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Sleep isn’t a luxury, even though we’ve treated it that way for a long time. There is so much to do! Work! Chores! Plans with friends! Late night movie!
But your health and well being depend on sleep. When you’re well rested, you’re more creative, more productive, your relationships are better and you’re just plain happier.
The trouble is: we live in a go-go culture where sleep deprivation is celebrated. How many times have you heard a co-worker or fellow student brag they stayed up half the night working on a project? Like it’s a badge of honor? Also, in our hyper-connected 24-7 world, there’s always something amazing going on somewhere, tempting us and chipping away at the time we have to get regular good, deep sleep. Although it’s not always about choice: some people have to work night shifts and sleep during the day, which can really throw sleep patterns out of whack.
“Sleep is compromised in a huge swath of the population,” Lauren Hale, editor of Sleep Health, told Indow. “The public health community is recognizing that sleep needs to be included in a prescription for healthy living. It’s not just about eating right and exercising but also making time for sleep. Health professionals are starting to ask patients, “How much sleep are you getting?”
The first step is to recognize these powerful cultural forces and prioritize bedtime. The next is to create an environment conducive to deep uninterrupted slumber. Below are things you can do to make your bedroom a dreamy place to be:
Take a good look at your room and remove all unnecessary clutter: fold and put away laundry, shelve books etc… An organized space is calming and creates a more peaceful state of mind.
Clear your bedroom of all electronic devices like computers, cell phones and tablets. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that using a light-emitting electronic device before bed negatively affects sleep quality and circadian rhythms.
Take steps to quiet your space. Researchers are finding that people respond to noise pollution even when they’re asleep, which is contributing to cardiovascular disease.
If you can hear traffic, construction or conversations outside your window, consider dampening that noise by installing Indow window Acoustic Grade inserts. These inserts, handmade in Portland, Oregon, block outside noise coming through single-pane windows by 70 percent.
Also, today’s trending minimalist style with hardwood floors and exposed brick can help noise ricochet around a room so that early morning garbage truck sounds as if maybe it’s emptying your bedroom waste basket!
Use textiles like plush rugs, upholstered furniture and woven wall hangings to deaden sound. Consider hanging an acoustic art panel on your bedroom wall.
If you have bright street lights shining in your windows, or alternately, if you’re a shift worker who has to sleep during the day when the rest of the world is awake, consider installing Indow Sleep Panels, which block all light and 50 percent of sound coming through single-pane windows. They will turn your bedroom into an instant cave!
Finally, there are all kinds of ways to dial in your sleep. Is your mattress comfortable? A lumpy mattress can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep no matter how quiet and dark your room is. Make sure your bedroom is cool, around 65 degrees, and that you don’t have too many blankets on your bed. Also, just as kids do well with routine, so too do adults – at least when it comes to sleep. Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time, even on weekends. And think twice about winding down for bed by watching the flickering screen of a computer or TV since these emit a lot of blue light and that tricks our bodies into thinking it’s daytime. One way to get around this is to wear amber goggles before bed to block the blue light and prevent it from signalling your brain that it’s time to Wake Up! Or alternately, consider a calming activity like reading or meditating or coloring.
For more tips on getting a good night’s rest, check out the ebook The Sleep Miracle!