WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI
Not being able to get sufficient sleep isn’t just annoying. Beyond making you grouchy and causing you to yawn all day, it can threaten your immune system, impact your memory, and injure your back. There are a number of potential reasons for your sleeping issues, but your house probably isn’t helping. With a few fixes, you may be sleeping soundly in no time.
Clean your house
What? Yes, it turns out cleaning can have a positive impact on your sleep patterns. Not only will it make you tired with all that physical activity, but a messy house can give you anxiety, and anxiety can cause insomnia.
“Women who described their homes as ‘cluttered’ or full of ‘unfinished projects’ were more depressed, fatigued, and had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than women who felt their homes were ‘restful’ and ‘restorative,’ according to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,” said Shape.
Darken the room
That streetlight on the corner that allows light to shine through your windows isn’t doing you any favors when it comes to your slumber. “A darker room when trying to sleep is important for everyone, especially shift workers and younger children,” said Victor Shade. “For shift workers, especially if you work nights or irregular schedules, having the ability to control the amount of light coming into the home will help you get to sleep easier and prevent health issues like insomnia.”
But, for anyone with trouble getting to sleep, the right window coverings can make a big difference. Try changing them out to roller shades, roman shades, or honeycomb shades, or get blackout drapes that can block any sign of light when it’s bedtime.
The right noise
You’ve probably heard of white noise, but pink noise might be even better in helping you sleep.
“A small new study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience suggests that one easy way for older adults to get deeper sleep and stronger memories is to listen to a certain soothing sound called ‘pink noise’—a mix of high and low frequencies that sounds more balanced and natural than its better-known cousin, ‘white noise,'” said TIME. “It may sound strange, but previous studies have found that playing so-called pink noise during sleep improves the memory of younger adults,” too.
Want to get to sleep easier and doze all night long? It may be as easy as turning your thermostat down. “Dr. Christopher Winter, Medical Director at Charlottesville Neurology & Sleep Medicine, told simplemost that, “Your bedroom should be between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. Temperatures above 75 degrees and below 54 degrees can disrupt sleep. Over a 24-hour period, our body temperatures naturally peak and decline. When we fall asleep, our bodies naturally cool off. Helping keep your body get to that lower temperature faster can encourage deeper sleep.”
Another benefit: “It’s been shown that sleeping in temperatures between 60-68 degrees will allow your body to release more melatonin, one of our best anti-aging hormones.”
Control the stink
Dirty clothes in the corner, animal scents on the bed – they’re just the realities of everyday life. And they may be, quite literally, keeping you up at night. Bring in a known relaxing scent to change it up. “Not only does lavender smell lovely, but the aroma of this flowering herb may also relax your nerves, lower your blood pressure, and put you in a relaxed state,” said Huffington Post. “A 2005 study at Wesleyan University found that subjects who sniffed lavender oil for two minutes at three, 10-minute intervals before bedtime increased their amount of deep sleep and felt more vigorous in the morning.”
Change the layout
Are you paying any attention to the principles of Feng Shui? There are said to be 33 ways this practice can help you sleep, from choosing the right location for your bedroom to the placement of your bed,” said Feng Shui nexus.
If your mattress is just not comfortable, you’re having trouble getting to sleep, are tossing and turning during the night, and/or are waking up with a sore back on a regular basis, it may be time to go shopping! Experts recommend getting a new mattress every six to eight years. Keep in mind that many newer mattresses only have a pillowtop on one side, making them unflippable, but if your existing mattress is flat on both sides and or has pillowtop and bottom, flipping it every three months, as recommended, will help keep it in its best shape, which can help you sleep better.
Think about the 5,000 pounds of dead skin and bugs in your mattress
OK, maybe not quite that much. But the longer you’ve had your mattress, the more gross stuff is building up in it. “Old mattresses are filled with bed bugs and dust mites. These microscopic creatures eat the dead cells your body sheds. The process sounds gross, and it is,” said ELITE DAILY.
Sorry to get so graphic about dust mites, but, “Your bed is Disneyland for those little critters,” said Apartment Therapy. And, the allergies they can cause may be the reason you’re having trouble sleeping. If you’re still not ready to get a new bed, there are fixes to help keep the bugs at bay. “Vacuum your room with a HEPA filter and clean your bedding as often as you can – including your pillows, which you can throw in the dryer for 15 minutes to kill off any existing bugs,” they said. “Instead of scented detergent, use a few drops of eucalyptus oil in your laundry. Put hypoallergenic protective covers on your mattress and pillows.”
Get new bedding
While you’re examining your mattress, don’t overlook your bedding. If nothing else has helped your insomnia, the Gravity blanket might do the trick,” said Elle Décor. This blanker is weighted and “simulates the feeling of being hugged. The pressure in the blanket is evenly distributed to target specific pressure points throughout your body that have been shown to help relax the nervous system and raise serotonin production.”