Get your bedroom ready for sleep
Transform your room into a cosy haven this autumn and set the scene for perfect sleep
Ah, the bliss of sinking into a comfy, cosy bed at the end of a long day! How frustrating, though, if you find yourself still awake hours later, wrestling with the covers or, worse still, your mind. There’s no doubting that life suddenly seems busy again, so if you’re finding that it’s affecting your sleep patterns, why not try a few adjustments to help you to rest easier?
Set the scene before you hit the covers with a good wind-down routine. It doesn’t have to be lengthy but it should be consistent. Some find a hot bath relaxing or perhaps a drink of sleepy herbal tea. Popular advice suggests avoiding caffeine after 3pm and ditching fast-paced exercise late in the evening – the same goes for working late. One of the easy wins is to turn off all digital devices 30 minutes before bedtime. It’s not just the blue light of the screen that plays havoc with your body clock, but over-stimulation will keep your mind whirring when really you want to be powering down.
Not all tech is a nuisance. If you get especially hot at night due to factors such as the menopause or you suffer from allergies, a super quiet electric fan or an air purifier can really help maintain good air quality.
A sleep app or a mindfulness app like Headspace can help slow the pace at bedtime. If you find yourself waking from deep sleep with a jolt when the alarm goes off the next morning, a digital bodyclock such as the best-selling Lumie can help bring you round more gently.
‘Lumie wake-up lights mimic sunrise to wake you naturally which sets you up to feel energised and refreshed for the day,’ explains Molly Baker, Assistant Buyer & Partner, Lighting. ‘Some models can also prepare your body for sleep using a specific warm light sunset mode. They have been clinically proven to improve the quality of sleep and awakening as well as boosting mood and energy.’
Not too hot, not too cold…
The ideal temperature for sleep is 16-18° C and it’s a good idea to keep your bedroom well-ventilated even in winter. Too much clutter can hinder air flow so streamline things and make sure you have enough storage, large and small. If you are short on space, a storage bed or ottoman can be a great solution.
Modern technology in bedding can also help even out the rises and dips in temperature – our 37.5® Technology temperature-regulating duvets and pillows help keep the microclimate next to your skin just right. They work for both hot sleepers and cold sleepers, so it can be very useful if you and your partner are one of each.
Our body clocks are designed to respond to changes in natural light but light pollution often overrides that, especially in cities. A blackout blind is effective against the glare of streetlights and can help shift workers turn day to night. ‘If you’re using a roller blind, fix it inside the window recess if possible then re-roll the blind so the fabric runs behind the top tube and as close to the window as possible,’ says Kerry Nicholls Partner & Buyer, Window Decor & Fabrics. Prefer something dressier? Team with curtains or a softer Roman blind for boutique hotel-style window dressing.
Bedroom lighting should also be layered to deliver bright light for getting ready in the morning, but something more relaxing at night. ‘Most rooms will have a central pendant that can be fitted with a dimmable light and bulb – perhaps a smart Philips Hue or Hive one – to help the evening wind down,’ says July Lin, Partner & Lighting Designer. A secondary light source from lamps on a bedside table or wall lights next to the bed will provide softer lighting as well as light to read by. Plug-in wall lights are an easy way to get a tailored lighting scheme without the upheaval of rewiring.
And so to bed
Once you climb into bed, you want to be comfortable. The average mattress is designed to last seven years so think about updating if yours is past its best – our useful feature on How to Choose the Right Mattress can help navigate the large choice.
Bedding also plays a big part. We have duvets and pillows to suit all kinds of sleepers from allergy sufferers to those dealing with aches and pains – our What Kind of Sleeper Are You? feature can help pinpoint your needs.
You will also find pillows in store to suit different sleeping positions from low-profiles for front sleepers to contoured memory foam for side sleepers. Getting the right pillow can radically improve comfort levels. ‘The height of the pillow should help your spine to remain straight when you sleep, so you don’t wake up feeling achy,’ says Unna Patel, Partner & Buyer, Bedding. ‘I’m a front sleeper and my sleep has improved vastly since finding my perfect pillow.’ Find a pillow to suit you using our Duvets & Pillows buying guide.
If you find anxiety keeps you awake, a few little extras can be soothing. Weighted blankets have become popular in recent years, and are designed to promote a greater sense of security. Choose a blanket close to 10% of your body weight.
A relaxing room scent in a diffuser can be very beneficial as can a pillow spray or calming music. Each of us will have our own ways of letting go of the day’s worries, whether that’s breathing exercises, yoga or a good book. On nights when nothing seems to help, take the advice of Professor Colin Espie from the Mental Health Foundation. ‘Don’t just lie there worrying,’ he says. ‘Get up for a few minutes and fetch a drink – no sugar or caffeine, though – and go back to bed when you’re feeling a bit sleepier.’