If you want to improve your sleep, perhaps the easiest place to start is the physical environment you sleep in. We sometimes take for granted the things in our physical space that can be adapted or changed that will actually have an impact on the end result of getting better sleep. So let’s go through the environmental factors that impact your sleep!
When we sleep, our core temperature of our body actually goes down a little bit. This is natural, but if we keep our sleep environment too warm, that natural temperature regulation gets thrown off, and the quality of our sleep goes down.
What factors affect your temperature?
- Thermostat adjustment
- Amount of bedding on the bed.
- Whether you sleep in clothing or naked.
- Whether you sleep alone or with a partner
- Whether pets sleep in the bed or not.
The human brain has parts that sense light or dark and releases chemicals in response to make us feel sleepy or more alert. Being more aware of how you control the light in your sleep environment is important. Too much light can lead to difficulty falling asleep. Not enough light at wake-up time can make you more likely to want to hit the snooze when you should be getting up.
Do an assessment of all sources of light in your sleep environment. Are there ways for you to adjust the light levels when needed?
Important: When you think about light, include the light from televisions, laptops, tablets, or phones. The blue wavelength of light these devices emit tricks your brain into thinking it’s time to be alert. We’ll talk more about controlling light sources in the Beginner level of the program.
The bedroom is supposed to be for two activities: sleep and sex. For many people, more activities than the two mentioned are happening in the bedroom on a regular basis. If you’re consuming media in your bedroom, you’re stimulating your brain in ways that reduce your ability to sleep well. If you’re eating in your bedroom, you’re stimulating your body in ways that make it harder to sleep well. It’s time to make some changes.
Letting go of some old habits and starting some new ones will help you get your sleep back on track. It’s worth it! When you sleep better, you feel better.