3 Steps to Creating an Optimal Sleep Environment
In our previous post, we covered the steps you can take during the day to ensure that your body is ready to sleep at night. Proper sleep preparation is a critical first step, but on its own it may not guarantee a restful night’s sleep.
That’s why it is important to set up your sleep environment to help you capitalize on your pre-sleep preparation. There are three key elements that make the biggest difference between a sound night of sleep and an uncomfortable night of interrupted slumber.
1. Select A Cool Temperature
Finding the right temperature is critical to getting high-quality sleep. Although we usually think of temperature in terms of comfort (which by itself can play a big role in quality sleep), the critical element here is actually body core temperature.
A lower core temperature sends sleep signals to the brain, while a higher core temperature can make it hard to achieve deep, restful sleep.
An ideal thermostat setting is generally between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, temperatures toward the lower end of that range can be a challenge on both your HVAC system and your wallet during our hot Tennessee summers.
If keeping your house that cool during the summer is a challenge, there are cooling pads and even cooling caps available that can compensate for a somewhat warmer room air temperature. A study with cooling caps found that even people with diagnosed insomnia were able to fall asleep normally as their core temperature dropped and slowed the over activity in the frontal lobes of their brain.
2. Eliminate Unhelpful Noise
Humans have a wide variety of tolerance to noise while sleeping. Some of us wake up at the slightest sound, while others sleep through thunderstorms, firetrucks and passing trains.
For most of us, the right balance of noise while sleeping is somewhere between the din of a busy city and the eeriness of complete silence.
Many commercially-available sleep noise machines and apps make use of white noise, which uses a variety of tones to block or mask other noises in the environment. One study showed white noise can improve sleep among those with insomnia by as much as 40%.
Other people prefer soothing music, sounds of nature, or repetitive background noise such as riding on a car, train or plane. Experiment with various noises to find what works best for you.
3. Get the Right Mattress
Having the right mattress for you can be the deciding factor between a great night’s sleep and one that leaves you tired and sore.
Mattress preferences are highly individualized, but generally getting one that is somewhere between very soft and very hard, is made of high quality materials, and is replaced at least once a decade is a good start.
Testing a mattress is not something to be rushed. Many people test a mattress for 60 seconds or less in the store that they will spend thousands of hours sleeping on over many years. Take your time. Don’t be afraid to spend a fair amount of time on each mattress you test, and remember to test each sleep position you use.
Some mattress companies offer in-home testing, which can give you an even more thorough decision-making process.
Sleep Issues? Try Our Take-Home Sleep Study
The best sleep preparation and environment cannot overcome sleep disorders like Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If you’re still feeling tired and not sleeping well, despite efforts to optimize your sleep preparation and environment, our take home sleep test is a great place to start in order to diagnose common sleep issues.
May is “Sleep Month” at Apple Healthcare. All month long we’ll be helping you learn how to get great sleep to enjoy great health! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or subscribe to our Newsletter for more information.
Want to learn more about the take-home sleep studies we offer or make an appointment? Give us a call at 865-524-1234!