October 15, 2015
Top performers know that getting high-quality sleep on a regular basis is crucial to maintaining productivity and staying at the top of your game both physically and mentally. Heck, even Cristiano Ronaldo has his own sleep coach who’s charged with keeping the world-famous soccer player in top shape via optimized sleep.
Ronaldo is onto something: there’s a science to getting good sleep. And it all starts in the bedroom. The environment in which you sleep (or try to sleep) makes the difference between sleeping well and sleeping poorly—or not at all. Here are six expert strategies that will maximize your bedroom’s capacity for promoting better sleep.
1. Keep It Dark
Exposure to electrical lights between dusk and whenever you go to bed can strongly suppress melatonin levels, making it harder to fall asleep. When dusk kicks in, turn off any unnecessary lights and dim the ones that stay on in order to limit their effect on your sleep later in the night. It’s also worth investing in “soft/warm” light bulbs so lighting is less harsh even when it’s in use. And using blackout curtains will help ensure that street lights don’t sneak into the bedroom and mess with your internal rhythms while you’re trying to sleep. Bonus: Keeping the curtains closed is also a sound home security practice.
2. Ditch Electronics
Just like electric lighting, the light from tablets, smartphones, computers, and all other electronic devices can reduce melatonin levels and make it harder to fall asleep. Additionally, these gadgets often keep us connected to work via email, which makes it harder to unwind at the end of the day. Make it a house rule to never use electronics in the bedroom, and commit to turning off electronics at least an hour or two before bed every night.
3. Stay Cool
Studies find that cooler temperatures promote better sleep. Set the bedroom thermostat to anywhere between 60 and 68 degrees well before hitting the sheets. At a minimum, keep the temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit in order to up the chances of having a high-quality snooze. Experiment with different temperatures to find the one that works best for you.
4. Choose the Right Mattress
The right mattress can make the difference between sleeping soundly and tossing and turning all night. When choosing a mattress, personal comfort should be the ultimate goal. Try to test out a mattress in the store for at least 20 minutes before committing to it. Avoid saggy mattresses and be sure to replace both the mattress and box spring at least every eight years in order to ensure the best sleep and spinal support.
5. Invest in Air Quality
Breathing clean air is critical to both overall health and restful sleep. One of the easiest (and aesthetically pleasing) ways to improve air quality in your bedroom is to fill it with plants. Areca Palms, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, and Money Plants are all great options. You may also find it helpful to use a humidifier or dehumidifier (the ideal humidity level for a bedroom is between 40 and 50 percent) or to invest in an electronic air purifier to eliminate both pollutants and odors.
6. Declutter the Room
A disorganized bedroom can be distracting and agitating, thereby prohibiting restful sleep. Remove anything that’s not necessary from the room and enforce an organizational system for everything that’s left: Each item in the room should have a designated place. Spend a few minutes every morning straightening up so that the bedroom is neat and welcoming when you finally hit the sheets.
Just a few adjustments to your bedroom environment can make a big difference in the quality of your sleep. And given that we spend up to a third of our lives asleep (or trying to be), it’s worth taking the time to optimize the bedroom. Your mental health, physical health, and job performance will be better for it. Plus, you can brag about having something in common with Cristiano Ronaldo.
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