Quality sleep is the unsung hero that plays a leading role in bolstering our immune system (1), supporting our physical health (2), enhancing cognitive performance (3), and positively influencing our mood and overall well-being (4). Despite sleep’s lead role, many of us end up starring in our own late-night dramas, failing to get a proper night of rest thanks to some sloppy sleep hygiene.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene encompasses the healthy habits, behaviours and environmental factors that help us obtain a restful night’s sleep. Our bedroom set-up is a crucial aspect of sleep hygiene and in this comprehensive guide to the ultimate bedroom makeover, we have gathered the best tips to help you sleep better, by transforming your bedroom into a true sleep sanctuary.
Melatonin is a calming hormone that prepares our body for sleep (5) and helps regulate our circadian rhythm: the internal body clock that helps regulate our sleeping pattern. Also known as the ‘hormone of darkness’, melatonin is produced in response to the onset of darkness. Exposure to light before bedtime suppresses melatonin production (6), interfering with our circadian rhythm, sleep quality and duration. Use black-out curtains to block out outdoor lights such as streetlights and disconnect any light-emitting devices in your bedroom including computers or TVs. Can’t easily make these changes? Fret not! A sleep mask can also be used to block out ambient lighting and help you drift off in darkness.
As well as light, our circadian rhythms are also tightly linked with our body temperature. The onset of sleep is associated with a drop in our core body temperature of about 1 – 2 °C (7) and sleeping in a cooler room may facilitate the onset of sleep. Scientists often quote an average bedroom temperature of 18.3 °C for optimal sleep, so if possible, give your thermostat a nudge towards this sweet spot. And for sweaty summer nights that turn your pillow into a puddle, be sure to use a fan or air conditioning to keep you cool.
Bedding and Mattress Mastery
Choosing the right bedding can also help set the scene for a peaceful slumber by helping control our body temperature. It goes without saying that a thinner duvet or cotton sheet may be best in summer, and a higher tog duvet will keep you comfy in winter. We would also recommend layering bedding, this way you can appropriately adjust your body temperature during the night by adding or removing layers. Go for bedding made from natural fibres such as cotton or linen as these are much more breathable and can help wick away moisture if you get too hot.
Although sheets are important, it’s what’s inside (or underneath) that really matters. Invest in comfortable and good-quality mattresses and pillows that support your sleeping style, whether you love to sink into memory foam or prefer firmer support. And if your mattress has seen over seven years of sleep, it might be time for an upgrade. Studies show that a newer mattress can elevate your sleep quality and bid farewell to nagging backaches (8).
Choose Calming Colours
Although you want your bedroom to be dark at night, a soothing colour palette with positive associations for your room can help you relax as you prepare for sleep. Research consistently finds the universal positive associations we hold with blues and greens, shades renowned for their stress-reducing properties. The ecological valence theory posits that this is because we like colours strongly associated with things we appreciate (9). For most of us, blue may promote relaxation due to its association with a serene body of water or a tranquil clear sky. If you used your lockdown boredom to make some questionable interior design choices, you are not alone. Take this as your sign to paint over those regrets and embrace a peaceful, cool-toned colour scheme that invites rest and relaxation into your nights.
Ever wondered why you sleep better in a hotel room? Hotel rooms are clean and clutter-free environments, making them perfect for relaxation. The good news is that you don’t need to book yourself into a luxury hotel for a restful night’s sleep, just ensure your sleep space is clean and tidy. Research shows that a cluttered home is linked to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol (10), affecting your ability to nod off. A dirty bedroom also attracts dust, dirt and allergens which can all interfere with your sleep quality. So, in the immortal words of many a parent to their teenager: tidy your room!
In this post-COVID era, many of us still work remotely from home. If this is the case, avoid working in your bedroom to establish the important boundary between work and relaxation. But if your bedroom has no choice but to double up as your office, don’t lose sleep over it. Make sure to clear the decks before bed, putting all your work equipment away so that it's out of sight and out of mind.
Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Whether it's gentle stretching, reading a book, or practising meditation, incorporating activities that signal to your body that it's time to wind down can help you fall asleep. Try taking a Leapfrog SNOOZE a couple of hours before bed to help create the perfect sleep environment. Powered by natural ingredients like Lactium® and Lactoferrin, SNOOZE is the perfect sleep supplement, designed to prepare your body for a peaceful slumber by promoting relaxation and calming an overactive mind.
Achieving better sleep is within your reach, and it starts with designing a bedroom that promotes relaxation and tranquility. By combining these design tips with additional habits to induce sleep, including Leapfrog SNOOZE, you can create the perfect environment for a restful night's sleep. You'll be able to sleep like a baby and wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day. Sweet dreams!