Improve your sleep with simple bedroom fixes

Sleep troubles? You’re not alone: Up to 40 percent of Americans have difficulty sleeping. If you’re stuck in the bleary haze of sleep deprivation, your bedroom could be the source of your problem.

Sleeping in a space that’s too bright, too warm or too stimulating can wreak havoc on healthy rest. Happily, sleep science is pointing the way to a better bedroom that’s a sanctuary for sleep.

Bedroom blunder: Too much light

Exposure to artificial light has drastically increased over the last 100 years, and the negative effect on people’s health and well-being is powerful.

Why it’s critical: Light exposure is one of the strongest regulators of the biological clock. Nighttime light—even the glow from a smartphone or alarm clock—suppresses melatonin and disrupts circadian rhythms.

Quick fixes: Make the house as dark as possible in the hours before bed by drawing curtains and limiting television and video games. Tiny beams of light can affect sleep, so black out the bedroom by installing lightblocking shades, shutting off electronics and turning bright alarm clocks toward the wall.

All lights aren’t created equal—blue lights (found on many modern gadgets) have an especially strong impact. Something about the blue light spectrum affects sleep-wake patterns more than regular white light.

Bedroom blunder: Too warm

When people put up with a too-warm bedroom, sleep suffers. Chilling out can improve your chances of sleeping well.

Why it’s critical: Bedroom temperature is about more than comfort; it’s an important physiological cue. First, a drop in body temperature triggers sleep. Then the body naturally cools over the course of the night, reaching its lowest core temperature two hours before waking.

While the ideal bedroom temperature is experts say cool rules. Between 60 to 68 degrees is ideal.

Quick fixes: If air conditioning is an option, use it to cool the bedroom before turning in. Otherwise, open windows and use fans to help move warm air out of the bedroom. Blackout shades are also helpful, because a room that stays darker will also stay cooler.

Bedroom blunder: Too stimulating

Modern bedrooms are home to a host of electronics, stacks of unfinished work and an unread book or two. It all adds up to a space that sends your brain into overdrive, instead of into restful sleep.

Why it’s critical: When it comes to sleep, our bodies crave routine and repetition. So watching television, working and surfing the Internet in bed programs the brain to wake up and work when it should be settling down for sleep.

Quick fixes: Make the bedroom a haven for sleep by banning laptops, video games, television and work. If reading in bed is a cherished habit, switch to lighter reading materials—flipping through a magazine is less stimulating than a suspense thriller, and less likely to keep your brain buzzing all night.

Bedroom blunder: Too messy

Turns out Mom was right: A messy room can be hazardous to your health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people who make their beds daily are 19 percent more likely to sleep well every night. And 71 percent of Americans say they sleep better in a fresh-smelling bedroom.

Why it’s critical: We spend a third of our lives in bed, so our bedroom should be a peaceful retreat. Climbing into a clean, fresh bed will help you relax and set aside your cares, while a messy, unkempt room may provoke stress by reminding you of unfinished chores.

Quick fixes
: Find time to make your bed daily, and adopt the feng shui–inspired habit of closing closet and bedroom doors at night. Creating a sense of calm and order in the bedroom can help pave the way for sweeter dreams, starting tonight.

Source: Costco Connection

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