Sleep is a subject I’ve written about several times before. Good quality sleep can have such a positive impact on our health, mood and productivity, while sleepless nights are akin to torture.
This was brought home to me recently, while staying in a hotel – all four of us packed into one room.
The kids like to have a bit of light while they sleep. At home we leave the hallway light on, and that’s sufficient. In the hotel room, we had to leave the bathroom light on, with the door ajar. No big sacrifice and nothing we haven’t done before.
Unfortunately on this particular evening, I had to visit the toilet several times, each time tiptoeing around so as not to wake the children. But the bathroom door creaked and scraped so loudly it would have disturbed the dead!
Dragging myself to the loo for the fourth time, I realised the door would have to be left wide open, with the light on, which reflected on a mirror, which lit up the whole room, further preventing me from sleeping.
I do not exaggerate when I say that I slept for 10 minutes that night, and lay there plotting how I would take my revenge on the hotel manager the next morning.
Everything seems so horribly amplified and monumental in the middle of the night.
More serious than that though, the following morning I suffered a migraine and had to remain in bed while the hubster entertained the kids. That bedroom made me physically sick.
Although my previous posts have covered ways to improve our chances of a good night’s sleep, I haven’t talked about how much our environment can impact on the quality of our rest.
We spend around a third of our lives in the bedroom – fun times. But if you’re anything like me, clutter builds up, bedding gets worn and tattered, the cat starts sleeping on the bed – and we wonder why we feel so crap every morning.
Returning home from that hotel the next day, I wanted to take some time to evaluate whether we’ve got the ambience in our bedroom right. I’ve made a few changes and collected some further helpful tips – which aren’t just my amateur opinions, but are based on solid sleep theory.
How to sort out your bedroom for a good night’s sleep:
Sort out the light
It’s obvious, but we do need darkness for the most restful night’s sleep. We have these floor to ceiling curtains with black out fabric, made to measure from John Lewis.
I have also installed a dimmer switch so that we don’t have to go from dark hallway to bright bedroom and then adjust again to darkness when going to bed.
Sort out the noise
There is nothing more stressful than living with noisy neighbours. We’re lucky to live in a quiet neighbourhood, despite being near to central London. Apart from the occasional teenage party, you could hear a pin drop in our house at night.
If you’re surrounded by unpleasant noises, invest in a good pair of ear plugs. Or try the ‘white noise’ of a fan or even a low volume untuned radio. Any constant, low volume and low pitch noise will be preferable to the unpredictable noises of people and traffic beyond your control.
Sort out the temperature
The ideal temperature in the bedroom is 16-18 degrees centigrade according to the experts. That’s fine for me (but difficult to achieve) during the warm summer evenings, but I find the bedding so cold in the winter.
I have the solution, and it makes me sound like an aged aunt, but invest in a good water bottle! Pop the water bottle at the bottom of the duvet while you brush your teeth and then slip under the covers and toast those toes.
A hot water bottle provides central heating for your bed. Once you get used to having it around your feet, you’ll get the best night’s sleep.
Sounds spoilt I know, but when we moved into this house five years ago, my first priority was to build our loft extension with a walk-in-wardrobe. It’s not a Carrie Bradshaw style showroom, but a practical, secret room in the eaves where we can hide all our clutter, clothes, accessories, paperwork etc, leaving our bedroom uncluttered and without much furniture.
I’m not suggesting you call the builders right away, but think about what is in your bedroom and the energy that’s giving out. Do you need to keep your utility bills in a pile by the bed? Does the laundry basket have to be there, or can you move it to the bathroom or hallway?
Surround yourself with beautiful things and keep your work out of the bedroom.
Sort out your mattress
Invest in a really good quality mattress. The mattress companies say we should replace our mattresses every five to ten years. Well, they would say that wouldn’t they! I admit we have had our mattress for too long, but I am loathe to part with it. New mattresses are pricey and I am concerned that I’ll never be able to find one as comfortable as this.
I have however, invested in a luxurious deep-filled mattress cover, which envelopes us as we slip between the sheets. This is a really inexpensive way of rejuvenating a tired mattress.
Sort out your bedding
Pillows should be replaced as often as once a year apparently – who knew? I felt a bit dirty and disgusted when I found out. I think the pillows we were using were bought for us as a wedding present (that was a long time ago!). I immediately bought new ones. The old ones crawled away on their own.
Which led me to take a good long hard look at our knackered duvet cover with the hole in and all the buttons missing.
And then what do you know, the law of attraction does it’s thing and sends me an email from Christy, offering me the duvet cover and pillow cases of my choosing. OK then, don’t mind if I do.
Good god, I underestimated how different the bedroom would look and feel with the addition of good quality bedding. The art deco style of Christy’s Portico jacquard duvet cover complements everything in this room, from the colour of the walls, to the texture of the curtains.
But more than that, this now feels like a special, serene place.
Something as simple as changing our duvet cover has had a psychological impact. I am writing this at 11.30am, but already I’m looking forward to going to bed again tonight.
I hope these tips help you if you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep. Great things can happen at night, but you need to show your bedroom a bit of love first.
Please let me know how you get on, or if you have any other tips you’d like to share. Comment below. I always reply.
[Disclosure: heartfelt thanks to Christy for sending me the Portico duvet set and pillow cases. Not sponsored.]