Reclaim your bedroom and protect your sleep
Most people are aware that sleep is important, yet many people may need to work on getting a better night’s sleep. There are many tricks you can use – starting with looking at what you have on your bedside table.
Researchers agree that sleep is vitally important for our health. A good night’s sleep helps you tackle all the challenges of everyday life and works wonders for your mood. It is simply easier to deal with stress when the brain, with the help of sleep, has been able to sort out the day’s impressions and tidy away the old thoughts before encountering a new day.
We can’t completely avoid stressful situations that affect our rest, but there are some tricks to help you get a good night’s sleep. Here’s how to reconquer your bedroom and protect your sleep:
Create a room to long for
The bedroom should be a place where you give yourself the opportunity for recovery. Make the bed with crispy duvet covers, stretch the bottom sheet so that it is smooth and puff up the pillows properly. Bring out a couple of books that will make you look forward to the evening reading and open the window for a while for fresh air before you go to bed. It is easier to fall asleep in a room that is cool.
Create bedtime routines
See sleep as a process to approach in several steps. A first step may be to put your cell phone in another room. Sleep research shows that the blue light from digital screens can prevent the secretion of melatonin, which is the hormone that helps make the body sleep. With a mobile phone by your bed, you have more risk of waking up to check your email or social media feed. Investing in a good alarm clock, instead of letting your cell phone wake you up in the morning, can be a first step to better sleep quality. The fact that a well-designed clock is also beautiful to look at can be a positive side effect.
Digital free bedroom
When the mobile phone has been banned from your bedroom in favour of an alarm clock, and you are not immediately met by news and messages when you wake up, you have more chance of having a calmer start to your day. By placing a beautiful notebook and a pen that is comfortable to hold on the bedside table, you can relieve your brain when your thoughts start to spin. Getting into the habit of writing down something about the past day – what you are grateful for and what you want help with for tomorrow – can help you to be calmer.
These simple steps will help you increase the likelihood of quiet nights of undisturbed sleep, helping you achieve that essential and beneficial rest and recovery time.
The wonders of a good night’s sleep
Most people agree that sleep is vitally important. But why? Here’s what researchers’ say about the importance of prioritising a good night’s sleep – and what happens when your sleep is disturbed.
The importance of sleep
When Swedish psychiatrist Anders Hansen did his summer radio show this year, he stated that what people need to feel good is exercise, social relationships and sleep. And because the human brain is still largely geared to a life of constant danger out on the savanna, a cell phone in the bedroom can ruin sleep through its constant demands for attention. Anders Hansen himself says that he has banished his mobile phone from the bedroom and invested in an alarm clock so he can sleep soundly.
Sleep is necessary for our bodies and brains to rest and recover. Sweden’s 1177 Vårdguiden health website says that during sleep the immune systems of the body are activated and important hormones are formed, while the production of stress hormones decreases. Getting enough sleep reduces the risk of high blood fat levels, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, depression and fatigue syndrome. Because sleep deprivation also affects the brain’s centre of satisfaction and hunger, prioritising a good night’s sleep can be a way to keep a stable weight.
Lack of sleep can cause brain damage
A single night of poor sleep is not dangerous, but a lack of sleep or disturbed sleep over a long period can be detrimental to your health. According to Christian Benedict, a researcher at the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University, memory can be impaired by an extended period of poor sleep, and in the long term, it increases the risk of developing brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. There are also risks associated with shorter-term sleep disorders, according to research by Torbjörn Åkerstedt, professor of psychology at the department for Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet. Professor Åkerstedt’s experiments have found that when we are really sleepy, we risk functioning just as badly as we do under the influence of alcohol, which can be a significant risk factor when driving or operating machinery.
Remove digital screens from your bedroom
One of sleep researchers’ main recommendations is to remove digital screens from your bedroom, not only because it is easy to get caught up in eternal scrolling on your mobile, but also because the bluish light that the screen emits interferes with the formation of the sleep hormone melatonin. A study by researcher Anne-Marie Chang at Harvard Medical School showed that people who read books on tablets or other screens found it more difficult to fall asleep and had poorer rapid eye movement (REM) ‘dream’ sleep than people who read a traditional book. So, there are many good reasons to follow Dr Anders Hansen’s advice to ban the mobile phone from your bedroom, in favour of an alarm clock.
Five tips for better sleep
Exercise. It reduces stress and makes you sleep better, but make sure not to train hard later than three hours before going to bed.
Create regular routines for when you go to bed, preferably at the same time every night.
Avoid coffee and alcohol before going to bed. Drinking a cup of herbal tea can be soothing, but make sure that the cup is not too large or there is a risk that a full bladder will disturb your sleep.
If you have difficulty falling asleep or keep waking up in the middle of the night, it is better to get up for a while and do some quiet activity than to toss and turn in bed. You can do relaxation exercises to become sleepy again.
Make sure the bedroom is a place where you can relax. Do not have a TV, mobile or tablet in the bedroom and turn them off well before you go to sleep. Get an alarm clock instead of using the cell phone alarm.