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Getting a good night sleep determines how our day will go the next day. Whether you’re a student, a stay-at-home parent or work outside of the home, to name just a few, lack of a good night sleep can affect your performance at school, work and at home.
A good night sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle. While you’re sleeping, your brain is restoring itself allowing you to feel alert and refreshed; and your body is repairing tissues and helping your muscles to grow. In the best state of sleep, REM sleep, muscles relax helping to reduce stress and tension.
Your body needs time to chill-out. Unfortunately, not everyone’s bedroom is set up with the elements you need to get a good night sleep. A long time ago, I saw an episode of Oprah (when she had a daytime talk show) where she mentioned your bedroom should be where you sleep and nothing else, well almost nothing else. Wink, wink.
Not only are many of our bedrooms not set up for optimal sleep, but we often resort to counterproductive methods to help us get to sleep. Here are a few tips for making sure your bedroom is set up for optimal rest. With these tips, you may find you’re able to free yourself from some of the ways you’re currently using to “help” you sleep.
74% of Americans say a quiet room is key to getting a good night sleep in the @sleepfoundation 2012 Bedroom Poll.… Click To Tweet
It should come as no surprise that electronics are the biggest culprit in preventing you from getting a good night sleep. Unfortunately, it’s become much more than just a TV being a hindrance. Now we’ve got tablets and smartphones, computers or laptops in the bedroom, video game consoles or handheld video games and music players, such as MP3s or radios.
All of these create noise that your brain still continues to process, even while you’re sleeping. Getting rid of these in your bedroom will reduce disturbances in your sleep, whether you realize it’s a disturbance or not.
If you NEED noise, consider investing in a white noise machine or downloading an app on your smartphone. When I need noise, I play the Sir Edward Elgar (classical music) channel on Pandora, however there are actually white noise apps for both Android and iPhone (and maybe Windows phone and Blackberry. If you use either, please share your favorite apps for your device in the comments).
73% of Americans say a dark room is key to getting a good night sleep in the @sleepfoundation 2012 Bedroom Poll.… Click To Tweet
Do you know how you tend to wake up earlier during fall and winter? It’s because the sun rises earlier. The light signals your body to wake. The opposite, darkness, is a cue for your body to sleep. These tips will get your bedroom sleep-friendly.
- For those that like to ease into sleep by reading a good book, make sure you’re using a low-wattage, incandescent bulb in your bedside lamp. Another option is a book light.
- Nix those lights from your digital alarm clock by turning it away from you instead of towards you. If you’re a perpetual snoozer like me, it might also help get you out of bed faster. Placing your alarm clock further away might also help both causes.
- Your windows should be draped with darkening curtains or shades to reduce incoming light from outdoors, especially if you live in an urban or suburban area. Darkening curtains or shades can also help with noise pollution from outdoors.
- If you have an irregular schedule or live with someone in close quarters who has an opposing schedule, a sleep mask could make a world of difference. When Travis worked with me, he worked from noon-9 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. I hardly ever saw him, but I sure did notice when he would get home and turn the lights on in adjoining rooms.
Clutter: The worst thing you can have in your bedroom is clutter. Less is more. Think minimalist. Clutter makes me feel emotional turmoil.
- This includes sentimental clutter. Holding on to items because your Grandmother gave them to you 15 years ago, even though it serves no real purpose in your life and has no monetary value is clutter. If you can’t let it go, store it somewhere else. It doesn’t belong in your bedroom.
- Your laundry hamper(s), clean or dirty, can be considered clutter because it evokes feelings of unfinished housework. Put your dirty laundry hamper in your bathroom, or better yet, just take it to the utility room. Your clean laundry should be folded and hung within a few hours of washing and drying.
- Your bedside table is not a catch-all. An alarm clock, a light and some decor that makes you feel good is all you need. Books are acceptable, possibly even an e-Reader so long as you’re not using it for late night Facebook obsessions or gaming. Your keys, wallet, change, bills, etc. do not belong on your bedside table.
- Food and drink have no place in the bedroom. If you must, opt only for a small glass of water in the event you need hydration or get a tickle in your throat. Teas and other remedies for illness are okay. Just be sure to limit yourself to one cup at a time. If you do fall ill, be sure to have a small bedside trash can for tissues.
