Sleep Surroundings

Your sleep surroundings can influence how well you sleep at night. Small things can cause sleep disruptions. Ensure a good night's sleep by paying attention to temperature, light, and sound as well as your mattress, sheets, and sleepwear.

sleep surroundings

Keep your bedroom free of electronics.  Do not use it as your home office nor as your TV room.  It is hard enough to separate work from the rest of one's life - but especially at night, an office in the bedroom easily triggers thoughts of things that need to get done.  You need an environment that promotes relaxation, enhances melatonin production, and reduces stress.

Bedroom Temperature

How often do you wake up hot because you have too many blankets on or wake up cold because you've kicked the blankets off? Or maybe the temperature setting on your thermostat is too high or too low. Of course every individual is different, but if you are someone who has a hard time falling back to sleep, minimize this sleep disruption by paying attention to your thermostat before going to bed or investing in a light weight blanket if you get too warm or adding an extra blanket to your bed if you get too cold.

sleep aid tips

If you get too warm or too cold when you sleep there are more factors involved than the setting of the thermostat.

A bedroom that is too warm is more of a sleep disrupter than one that is too cold.

Air movement can also help with your sleep environment. We like to have air movement and keep our ceiling fan on almost year round. Any fan will work to move air, and if you like the sound of fan it can also help to mask any small noises.


Bedroom Lighting

Our brain responds best to a dark room.

Melatonin secretions increase in a completely dark room, which in turn improves one's sleep.

Unplug any electronic devices with lighted displays (except your alarm clock if you want to keep your job :)

Turn your alarm clock away so that you cannot see the digital display.

Use room darkening shades, lined curtains or a sleep mask to get optimal darkness.  If like me, you've tried hanging towels or blankets over your windows to get that extra bit of darkness you might like these non- permanent room darkeners.  

Non-Permanent Room Darkening Solution for Better Sleep.

Change out your regular light bulbs in your bedroom and/or bathroom to ones that don't suppress melatonin.  

In the evening you need to remove your exposure to blue light whether it's from light bulbs or electronic screens to help promote better sleep. 

This strategy has been a big game changer for me helping me to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. 

Lighting Science FG-02263 Good Night Blue Light Blocking Light Bulbs

Bedroom Sounds

sleep aid tips

Noisy streets, neighbors, dogs or roommates can prevent us from falling asleep or staying asleep. In my case, a too quiet room interferes with my sleeping. Be proactive and use some type of white noise machine that either you find relaxing, such as ocean waves, or is useful to drown out other noises. There are many white noise apps that one can play using either an iPod either with speakers or a headset.

Some people, especially children, like listening to lullaby or relaxing music to fall asleep. Ear plugs, especially the wax ones, can help you "turn off" the world for a more restful night's sleep.

Whether you like to mask other household noises or just like th soothing sound of constant white noise, the LectroFan is my go to.  There are several white noise options and you can see it for 60" or to go all night.

LectroFan White Noise Machine with 20 Unique Non-Looping Fan and White Noise Sounds

Bedroom Mattress

Are you waking up in the middle of the night with back or hip pain? A poor mattress can be the cause of many sleep disruptions.

sleep aid tips

We tried a memory foam mattress top when my husband and I both found ourselves waking up and moving because of frequent hip pain. It helped some, but the memory foam made the bed so warm, I would wake up from being too hot.

We decided it was time to look for a new mattress since ours was over 15 years old. Get some help to determine what is the best mattress for you and your partner.

What Is The Best Mattress?

Bed Sheets

Considering that we spend one-third of our lives in bed, comfortable bedroom sheets are important. What bed sheets you use can impact your quality of sleep.

If you get too hot or cold while sleeping, your sleep is disrupted. Here are some of the types of material used in bedsheets.

