How to Sleep Well - Create the Ideal Sleep Environment

If you're not sleeping well at night, your mattress or your bedroom could be to blame. Your sleep environment plays a significant role in the quality and quantity of rest you get.

According to a survey of 1,000 adults, conducted by the Bruskin/Goldring Research for the Better Sleep Council, at least 26 percent of the population report that their sleep is frequently sabotaged by environmental factors in the bedroom—it could be light, noise, temperature, or an uncomfortable mattress. The findings also reveal that while consumers have a high awareness of the relationship between their sleep environment and their quality of sleep, a substantial number suffer from disturbed sleep caused by conditions that can easily be corrected.

For the health of an individual, they should be corrected.

The Consequences of Poor Sleep

The implications of poor sleep reach far beyond daytime weariness, according to sleep experts. Without restorative sleep, people experience higher stress, shortened tempers, lower motivation, slower reflexes, and make more mistakes. Sleep also gives our brains time to consolidate the day's experiences into memory and improves the ability to learn. Plus, during sleep, the body replaces old cells with new ones and reenergizes organs and muscles.

Too many people are not getting the sleep they need. More than one-third of survey respondents said that room temperature and noise level frequently disrupt their sleep, at 37 percent and 34 percent respectively. Sleep experts at the Better Sleep Council offer some helpful recommendations for creating a sleep environment that is conducive to sleep.

How to Create a Better Sleep Environment

  • If noise is a problem, consider using earplugs or a white noise machine. Sudden, loud noises from outside or inside the home can result in fragmented sleep. Recent research published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills found that noise from passing traffic can make sleep shallower, or even cause the sleeper to awaken.
  • If outside light makes your room too bright, try an eye mask or window coverings that darken the bedroom. Light is indeed a powerful cue that can reset the body's circadian rhythm and tell it to wake up. According to a study published in Nature, exposure to even moderate levels of light at night —such as regular household artificial light—can throw off the body's internal clock and cause a state similar to jet lag.
  • If you're too hot or too cold, simply adjust the thermostat. People sleep best at a temperature where they don't expend energy either shivering due to cold or sweating due to excess warmth. The optimal temperature for sleep is between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If your mattress makes you toss and turn, consider a new sleep set that may provide the comfort and support you need for a good night's sleep. Over 1 in 4 survey respondents said the condition of their mattress regularly bothered their sleep. A mattress that's past its prime can cause sleepers to toss and turn all night, with their muscles working overtime to support their bodies. For the one in four who links frequent sleep disturbances to the condition of their mattress, the Better Sleep Council recommends conducting a "rest test" by visiting a local mattress retailer and comparing the comfort of the mattresses at the store to their sleep set at home.

Source: The Better Sleep Council, a non-profit organization supported by the mattress industry, is devoted to educating the public about the importance of sleep to good health and quality of life, and about the value of the sleep system and sleep environment in pursuit of a good night's sleep.