It’s more difficult for me to sleep when it’s TOO HOT, even though Summer is my favorite season. I guess I have different favorites when it comes to indoors and outdoors. It’s a lot easier for me to warm up a room (and less expensive) than it is to cool down a room. A breathable comforter and a space heater, plus if you’re lucky enough to have a warm body to snuggle with, makes getting warmed up much easier indoors versus outdoors.
Allergens: If you didn’t see the viral post on Facebook about a messy bed being a “healthier bed”, then you may not realize that scientists suggest making your bed creates warmth and moisture between your comforter and the sheets, creating a perfect breeding ground for dust mites.
A comfortable mattress, pillows and feel of sheets and bedding are most important for a good night sleep.… Click To Tweet
Source: National Sleep Foundation’s 2012 Bedroom Poll
A good mattress is a major factor in a good night sleep. After you find the perfect mattress for you (and yours if you’re sharing), taking care of your mattress and replacing it will affect your sleep quality. The average lifespan of a mattress is around eight years, but worn and sagging spots that cause stiffness or constantly waking up feeling unrested are a sure sign it’s time to replace.
Sheets should be breathable and wicking. Pillows should align the curvature of your spine and the natural set of one’s shoulders with a neutral neck position, which means your head should not be raised above your neck, as if you were sleeping on a slope. Different sleep positions, such as back, side and stomach should be considered when searching for the right pillow for you. Pillows should be replaced every two years, that is IF you buy a quality pillow. If you buy a $5 pillow, you’ll get $5 worth of comfort, which means at least four times per year. Grab a calculator. Is a cheap pillow really worth it?
Finally there’s the comforter, which has been the missing piece in my sleep woes for about 7 years. I love the feel of microfiber, but it gives me night sweats and chills. The thermal properties of a down comforter can help alleviate temperature battles, but down is so bulky. Plus, down typically requires dry cleaning, which I’m not a fan of. I am all about convenience.
When we first replaced our microfiber comforter with the SmartSilk™ comforter, both Travis and I were a bit taken aback. After we took it out of the package, it felt crunchy and seemed to make far too much noise as we attempted to get to sleep.
However, I can tell you that the first night I slept well. I slept VERY well. I finally felt like I was rested when I woke up. Before I get into the subsequent nights and the month plus that we’ve been using our SmartSilk™ comforter, I must point out that the queen size comforter we received was not as “big” as I expected it to be. Don’t get me wrong; it is definitely a Queen size comforter. I guess I thought it would be more bulky. The zippable enclosure it came in could barely hold two of the pillows on my bed. I was surprised at how thin and light it was.
After a month or so of using it, my opinion did not change from the first night as far as how well-rested I felt the next day. My opinion did change on the crunchiness and noise factor. Over time, the comforter was broken-in and the crunchiness and noise settled. The biggest benefit I’ve experienced with this silk filled, cotton finish comforter is that it’s far more breathable than any other comforter I’ve had. I haven’t experienced night sweats or cold chills since the first night.
My next concern was that it only comes in white, which makes sense because it’s chemical free meaning no synthetic dyes. Even my black dog has not gunked up the white comforter with his black hair. Even if he does, the comforter is machine washable and dryable. Again, I don’t do dry cleaning. We’re lazy and we’re busy at the same time. Plus, the bedding is a natural barrier to dust mites, allergens and pet dander.
Not only that, but it does not take on body odor. It is recommended that you wash it every 8 weeks. We have not yet reached the 8-week point and it still smells and appears as good as new. Being bright white, I expected it to get dingy very quick, but it hasn’t at all, even with the dog who sleeps in the bed.
It took Travis quite some time to admit that he liked it. The crunching and noise were a turn-off for him at first, but now that things have settled in, he has finally admitted he likes it. For some reason, I didn’t necessarily dislike the crunch and noise. It made me feel like I had a fresh, clean bed. It did take some getting used to and then it settled as time went on.
I LOVE IT! I’m definitely going to complete the collection with the pillows and sheets. Honestly, once you get past the breaking-in period and the crunch and noise settles, it’s an amazing comforter, especially if you have issues with temperature regulation. As far as the price tag is concerned, I’ve learned that you get what you pay for. More often than not, it’s more “savvy” to save for high quality bedding than it is to buy value bedding and replace every few years. SmartSilk™ offers a 10-year warranty from the date of purchase that covers manufacturer’s defects.
Are you ready to invest in a good night sleep?
Learn more about SmartSilk™.
SmartSilk™ is a sponsor of our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide!