds… or bedrooms 😉 If you just can’t seem to get comfortable on your mattress, it may be time to investigate your number.
- Air Purifier for the home. As resilient as we are, and as amazing as our bodies are, sometimes our built in filtration system needs a little help. From pet dander, to dust, to mold, a good quality air purifier could really help clear the junk that keeps you up at night.
Before you dive in and try everything, take stock of what seems to be going well with your sleep environment and what definitely needs improvement.
Also keep in mind that your perfect solution now may need some tweaks down the road. Chances are, as you age, your needs will change. That’s totally normal and OK! Just because you needed a white-noise machine in your 30’s and 40’s doesn’t mean it will still suit you in your 50’s and beyond.
My #1 recommendation for everyone at every age is the blocking blue light. If you’re not already doing this, get yourself a pair of blueblocker glasses today. There are so many stylish options these days! It’s a great first step for better sleep and recovery 🙂