Most references consider the ideal sleep environment to be cool, dark, and quiet. Sometimes that’s not enough; many of us occasionally experience nights where we lie in bed for hours staring at the ceiling, wishing the Sandman would make an appearance. Fortunately, there are elements that we can add to our boudoirs to help with those sleepless nights and send us off to dreamland until morning.
Typically the first step on our quest for the ideal sleeping environment begins with bedding, which can encompass anything from the mattress to the duvet and the sheets in between. The idyllic bedroom should aim to minimize disturbing sensations to put the active imagination to rest. Linens that don’t easily wrinkle can ensure that you can settle between the sheets without the distraction of kicking out the bumps. Thread count is something to consider as well.
Sleep experts have also advised about sleeping in a cool environment and dark room. There is nothing like crawling beneath warm, cozy blankets amidst slightly crisp pillows. Installing blackout curtains can not only help block bright light, especially in the mornings, but also improve acoustics and atmosphere. Reminisce on the occasions when you’ve settled into a hotel room and draw the blinds for the evening. Usually there are two layers: a heavier blackout drape against the window, and a gentler, more visually appealing curtain as the room-facing layer. If you are in love with the window treatments already installed in your room, you likely don’t need to change them. Many blackout options are available that can easily be installed behind your existing curtains.
In addition to setting the visual atmosphere to a room, once you close your eyes, your sense of smell doesn’t turn off. Essential oils such as lavender and chamomile, and linen sprays can all contribute to a relaxing setting. Imagine counting sheep as you’re standing in the middle of a vast lavender field. Various essential oil recipes exist to mix your own linen sprays and treatments to achieve your favorite relaxing scents, or are available pre-mixed. Even when falling into an unfamiliar bed away from home, a small vial of essential oil dabbed onto your pulse points can provide additional comfort to help lull you to sleep.
For those that live in a college or camp dorm room, or have a child in college, the most ambitious of efforts cannot solve the issue of complete privacy. The finest dorm bedding, ideal temperature and light, and soothing scents can work only so well against loud roommates. Fortunately, some manufacturers have developed a privacy tent that can be installed around a standard twin bed that one can climb into and zip for visual solitude.
If you’re tech-minded, some have found success and efficiency in managing & optimizing their sleep time by using sleep apps on their smartphones. Various apps can measure sleep activity through the microphone, or by setting “sleep by” and “awake by” alarms, or even use meditation and breathing techniques that can be practiced before bedtime. The “awake by” alarms will accept a time range that you want to be woken up within and then trigger the alarm when you’re nearest consciousness to make the waking process as painless as possible.
No matter your budget or comfort level, there are options and solutions that can facilitate a better nights’ sleep. Experimenting with sight, sound, and touch improve your chances of a more restful slumber.