The environment in which we sleep is crucial to the quality of our sleep. The following are some simple changes we can adapt to our sleep environment, which have a powerful and effective impact on our sleep quality.
The ideal sleep environment should have the following characteristics:
- Dark: Keep the sleeping environment as dark as possible at night and during naps. Blackout blinds can do wonders.
- Quiet: The room should be as quiet as possible. In noisy environments playing white noise in the background can decrease the probability that a child or an adult is awakened at night.
- Cool: People sleep better when it’s cool. The body needs to achieve a drop in core temperature before initiating sleep.
- No screens: Light, particularly the bright blue/ light from electronics, can confuse the circadian rhythms and suppress melatonin (usually peaks right before bedtime); these effects are bad for sleep. The environment should be completely free of electronics, including television.
Other useful tips to follow to ensure a sleep-conducive environment are:
- Keeping a flashlight beside the bedside so you can avoid turning on the lights during nighttime bathroom breaks
- Setting devices with bright screens to “dim” or “night mode” to avoid the stimulating blue-light
- Making your bed every morning can make it psychologically inviting when you are ready to sleep at night
- Keeping pets out of the bed to avoid being woken up by them during the night and triggering allergies via pet dander