To the best of your ability, take control of the light, temperature, comfort and sound in your sleep environment.
Your bedroom is your own personal shelter and a safeguard from the stresses of everyday life. The four main stimulants in your sleep environment that you can control are noise, light, temperature and comfort.
Living in the city means that noisy neighbours, sirens and barking dogs are all too familiar. While we often can’t control the source, it’s important to find ways to minimise those outside noises in order to have as few interruptions to sleep as possible.
Noise during the first and last two hours of sleep as well as unfamiliar noise has the greatest disruptive effect on the sleep cycle. Exposure to noise at night can suppress immune function even when you don’t wake up.
Block out noise
Use ear-plugs to block out external noise or white noise that might come from objects in your room, such as a fan.
Your body sets its internal clock according to the natural rhythms of the day and night, with darkness triggering the release of the hormone melatonin that triggers your body’s need for sleep. A two-hour exposure to light from electronic displays suppresses melatonin by about 22% (melatonin is the chemical in your body that promotes sleep).
Make it dark
Cover flashing lights, alarm clocks and phones or move them out of the room all together.
The optimum temperature range for sleeping is 18-22 degrees celsius. When your sleep environment is warmer or cooler than this, you increase the chance of restless sleep. High temperatures can also cause vivid nightmares.
Overcoming the heat of the night
Wear breathable nightwear (or none at all!) and make sure your bedding is also suitable for the climate.
Many people suffer from poor sleep due to the state of their mattress and pillow. Your mattress should be giving you the correct support and postural alignment, if not, it might be time for a new one.
It’s not a hospital bed
Your pillow needs to be firm enough to support your head and neck and maintain spines natural curve. It doesn’t matter if the mattress is classified as soft, medium or firm as long as it provides a good foundation. When it comes to bedding material, it should be lightweight, healthy and breathable.