Everyone knows the importance of a good, balanced diet and exercise when it comes to our physical and mental health. Too often, though, the importance of sleep is ignored.
According to Kids Helpline, it can help you feel better, think more clearly and concentrate better. It helps with improving memory, lowering stress, and boosting brain power. And physically, your body is given the opportunity to repair your muscles and rest overnight.
According to the Sleep Health Foundation, adults need, on average, between seven and nine hours of restful sleep per night to feel properly refreshed so they can function at their best the next day.
Fact of the matter is though, many Australians aren’t getting enough sleep. According to The Australia Talks National Survey 2021, about one third of Aussies over the age of 18 are getting less than the minimum recommended amount of sleep.
People are even going so far as to call it the ‘national sleep deprivation’. And often, our sleep environments are one of the primary causes.
Creating the best environment for a restful night
First things first, let’s talk about routine. Setting up a good sleep routine is key to falling asleep quickly and getting a restful sleep.
Try to get into your bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.
Just before you go to sleep, stay away from screens (including television) and find something that works to help you calm down, whether that’s meditation or reading a book.
It can also be a nice idea to have something warm to drink before you go to sleep as it helps calm your body. Some warm milk or chamomile tea works wonders.
When it comes to your mattress, invest in a good quality one that’s not too soft and not too hard.
Yes, it can be hard to find a compromise with a partner but it’s pretty important to find one that works.
The same goes for the temperature. But investing in good quality quilts and bed sheets can help your body regulate its temperature.
And regarding noise, if you can’t control the noises around – neighbours, animals and traffic – it may be time to grab a good pair of headphones or pop on some white noise to drown out the outside.
Darkness is key
Our bodies interpret the amount of light coming into our rooms as indicators for sleep. Darkness is essential to sleep. It’s why, for parents, it’s critical to teach newborns that daytime is for waking and nighttime is for sleep.
The absence of light sends a message to our brains to create melatonin (the ‘sleep hormone’) telling us that it’s time to wind down and get some rest.
Light coming into a bedroom can either wake our bodies at the incorrect time – meaning, a bit too early as the sun rises – or tell our bodies that it’s not time to sleep yet.
Blockout blinds and curtains can be a very practical way to ensure your room is dark. These can either be installed outside or inside. And for those who are concerned about the aesthetics, they can be paired with some lovely sheer flowing curtains to create a beautiful, heavenly feel to your room, without compromising on sleep quality.
Seems like a win/win really.