A good night’s sleep is more than just eight hours of shut eye
Structuring your room correctly and adding or eliminating certain elements can make the difference between waking up rejuvenated or still feeling worn out the next morning. Your body does most of its repairing while you’re asleep, so an effective night’s rest is beneficial to your health.
8 steps to enjoying the best sleep of your life
1. Bamboo bedding
To keep cool and comfortable throughout the year, bamboo bedding’s your best bet. This organically made linen has become popular over the last few years not just because it’s eco-friendly – it’s also comfortable and feels even softer than cotton. It’s more breathable and doesn’t trap excess heat under the covers, so you’ll enjoy a cool and comfortable temperature throughout the night. With bamboo
bedding you’re less likely to have allergies as it’s naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial, plus it reduces the amount of moisture in the bed, which discourages dust mites, one of the primary triggers of allergies.
2. Comfortable mattress
Your bed is one of the most essential components of a restful and relaxing
sleep. Depending on your individual needs, there’s a variety of mattresses available to suit your natural sleeping posture. The memory foam mattress, for example, is excellent for relieving ailments such as back pain and arthritis. It’s also good for light sleepers as the mattress has a low motion transfer, meaning it absorbs or dissipates motion energy, so you won’t be disturbed by your partner’s movements during the night.
3. Less light
The right lighting in your bedroom is essential. While most people have different preferences on how much light they can handle at night, darkness is best for a complete shutdown of the senses. Too much light suppresses the body’s production of melatonin (the hormone that regulates your sleep/wake
cycle), making it difficult to fall asleep. Try black-out blinds and curtains.
4. Ditch the devices
Reduce distractions and noise-causing elements for absolute tranquillity. The light from the screens of electronic devices such as TVs, laptops and cellphones stimulates your brain and disrupts the melatonin needed for the body to sleep. Make sure you stop being active on electronic screens at least an hour before bed. So that means no more last-minute scrolling through Facebook!
5. Decorative elements
The decor in your room can have an impact on your mood. Colours such as soft pastels or watercolours rather than dramatically bright or dark hues create a more serene environment. You can also include nature paintings such as oceans, waterfalls, mountains and forests.
6. Room temperature
A cool and consistent room temperature contributes to a good night’s sleep. Too much heat can raise the body’s natural temperature and make you irritable, disturbing your snooze.
7. Clear out the clutter
If you have a desk in your room that you work from, chances are it’s piled high with paperwork and bills. Consider moving the desk into another room, as seeing all that clutter just before
going to sleep will remind you of the bills you still need to pay, causing unnecessary stress and making it difficult to fall asleep. Other quick ways to clear the clutter include making the bed in the morning, and packing away clothes, shoes and gym bags that might be lying around the room.
8. Make Scents
Lavender essential oil is known for its calming, sleep-inducing properties, wonderful for
ensuring a good night’s rest. Rub 2-3 drops in your palms, and on wrists, temples and feet for an immediate calming effect on the body. You can also sprinkle a few drops on a tissue and place it under
your pillow, or use an essential oil diffuser.
- Use a sleep mask.
- Create white noise with a fan or air conditioner.
- Clear all the clutter (paperwork, bills) out of your room.
- Invest in quality pillows with good neck support.
- Place a soft and snuggly rug next to your bed.
Did you know?
Apart from the normal side effects, such as waking up cranky, daytime fatigue and not generally looking your best, not getting enough sleep in your life can have negative effects on your health:
- Chronic sleep deprivation can put you at risk for illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure and even heart attack and heart failure.
- Lack of sleep can lead to your skin ageing faster, resulting in a lacklustre and dull appearance, dark circles and fine lines under the eyes.
- Weight gain is also a side effect as sleep affects two hormones – leptin, which tells your brain you’re full, and ghrelin, an appetite stimulant. Without adequate sleep, leptin levels are reduced and ghrelin is increased, which could explain midnight snacking.
FEATURE: NOLWAZI DHLAMINI PHOTOS: FOTOLIA.COM