The bedroom holds the key to a good night’s sleep

The bedroom holds the key to a good night's sleep

The bedroom holds the key to a good night's sleep.

Americans love their bedrooms and believe that comfort and cleanliness are fundamental to good sleep, according to new poll by the National Sleep Foundation.

Most people believe their bedrooms are important to good sleep, only about four in ten Americans (42 percent) are great sleepers, because they say they get a good night’s sleep every night, or almost every night.

A major difference between a great sleeper and someone who only gets a good night’s sleep a few nights a week (or less), is how much time they report sleeping. Great sleepers say they sleep on average about an hour longer than other groups.

On weekdays, great sleepers say they sleep an average of seven hours and nine minutes compared to an average sleep time of six hours and two minutes for those who report getting good sleep less often. Even on weekends, great sleepers say they get more sleep, sleeping for an average of seven hours and 41 minutes versus the other group’s six hours and 52 minutes average.

“Love your bedroom and make it the best place you can,” says David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation, “but at the end of the day, it’s crucial to give yourself enough time to wind down and get the seven to nine hours of sleep that most people need to feel their healthiest and best.”

Americans Love Their Bedrooms
The vast majority of Americans, more than nine out of ten, say that mattresses and pillows are important to getting a good night’s sleep, and more than three-quarters of Americans also believe that the comfortable feel of sheets and bedding are important.

Also high on the list were cool temperature, clean air free of allergens, and a dark, quiet and clean bedroom. At least two-thirds of Americans believe these also play an important role in getting good sleep.

“We spend a third of lives in our bedrooms, so make it a sanctuary for your sleep,” says Cloud. “Comfort, fresh air, quietness and cool temperature are the basic building blocks for creating the best sleep environment.”

Simple Indulgences Make a Difference
Simple indulgences can also make a difference in how you feel about sleep. The poll showed that simple things like a fresh scent to your sheets or making your bed each day can impact how you feel about going to bed or even how you sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation Bedroom Poll, more than three-fourths of Americans (78%) say that they are more excited to go to bed on sheets with a fresh scent. About seven in ten Americans (71%) say they get a more comfortable night’s sleep on sheets with a fresh scent.

Our parents were right when they told us to make our beds. Poll respondents who say they make their bed every day are 19% more likely to say they get a good night’s sleep every night than those who don’t.

“The good news is taking special care to make your bedroom pleasing to you, like fresh smelling bedding, can make a difference,” says Cloud.

National Sleep Foundation Advice for Good Sleep
Set and stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day.

Expose yourself to bright light in the morning, and avoid it at night. Exposure to bright morning light energizes us and prepares us for a productive day. Many find it helpful in overcoming the winter “doldrums” that come with getting up in the dark. Alternatively, avoid exposure to bright light late at night. Dim your lights when it’s close to bedtime, and put night lights in your halls and bathroom for nighttime awakenings.

Exercise regularly. Exercise in the morning can help you get the light exposure you need to set your biological clock. Avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, if you are having problems sleeping.

Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Allow enough time to wind down and relax before going to bed.

Create a cool, comfortable sleeping environment that is free of distractions.

Treat your bed as your sanctuary from the stresses of the day. Use your bed for sleep only so you positively associate it with sleeping. If you find yourself still lying awake after 20 minutes or so, get up and do something relaxing in dim light until you are sleepy.

Keep a “worry book” next to your bed. If you wake up because of worries, write them down with an action plan, and forget about them until morning.

Avoid caffeinated beverages, chocolate and tobacco at night.

Avoid large meals and beverages right before bedtime.

No nightcaps. Drinking alcohol before bed can rob you of the deep sleep and dreaming you need, and it can cause you to wake up too early.

Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medications might be contributing to your sleep problem.

No late-afternoon or evening naps, unless you work nights. If you must nap, keep it under 45 minutes and before 3:00 p.m.

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Image by yanivba via Flickr

Authored by: Richard Lee

Richard has been traveling since he took a year off from college, where he was doing a BA in Journalism. He traveled half the world, backpacking with his girlfriend (now his wife). They spent time in South America, Asia, Greece and much of Europe. After writing about his experiences for several airline and travel magazines, he never went back to college.