Hello everybody! Welcome back to my blog. Through this blog, I want to help people find their way to a healthier lifestyle. I mostly talk about exercise and its science, which is my area of expertise, but I also talk about nutrition, sleeping habits and many other subjects related to wellbeing and healthy lifestyle.
Today, I want to talk about how to set up your bedroom ready for bedtime and get the most of a good night sleep.
In my post “THE THREE MUST DO’S PART 2: SLEEPING WELL” I talk about the importance of sleeping well and some tips, check it out to find out more!
Knowing that sleeping well is one of the three must do’s to be healthier, we can consider of great importance the environment of our bedroom. With this post, I’ll give you a couple of tips to get it ready!
- Your bedroom is a sanctuary for sleeping, not a storage room.
Our lifestyle nowadays is very consumerist and capitalist, meaning that we tent to find pleasure in owning things. Having lots of objects is a sign of wealthiness, therefore we own too much. This is one of the biggest issues of the first world.
Having a tidy room will not only make your mum very happy, but it will influence you to be more relaxed. Let’s explain this with two different scenarios:
- You have a messy room. It’s nearly bedtime, and you need to get your PJs on. The only one you have in reach smells like you’ve worn it for nearly a week, and the rest have not been washed and they’re in a pile on the corner of the room. You need to find some comfortable shirt and pants, or just decide to sleep naked. Now you want to charge your phone, but you can’t find the charger. Would it be somewhere on the messy desk? Perhaps inside the wardrobe or on top of a shelf? (Wait, is that your lunch box from kindergarten? You didn’t even know it still existed!) It can even be somewhere else in the house! After a while sorting this out, you finally get to go to bed. But you have a pile of books on top, laptop, more clothes. You decide to put them on the desk, but the desk is also full of staff, so maybe let’s put it on the floor and you’ll worry about it tomorrow. Oh wait, is that the essay you needed to get done for tomorrow? Or is that the book you needed to take back to the library 3 days ago? Did you finally find that jacket you wanted to wear last week? You go to sleep thinking about all the things you need to fix, without your comfortable PJs and thinking that probably the sheets need a wash.
- You have a tidy room. It’s bedtime, and you know exactly where your PJs are (nicely stored on its place in the wardrobe) because you just have a couple that you really like, and you make sure that there’s always one nice and clean available. Then you put your phone on charge in the same spot you always leave the charger and forget about it. When you’re done, you head to your bed, which is prepared to receive you and smells like peace and joy. You have a clear desk, duly organised with the few things you need, and your book is waiting for you to read a few minutes before falling sleep. You go to sleep thinking that everything is done for the day, and you can unwind your mind and have a nice sleep.
This might sound funny, but I bet you’ve felt identified with one of these two scenarios! You might think “well, it’s okay, I don’t mind having a messy bedroom” but if I ask you to send me a picture of your dream bedroom, does it look messy and crowded?
A less crowded bedroom gives you less distractions, which is very important to fall asleep and have a good rest. If you don’t know where to start, click on the link below. On this post, I explain the bases of minimalism and the minimalism I personally find pleasurable. Check it out!
- Comfortable and pleasant bed and bedding.
Think of your dream bedroom. Picture the colours and textures you would use for your bedding. Perhaps try to remember the colours and textures of a bed you slept that time and you felt so good the day after. The colours and especially the materials of our bed sheets may play a role in a good night sleep. It might sound dull but feeling comfortable in your own bed is key. If your budget doesn’t allow you to spend a lot of money, there are always cheaper options available, and you might be surprised by the quality and designs.
About the mattress, there’s a lot of controversy. Specialists say we should change the mattress every 6 to 8 years, but not everybody has the money or willingness to do so. Personally, I won’t change my mattress until there’s something wrong with it or I start finding it uncomfortable, like I do with any other item of my house. However, if your mattress is what’s keeping you away from sleeping well, get rid of it and get a new one. It’s better to invest a fair amount of money on that now than expending a whole lot of money on medical treatments in the future!
During the day, we need to get bright light from the sun to tell our brain that the day has started. Sunlight starts hormonal processes that helps you stay alert during the day. It also regulates the production of melatonin, the hormone that puts us to sleep at night. On the other hand, this type of light makes us struggle to fall asleep. The last couple of hours prior going to bed, we should avoid bright light, including the blue light from our phones and other devices. In last week’s post, I talked a bit about it when I discussed the importance of skincare, have a peek at it if you missed it!
The best type of light to help you sleep is red. I found this website doing research a few months ago, and I find it very helpful. Check out the link below, they give you some of the best options for lighting at night!
Our bedroom needs to be sightly cool for a good sleep.
As you can see in the graph, during the night our body temperature decreases, reaching its lowest point at approximately 4 am. Consequently, we wake up sometimes in the middle of the night sweaty and we need to get our legs or arms out from under the blanket, and from time to time you wake up the day after without the top part of your PJs. It’s hard to go to bed and feel cold, but after 5 minutes in bed you’ll warm up, and you’ll avoid that unpleasant feeling in the middle of the night.
Leave the room open for some sort of breeze (from the window or leaving the door open). Avoid sleeping with a heater or electric blanket. Alternatively, if you need to fall asleep with a source of heat, program it to turn off automatically after 20’. This way, by 4 am the room temperature would be more adequate.
If you are as lucky as I am and don’t have any problems about sharing your bed, good on you! But there’s some people that do struggle to sleep because they share their bed.
Some people let their kids in their beds, which sometimes leads to sleep deprivation. It’s comforting for the kids to know that they can sleep with you if they’re having a rough night, but they need to understand that the parents’ bed is for the parents, and they must learn to sleep in their own beds.
Some other people sleep with pets, and many studies have demonstrated that this is a positive thing (I will talk about this in future posts!) but we need to be careful and analyse if this is a good habit for us. If your pet wakes you up several times during the night or misbehaves in bed, we need to stop it. It might be even more difficult than making your kids sleep on their own beds, but eventually it’ll happen.
Most of us who have a partner, sleep in the same bed. It’s nice to feel your partner right there, beside you. If you have a bad dream and wake up in the middle of the night, just looking at them will help you feel relaxed and go back to sleep. I am (so far) one of the fortunates that love sharing my bed with my husband, but some people would die for having their own bed.
We have stigmatised the idea of sleeping with our partner, giving it a great importance. If a friend of us tells us that they and their partner are sleeping in separate beds, our first thought would be “CRISIS!”. On the link below you’ll find a bit more of science behind sleeping with or without your partner.
Deciding not to share your bed doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a bad relationship. Some people have some sleep disorders, such us insomnia or apnoea, and unfortunately some couples have different shifts. If you have a night shift but your partner has a morning shift, isn’t it a bit selfish to push the situation knowing that you’ll wake them up a couple of hours before they’re meant to?
There’s a lot of sleep deprivation because of this social stigma. Sleeping well is one of the most important things to take care of if you want to live a long healthy life, and if you want that relationship to last! I will talk about this subject in future posts.
This is it for today. I hope you liked these tips, and you start applying it to your life. Let me know if you’ve started any of them, and if they’ve helped you have a better night’s sleep.
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See you next week!