If you’ve spent any time at all watching TV in the past several years you know one thing, Americans don’t sleep well and big pharma has plenty of little pills for that!
Rather than turn to medication, why not try preventing the cause of the problem in the first place?
I look at the bedroom as the place where one should be getting a restful night of sleep, but also the place where our bodies replenish themselves, heal and fight off illness. As a building biologist, I look for culprits in the bedroom that can prevent your body from doing just that! Much of this work involves taking measurements with sophisticated equipment, but there are some quick and free actions you can take right now to improve your sleep quality by tweaking your bedroom!
1) Reduce the amount of light entering your sleeping environment. Do you have bright flood lights shining into your windows? The bright blue glow of an LED display? Exposure to light at night adversely affects your circadian rhythm, so remove or cover any light sources. Before you go about buying black out shades, experiment with what you’ve already got on hand. Remove or turn off glowing electronics and use tape to cover bright lights on security systems. Turn your flood lights OFF before going to bed.
2) Remove plug-in alarm clocks from right next to the bed. Electric alarm clocks generate AC magnetic fields and can disturb your sleep. Move them several feet away from the bed or replace them with battery operated versions. Likewise, cell phones should be placed in airplane mode, turned off or placed away from the bed.
3) In the same effort to reduce your exposure to AC magnetic fields while sleeping, make sure there are no major appliances or utility boxes on the other side of the wall from where you lay your head at night. Refrigerators are common culprits!
4) To stay warm at night, use blankets rather than your thermostat. Keeping the heat turned up will dry your already dry winter air further, to the grand discomfort of your respiratory system. You should be turning your heat down at night rather than up or keeping it at the same temp. What temperature you decide on will depend on your comfort level and if you sleep alone or not.
5) What mental distractions do you see when you lie in bed? Is there a TV right across from you? A mirror? A stack of unpaid bills or photos that make your mind wander? Experiment with purging your bedroom of distractions. You might be surprised at how your sleep quality improves!
And with that…Bonne nuit! Sweet dreams…