If you’re tired of sleepless nights, your home may be to blame, and it might be time to update your bedroom. We spoke with a couple of home improvement experts to get some advice on catching some z’s. Here are some changes you can make to improve your sleep environment and get a better night’s rest.
Install a Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans are a quick and easy way to refresh your bedroom and improve your sleep quality. Ceiling fans are effective for a multitude of reasons, but their main benefit is that they keep the temperature in your room low, which helps you fall asleep. Studies have shown that higher temperatures cause wakefulness and restless sleep. That’s why the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends keeping your bedroom around 65°F – 68°F.
Hang Some Blackout Curtains
Adding blackout curtains to your bedroom will instantly add elegance and style – and help you sleep better. Blackout curtains can reduce ambient light as well as outside noise. Sara Abate Rezvanifar of Ambience Design Group says it’s imperative to stay away from curtains that are made from sheer or light materials. Rezvanifar adds, “Find a way to block out the light for day sleep or to prevent the early morning sunlight from peering into your window.”
Wear a Sleep Mask
If blackout curtains seem like overkill, a sleep mask is the way to go. Sleep masks are effective at keeping light out, and some masks even contain aromatherapy pouches that promote relaxation. Sleep masks are also great for blocking out light if you want to take a quick nap to nix that midday slump.
Buy a New Mattress
If it’s been eight to 10 years since you last bought a mattress, it’s time to start looking. It can be daunting to figure out which mattress to buy, but it all comes down to budget and personal preference. Sleepoplis.com founder Derek Hale says to look for three things: material type, budget and firmness. He says these are the three most important factors to consider.
First, would you like a soft or firm mattress? To figure this out, test some mattresses at a store. If you’re leaning toward a softer mattress, consider a pillow-top mattress. If you like more support, materials like latex can provide a firmer feel. “On material type, you are really deciding on the type of feel you’re most interested in,” adds Hale. “Whether it’s coil, memory foam, latex, a hybrid, or something else entirely, the primary material type will dictate to a large degree the feel of that mattress. There isn’t necessarily a ‘best’ type of material, as each material creates its own unique feel and may be more or less appropriate depending on a sleeper’s needs, body type, and desires.”
Hale adds that firmness of a mattress will also depend largely on how you like to sleep, along with your body type, weight and sleeping position. Hale says that 70% to 80% of sleepers need a firmness ranging in a medium range.
Second, consider how well ventilated you’d like your mattress to be. Memory-foam mattresses are known to trap heat, but cooling body pads and moisture-wicking performance sheets can help keep you cool and dry all night no matter what mattress you choose.
“Budget is less complex when it comes to mattress shopping. If you have a hard budget, that immediately helps you narrow down the list of possible choices,” says Hale. If a mattress isn’t in your budget right now, a mattress topper might be the way to go. Mattress toppers can be a quick way to add a little spring to your mattress for a low cost.
“Regardless of the age of the mattress or how long you’ve had it, if you’re not sleeping well, waking up in pain, feeling unrested, or otherwise just not getting the restorative rest that your body needs it really doesn’t matter how old the mattress is, it’s probably time to change,” explains Hale. “Sleep is so important. If you’re not getting good sleep, having pains or health issues can be exacerbated. It’s important to look at the combination of factors and of course consider your personal preferences. If you have a local mattress store, simply stopping by and trying out a few beds in the soft, medium, and firm range can help to better understand your desires in this area.”
Install New Light Bulbs
A recent study conducted by Harvard researchers found that blue light, commonly found in LED and fluorescent bulbs, shifts circadian rhythms by about twice as much as green light. Blue light promotes wakefulness and is found in computer screens, television screens and smartphones, so be sure to turn off your electronics about an hour before hitting the hay.
To combat the lightbulb problem, you can buy special bulbs for your bedroom that reduce the amount of blue light you’re taking in before bed. Many companies have started making lightbulbs that don’t emit blue light and ones that have timers to help you wind down. Rezvanifar says starting a sleep routine is also a great way to sleep better. “Things like chatting with a loved one or reading an hour before bed can make a world of a difference,” explains Rezvanifar.
Get a Humidifier
Cranking the heat during winter results in dry air, which comes with lower sleep quality. According to the NSF, dry air can “lead to a dry, itchy, irritated throat, which can make it harder to sleep.” That’s why the NSF recommends that you keep humidity levels around 50%. Additionally, the more humid air will feel warmer, allowing you to save on heating costs.
Block Noise Pollution
It’s probably no surprise to hear that noises can wake you up throughout the night. That’s why the NSF recommends you block outside noise using “a white noise machine, fan, or air purifier to create a background hum.” You can also consider insulating your walls to block out extra noise.
We all know just how important sleep is, and with all these changes, you just might sleep so well that you won’t even need to hit the snooze button.
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