It is not just health factors that cause people issues with sleeping but also environment factors.
Research has shown that your sleeping environment plays a crucial role in the amount of sleep you get, even going so far as investigating whether it’s good to sleep with your dog in your bed. They’ve also found out how sleeping in a new place can impact your sleep.
The major factors in this are detailed below.
Table of contents
What is the best sleeping temperature?
It’s hard to sleep in a room that is too hot or too cold. Research suggests that the best sleeping temperature is 18 degrees celsius, with the ideal being within the range of 12 – 24 degrees.
Age plays a factor here, with young children and the elderly requiring higher temperatures to sleep in.
It is also recommended to leave a window open where possible to keep the air fresh. There are even some smart scales that measure the air quality of your house, such as the Withings Smart Body Analyser.
Research shows that light affects the body’s natural circadian rhythms – the body’s natural body clock. What this means is that if you try to sleep in a bright room, you will be fighting against your body’s natural urges to stay awake because it is light.
When the sun goes down and the light fades, the body begins to release melatonin, a hormone that relaxes the body and encourages us to fall asleep.
It is therefore important to make sure that the lighting of your environment matches your sleep schedule. Ideally, lights should dim and move towards the orange end of the spectrum before going to bed, then brighten and move towards the blue end of the spectrum when it is time to wake up.
There are some great technological solutions to this problem, such as the Phillips Hue light. You can set the lights to turn on and off with the sun.
A good eye mask is a cheap and effective solution to a well-lit sleeping environment.
Mattress and bedding
It is important to be comfortable when trying to sleep.
We weight differing amounts and have different body shapes which means that we will need a type of mattress to support our body.
If the mattress is too soft, you can wake up with aching joints from the lack of support. A mattress that is too firm can cause hip and shoulder pain.
Duvets and pillows are also important. Many people have allergies, so make sure that you choose bedding that you are comfortable with.
Always look out for mattress companies that offer money-back guarantees. A lot of the leading companies will offer 100 day trials.
The National Bed Foundation has tips on buying the bed that suits you.
Technology: No TVs and phones in bed
It is important that your bed is associated with sleep. The bed should not be somewhere to work or watch TV.
Stop using them at least an hour before bed.
Noise can interrupt sleep, so make sure your room is well insulated from outside noise. Traffic, airplanes and people can interrupt your sleep.
Some people find that repetitive noises or white noise can help them fall asleep.
Ear plugs are a cheap and effective solution against noise.
A good sleeping environment as described above in conjunction with good sleep hygiene is a good place to start when looking to improve your sleep quality or tackle some of major sleep conditions.