Street lamps can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle because melatonin, the hormone that helps govern sleep, responds to light and darkness. The darker your room is, the better you are going to sleep so install room-darkening shades or black-out curtains. A cheaper fix? A good pair of eye shades.
Fresh outdoor air is essential for good health. So is purifying indoor air of dust, mold, pet dander and chemicals from household cleaners. Plus, if you have one or two people sleeping in a closed room for eight hours, it depletes the air of oxygen and increases carbon dioxide. Solution? Simply open up the windows for at least a couple of hours every day.
2. BEDSIDE TABLE
Did you know that a bedside table is one of the dirtiest places in the house? Disinfect yours at least once a week!
Clear the clutter. Love reaching out for a book at night? Instead of having piles everywhere, keep one or two tomes next to your bed and store the rest on a book shelf.
Hard-to-reach spaces like under the bed are prime breeding grounds for dust mites and moth eggs. Counter by vacuuming all carpets once a week and go over bare floors with a barely damp mop.
The average mattress only lasts about 10 years, yet most of us persevere with a tired, old one. The result? Uncomfortable sleep, achy muscles and insomnia.
Experts recommend a firm mattress to people who sleep on their back or stomach because they won’t end up sagging into the bed. People who tend to sleep on their side put most of their weight on smaller areas of the body, reducing circulation and causing increased tossing and turning. A softer mattress is more of an option here because it will minimise pressure and tension.
A typical foam mattress is high in chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin. That’s why dermatologists and doctors prefer mattresses made of organic cotton, pure grown wool or natural rubber. Or place a barrier cloth over your existing mattress – it will give you a layer of natural fibers next to your skin.
And remember: mattresses are breeding grounds for dust mites, which can trigger asthma and allergies. Vacuum it twice a year with the furry upholstery attachment.
Look for 100 percent natural fibers – ideally organic cotton or hemp. To avoid chemically treated linens, make sure your purchases aren’t labeled “permanent press”. Wash your sheets every fortnight (every week if you’re a couple) at 60 degrees C to kill bacteria and dust mites.
Skip the perfumed detergents, which contain anywhere up to a few hundred chemicals.
Your nose is right there breathing in fumes from the foam so replace your current pillow with an organic cotton or wool version.
Pillowcases catch everything – hair, moisturiser, sweat, saliva, dead skin cells, dandruff. Ewwww! Wash weekly or risk chronic zits and skin infections.
The pillows themselves need to be washed at least once a year. Check how clean yours is by layering it over your arm. If it lies straight and crisp, it’s clean. If it dips, it’s dirty.
Install dimmers and make sure that no source of light is more than 40 watts during the time you’re winding down.
For nighttime readers, book lights are essential. You don’t want a bright light from a lamp on your head as that will prevent you from falling asleep.
Similarly, if you switch on the light to find the toilet, you’ve just told your brain it’s morning! Install a couple of night lights instead.
Bedrooms should be painted in calm hues, so you can walk into them and relax. Some good options: pastels such as lavender, beige or off-white, or in muted flesh tones like cream, taupe and rose.
Whatever hue you choose, make it non-toxic. Many paints contain volatile organic compounds (VCOs), which may continue to release hazardous fumes for years.
Television picture tubes, wireless Internet connections, electrical wiring, and cellphones emit electromagnetic fields that may contribute to frequent waking, aches and muscle spasms. To reduce your load, remove electric cords and devices from the bedroom – or at least from within 8 to 10 feet of the bed – and disconnect the Wi-Fi.
Don’t put up too many pictures and avoid art with violent or chaotic imagery as the first thing you see when you wake up will set the mood for the day.
Add an aromatherapy diffuser with a few drops of calming essential oil like neroli, rose or jasmine. Filling the air with a luscious yet subtle fragrance makes your bedroom spa-like.