Are you setting yourself up for a bad night’s sleep without even realising it?
Getting enough quality sleep is essential for maintaining overall health and wellbeing, yet during the pandemic, 46 per cent of Australians have experienced insomnia.
This means almost half of our population have been struggling with falling asleep, staying asleep, or both.
Insomnia can be caused by a range of factors including stress, too much caffeine before bed, and underlying conditions like sleep apnea, and it can leave you feeling exhausted and affects your mood, productivity, complexion and overall health.
And, according to sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo, there are some everyday bedroom behaviours that are also contributing to those sleepless nights.
Addressing these issues can support you to get a better quality of sleep and feel refreshed, productive and glowing.
1. Avoid using your bedroom as an office
Many of us have lively been working from home at some point over the past two years. And for some, the bedroom has also become the office.
Olivia, who is an ambassador for Edible Beauty Australia, explains why this is a no-no for healthy sleep.
"It’s so incredibly important to associate your bedroom as the place you go to sleep, not the place to work," she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
"If you start to blend the two your mental associates get complicated too, meaning you’ll be thinking about work whilst trying to fall asleep."
Where possible, try to separate your work to another area of the house, keeping your bedroom as your sleep zone.
2. Don't overheat your bedroom
Did you know that warmer temperatures impact your sleep?
Increased body temperature is known to affect our ability to fall asleep as well as the quality of sleep we get.
According to Olivia, “when you fall asleep in a warmer environment you are more likely to wake frequently as your core temperature rises. Keeping your sleep environment cool is a way of reinforcing your body’s natural instinct to slow down, rest, and fall asleep.”
Optimise your bedroom temperature for sleep by:
Closing the blinds to reduce heat build-up during the day
Turn down your heating at night (or switch it off completely)
Use a fan or air conditioning in hot climates
Make sure your bedding and pyjamas are breathable (for example cottons and lighter fabrics that allow for airflow).
3. Turn down the lights
Our bodies are finely tuned to subtle changes in light.
Decreasing light at the end of the day is the signal that starts melatonin (our sleepy-time hormone) production and cues your brain to wind down for bedtime.
On the other hand, increasing light cues your body to wake up.
Having a bright bedroom or looking at blue light from a screen close to bedtime, can confuse your body as to whether time to be awake or asleep.
Of course, everyone is a little different, and so Olivia suggests working out what suits you best and creating a bedroom that supports your light needs.
"This is somewhat of a personal preference...if you aren’t someone who wakes with the sun, ensure you have adequate blinds to avoid the shock of dawn (as well as streetlights and outdoor movement), and allow yourself to awaken a little more calmly. The main priority is making sure there is no unwanted blue light that could interrupt your sleep cycle."
4. Avoid unplanned napping during the day
Olivia suggests trying to "avoid additional shut eye unless it reflects the perfect nap plan, that is: keeping it short (30 mins or less), keeping it dark (use an eye mask), and keeping it early in the day (always before 3:30pm).”
Napping for too long, or too late in the day, can impact your body’s natural sleepiness - leaving you sitting up awake at bedtime.
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