Your bedroom

If you’re having difficulty sleeping one of the first things to look at is your bedroom. You need the right environment to get a good night’s sleep and that means a bedroom that’s pleasant, inviting and welcoming.  For more information visit our Perfect Sleep Environment micro-site at www.perfectsleepenvironment.org.uk 

• Keep your room completely dark, if necessary use blackout curtains or an eye mask.

• Make sure your room isn’t too hot or too cold, keep it slightly cool around 16-18°C (60-65°F).

• Keep clutter out of your room – put the laundry basket in the spare room, bathroom or the landing.

• Avoid having a television or computer in the bedroom.

• Turn off your mobile phone and anything with an LED display (including clocks).

• Don’t treat your bedroom as an extension of your living room or a study. Use it for sleeping and sex only.

• Adorn your bedroom with beautiful things such as photographs of loved ones, artwork that you like, plants and flowers. It will help you feel more connected to the room and look forward to going to bed.

• Try to avoid bright colours such as reds which are less restful and quite stimulating, and less conducive to a good nights’ sleep. Use muted and pastel colours, which are a lot more calming.

• Some smells can affect your mood, making you more relaxed and calm. Sprinkle a pot pourri with essential oils of lavender or geranium, though never use during pregnancy or in children’s rooms.

• Take a long hard look at your room and see what it says about you and understand that you have a duty to care for yourself, your sleep area and your general health and wellbeing – you’re worth it!

Your bed

The foundation of good sleep is a comfortable bed. The right mattress can make the difference between a restorative night’s sleep and poor quality sleep resulting in tiredness and fatigue. Lack of support from a mattress reinforces poor sleeping posture and can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

If you sleep better in a hotel or other bed away from home; or are waking up with aches and pains which wear off as the day progresses, it may be time to change your bed.

With the vast variety of beds on the market, choosing the right one can be difficult. It’s a good idea to do your homework so you understand more about all the different components you can find in a mattress (our Bed Buyers Guide provides more details about the all options available).

When you’re shopping for a new mattress or bed, consider these factors:-

• Always put value and quality over price. Of course, there are some perfectly acceptable, lower priced beds available but the better the construction, the better the support and comfort.

• The right support and comfort is critical – a mattress that’s too hard or too soft will be uncomfortable or become so as time goes by. It needs to be firm enough to support your spine in correct alignment – but must also conform to your body’s contours.

• Try before you buy: You should lie on each one you’re seriously considering for at least 10-15 minutes and try different positions (you move 40-60 times a night) to decide if it’s a good fit. If two people will be sleeping on the mattress, both should test it at the same time to make sure they have enough space and are both comfortable on the same style of mattress.

Try not to wait until your bed has ‘worn out’ completely. Research has shown that sleeping on an uncomfortable bed could rob you of up to an hour’s sleep a night. Deterioration is gradual and mostly invisible and your own body’s needs also change over time. As a rough guide, you should be thinking about replacing your bed after about seven years.

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