1. All Cotton Sheets

Cotton is my favorite pick because they breathe and don't trap the heat like other fabrics. I get warm easily so I look for sheets that help to keep me cool. Take note that these sheets may wrinkle because there is no polyester. If you take them out of the dryer right away wrinkling is minimized. 

400-Thread-Count Egyptian Cotton Sateen Sheets

2. Combination Cotton and Polyester

Sheets made of cotton and polyester are the least expensive. When you see a big bedroom sheet sale with great prices, the sheets are usually made of polyester and cotton.  However they retain heat, so if you are prone to getting too warm at night, stick with 100% pima cotton sheets.

3. Jersey Knit

A soft, combed cotton, like t-shirt fabric, makes for comfortable sheets. If you tend to get cold easily these will keep you warmer than cotton sheets.

4. Flannel Sheets

When we lived in Minnesota many winter nights got down to -30 or more. Flannel sheets are great for keeping you warm and cozy.

100-Percent Cotton Flannel Sheet Set

Bed Blankets

Use different blankets for different seasons.

During the summer months if a top sheet is not enough to keep you comfortable, get a lightweight blanket. For cold, winter months get a heavy comforter or use several layers of blankets to keep you warm.

We keep a down feather comforter folded up on the end of the bed that works well for us when cold temperatures arrive.

Puredown White Goose Down Comforter Stripe White

Bed Warmers

Electric mattress pads or electric blankets are great for warming up the bed.

Most of these warmers now have dual controls so that each person can adjust the temperature to their liking.

As a nurse, I like to minimize any exposure to electric magnetic fields, so we turn our electric mattress pad warmer on about an hour before going to bed and then turn it off before falling asleep.

Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad

Sleepwear

Your choice of sleepwear also influences a good night's sleep.

Too many clothes or fabric with polyester wakes me up because I get overheated.  I prefer 100% cotton sleepwear. 

Likewise if you find yourself waking up at night because you are cold or have cold feet, wear flannel or warmer night clothes. Some people find that cold feet wakes them up at night, so in that case put on some warm socks before going to bed.

Del Rossa Women's Priscilla 100% Cotton Victorian Sleeveless Nightgown

Allergy Mattress Covers

sleep aid tips

Allergy mattress covers are an important sleep aid for those who suffer from allergies, especially from dust mites.  As someone who has been allergy tested and then found to be allergic to dust mites, I discovered   how these disgusting little creatures live and multiply in our bedding.  

However, the old days of noisy, heavy, thick plastic mattress covers thankfully is a thing of the past.

For people who have allergies, especially to dust mites, it's important to use allergy mattress covers.  There are lots of opportunities for sleep to be disrupted, but we can minimize them by preparing a bedroom and bed that is conducive to sleep.

When we recently purchased a new king size mattress, we also needed a new allergy mattress protector. The one we chose and have used now for several years is called Protect A Bed, Premium Mattress Protector.

Here is what I like about it:

1.  It's waterproof

2.  Provides a dust mite barrier and allergy protection

3.  It is porous, which means it breathes and doesn't trap heat and get me all hot and sweaty.

4. The top is made of a soft cotton terry cloth

5.  It can be washed in hot water and tumble dry on medium. Do not dry clean and do not add bleach.

I loved what this review from Amazon wrote:

"And good news, it doesn't make the crinkly sound that many covers do. Moreover, you don't feel as though you're sleeping on on a garbage bag. Basically, once it's on, you won't notice it, which is a good thing.

I bought our king size cover at the mattress store and I see now that the same king size mattress pad is much cheaper at Amazon here: Protect-A-Bed Premium Queen Waterproof Mattress Protector

Pets in the Bedroom

Cats or dogs on the bed or in the bedroom are also sleep disrupters. Any movement or sounds they make can wake you up during the night or wake you up too early. Sleep interruptions can prevent us from getting deep REM sleep.

By paying attention to your sleep surroundings or environment you can minimize the opportunities of having your sleep disrupted for a better and longer night's sleep.

Return to Sleep Aid Tips

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