10 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep, Starting Tonight!
Alright, in our last blog we hopefully got your attention about how important a good nights sleep can be! It can affect your decision making, health and safety!
This week we get to the good news! You can take some simple actions tonight to be on your way to feeling more rested, energized and creative!
SLEEP TIP #1- Design your way to slumber
Since we are, after all, a design firm, we wanted to make sure we talked about the importance of designing a better night sleep….
Since we all know the importance of color on the brain, try calming things down with a dusty aplomb. This gray based purple is perfect for slumber as it has a lovely warm undertone that supports sleeping (and the only other thing you should be doing in your bedroom!)
Try a few of these calming seductive tones in your master to bring out the inner sleeping child
SLEEP TIP #2- Cool things down
The optimal sleeping temps are between 64-68 degrees. Plan on lowering your thermostat a few hours before to make sure you are at just the right temp for bedtime. Many people find sleeping with the window cracked (even in the winter) is just enough to keep the body cool and even remove CO2 build up in the air.
SLEEP TIP #3- Some more ways to stay cool
You have been told the best way to get a good nights sleep is to take a warm bath before bed to relax you, and that is partially right. A warm bath, especially with Lavender essential oils or bath salts will definitely relax and sooth your body. However, you need to get you body temp down for optimal sleeping, so plan on taking that relaxing spa bath a few hours before bed so you have the time to cool down.
Another awesome way to cool it down for sleeping is cooling sheets. Sheets made of bamboo, eucalyptus, or Tencel have natural cooling properties that help keep you at your optimal body temp while resting. We love West Elm’s sheets or Bed Bath and Beyond’s eucalyptus/tencel sheets. For a special added bonus, at our house we pair the eucalyptus sheets with a Buffy comforter. Heavenly!
SLEEP TIP #4- Park the electronics at the door
You have been told a million times not to have the TV in your room. So guess what? It’s not cool to switch it out for the ipad, cell phone or laptop. It’s hard to disconnect, but beyond the electromagnetic rays floating around your room, your brain needs time to unwind and relax. If you can’t get rid of that phone (your favorite alarm sound is on that thing?), at least try to put it across the room away from your body. Secondly try eliminating the blue light from your evening about 2 hours before bed. I swear by my Swannies.
SLEEP TIP #5- Who’s afraid of the dark?
Making things as dark as possible in your room gives you the best chance of falling asleep and staying asleep. Studies have shown that even the small lights from your electronics can keep you out of the much needed deeper sleep of REM. Moonlight is alright, but it’s a good idea to cover up everything else and use blackout shades if you are a city dweller. I am a big fan of sleep masks. The Ley Me 3D mask was a game changer for me the very first night!
SLEEP TIP #6- Early to bed
Studies have shown that your best and most restorative sleep happens between 10-12 pm. For most of us we go to bed with our best sleep already behind us! It takes a little getting used to, but try to shoot for 15 minutes earlier each night to get to as close to that 10:00 pm as you can.
SLEEP TIP #7- Early to rise
It also turns out that those early morning rays from the rising sun in the east are equally important. Getting up with the sun isn’t just for the birds. It resets your all important Circadian Rhythm allowing your body to naturally ebb and flow. Studies have shown that over the counter Melatonin should really be used as a short term solution for jet lag and the occasional sleepless night. Long term we want our natural rhythm to be in sync.
SLEEP TIP #8- Work it out
You know that feeling. Your head hits the pillow and you are exhausted, but your body isn’t tired, only your brain. A tired body is a good body. Again, getting your workout in in the morning allows for your body to make the necessary adjustments during the day. Bonus points for working out outdoors in the morning! Researchers found that the next most effective time was early afternoon, followed by evening workouts (still better than now workout at all). Studies showed that more vigorous aerobic workouts were better during the morning and slower workouts such a Tai Chi or yoga were better suited for evening (Note: if you are a hot yoga kind of person, get that in in the morning!). Exercise helps with stress levels, which also helps you get a more restful sleep.
SLEEP TIP #9- Meditate on it
Meditation/Mindfulness has been around for thousands of years, but it has now become so mainstream that most primary care physicians will ask if it is a part of their patients regular routine. You know there is going to be stress and you know the affects of stress. Studies have shown that just 10 minutes of mindful meditation and conscious breathing can make a radical difference in health outcomes. And we are talking about easy, meet you where you are at kind of meditation. A few of my favorite apps are Tamara Levitt’s Calm and Andy Puddicombe’s Headspace. They both offer easy to follow, informative and relaxing guided meditations. Calm offers an array of helpful exercises as well as my all time favorite…sleep stories. So easy and really life changing!
SLEEP TIP #10- Go outside and play
I love when cultures have words to describe an entire activity… Ullassa is Sanskrit for feelings of pleasantness when surrounded by nature. Shinrin- Yoku is Japanese for bathing in the forest. Unfortunately, the impact that communing with nature has on us is usually only seen when we are deprived of it. We are confined to our cubical all day, or stuck in our commute for hours on end. It’s not until we go on vacation (if we are lucky) that we notice how little nature we have in our daily lives. But studies have shown that just 10-15 minutes outside amongst trees and forests has a profound effect on our body and our brain. If it’s too difficult to get outside during your workday, at least opt for a view of the outside and encourage your mind to wander. Even a screen saver of a beach can relax your prefrontal cortex. We are pretty easy creatures when it comes to nature!
So, what does all of this have to do with design? Good design isn’t just good to look at…it engages the senses, it rewards curiosity, and it seeks to promote the whole gestalt of the experience. And that experience starts from within. It starts with you.
Feel free to leave me your questions and suggestions and I wish you sweet dreams, tonight and every night!
In good health,