Raise your hand if you can relate to this: The alarm clock goes off at 7 in the morning, you hurl it across the bedroom, and close your eyes for what feels like five minutes. You open them again, and it’s 7:45! Later, when you’re at work and it’s 2:30, you close your eyes for what feels like 5 minutes. You open them again…and it’s 2:31.
It’s true that time can play tricks on us, and the tricks are sometimes cruel. When it comes to getting the right amount of sleep, however, nothing but enough will do the trick.
How much is enough? According to the National Sleep Foundation, 7 to 9 hours is the ideal sleeping window for guys between the ages of 26 and 65. Get enough sleep, and everything in life feels easier and better. Get less than 7 hours, however, and you may well feel tired and cranky. Plus, there can be some serious health consequences to consistent sleep shortages.
There’s more to healthy sleep than quantity, however. Loud noises, bright lights, glowing electronics and excess heat in your bedroom can affect the quality of your snooze time, making it less restful and revitalizing than it should be.
Thankfully, it’s easy to turn your bedroom into a place where sleep quality and quantity come together naturally. Here’s how to create a sleep sanctuary of your own:
The bedroom should be a sanctuary for sleep and sex. If you can, ban the TV, smartphone and computer, all of which are stimulating, and read a book or magazine instead. Otherwise, power down at least 30 minutes before bedtime so the stimulating effect has time to wear off.
Embrace white noise
The only exception to the no-phones rule is when you’re running a free white-noise app. These emit the steady, soothing sounds of things like oscillating fans, wind chimes and falling rain, which drown out jarring noises such as brawling raccoons or that neighbour who uses power tools after midnight. (Maybe HE should read this!)
Check out these apps to get started:
Keep it clean
The bedroom, not necessarily the sex. A tidy sleeping space helps induce slumber.
The bedroom, not necessarily the sex. It should be cooler than the rest of your home, about 15-18 degrees Celsius.
Let darkness reign
The human body is programmed to wake when it’s light and sleep when it’s night. Keep the bedroom dark and cover the bright lights of any electronics when you go to bed. Depending on where you live and the time of year, you may want to try leaving your curtains or blinds open, as the light of dawn can help make waking up feel better, too. Another option is to buy a wake-up light that mirrors your natural sleep cycle.
And while you’re at it, you might as well pick up one of those indestructible alarm clocks…
Are you trying to get more and better sleep? If so, we’ve got your back!
Download the free “How to Rule the Bedroom” ebook right now.
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.