Bedroom Bliss for Better Sleep
Chances are you’ve heard this advice before: Save your bed and bedroom for sleep and lovemaking only. That way you avoid associating it with reading, TV, and other activities that can set the mind whirring. Here’s how to make your bedroom conducive to snoozing.
Start With the Mattress
After all, we spend more time on it than on any other piece of furniture in our homes. Given all of the evidence that good sleep is an important determinant of good health, it makes sense that the right mattress might help you live a longer, happier, more productive life. Logical, yes. Unfortunately, a good mattress is the most overlooked sleep essential of all. One reason: There’s no scientific evidence showing a correlation between the quality of a mattress and the quality of sleep; the issue hasn’t really been studied. Still, through trial and error, experts have come up with plenty of tips that can help you select the best mattress. Following these suggestions should give you a better foundation for a good night’s sleep.
Don’t Think Too Hard
A too-firm mattress can’t preserve your spine’s alignment as you shift your position throughout the night. It lacks the give to cup your body at points like the neck and the curve in the lower back. On the other hand,
a mattress that’s too soft will let your spine sag and leave you with a backache. What you want in
a mattress is similar to what you want in a comfortable desk chair-something that gently supports your body and keeps your spine softly curved, as it is when you’re standing up straight. If you can’t find a happy medium, try placing a back board about a half-inch thick under your mattress.
Take the Palm Test
When you consider buying a new mattress, don’t just lie flat on it for a few seconds. Instead, try a variety of sleeping positions and test more than one mattress. When you find one you like, lie flat on top of it and slide your hand, palm down, between the small of your back and the mattress. If you can get the whole hand through and there’s still a gap, it’s too hard. And if, when you recline, the base of your spine is lower than your heels, it’s too soft.
Go With Your Gut
The ultimate test is personal preference. Be aware, though, that your first impression may not be enough to base your purchase on. It pays to ask about the store’s return policy. You want to be able to give a new mattress a trial at home. Also, check the warranty. Most premium mattresses come with a 10-year warranty.
Watch for wear. The average mattress lasts no more than 10 years before its springs stop supporting you properly. Don’t wait until the sags are as deep as potholes before replacing it.
Pillows are as important as mattresses for keeping your neck and spine in good alignment so you can sink into restful sleep. Without the right pillow, even the most comfortable mattress won’t deliver deep, divine slumber.
Which pillow is best?
The answer depends mainly on personal preference. Some people feel cozy when they sink into a big, fluffy pillow; others feel as if they’re smothering.Your pillow should be soft enough to conform to the contours of your head and neck, yet thick enough to support them in a neutral position with no upward or downward tilt. Sounds simple-but because of technological advances and fads, pillows today come in a far more diverse array than they used to. Down is soft, breathable, and the natural filling easily molds to your head and body. Contrary to popular belief, down does not aggravate allergies, but it is expensive. Synthetic down is hypoallergenic, man-made fiber is reputed to be just as comfortable as down, but it’s sold at about two-thirds the price.
Create A Tranquil Space
Making your bedroom sleep-friendly isn’t just about the bed – you’ve got to make the whole room feel comfortable and cozy.
Once you have selected your bedding, it’s time to take advantage of the powerful psychological effects of colors. Some generalizations to keep in mind before covering your walls: Pink reportedly exerts a tranquilizing effect within minutes. It suppresses hostile and anxious behavior. Earth tones, such as off-white, beige, and cool greens and blues, are also soothing. Avoid primary colors, especially red, which is highly stimulating.
Keep it Dark and Cool
Darkness and a drop in body temperature tell the brain it’s time to sleep, so hang blackout shades or heavy drapes and set the bedroom thermostat around 18°C. Consider installing a ceiling fan.
Nix the Noise
If you live near a busy street, airport, or other noise generator, place your bedroom as far away from the racket as possible. Use wall-to-wall carpeting and hanging tapestries to absorb sound and dull the noise-reflecting qualities of hardwood floors and plaster walls. If necessary, use earplugs to block intrusive sounds. You can also turn on a low-level fan or play recordings of environmental sounds-surf or waterfalls-to block the noise and lull you to sleep.
Some bedrooms are anything but restful places, with blaring televisions, jangling phones, computers, exercise equipment, and piles of clutter-all of which are symbols of activity, sources of anxiety, and serious distractions from dreamland. Move all of your electronics to another room. If they absolutely
must stay in your bedroom, put them in an armoire and keep the door shut at night.
Cover Your Clock
If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s best not to focus your attention on the time. Looking at a clock every five minutes while you’re in bed can actually make insomnia become entrenched. Mute audible tick-tocks by covering your clock face with a towel, and turn the clock face away from view.
Be A Sentimentalist
Decorate the bedroom with objects, photos, and souvenirs that help you recall pleasant times in your life. Lastly, seeping alone after years with a partner can cause sleep disturbances. Consider getting a cat or dog to cuddle, or use an extra pillow.