The average Australian adult sleeps between seven and nine hours a night, every night. Assuming that you don’t work seven days a week, your bedroom is likely to be the place you spend the most time in during the week. Not only that, but sleep has been widely shown as beneficial to your physical and mental health.
Given that, it’s worth investing some effort to make your bedroom as blissful as it can be. Here’s our four step guide to the perfect slumber.
1. Choose a good mattress
Good quality mattresses aren’t cheap, but they do deliver value for money. Take some time and try out several so that you can pick the right one for you. Lying down for a minute or two won’t tell you enough, so schedule in enough time to stay put for a decent interval.
A firm mattress will suit stomach sleepers, while a medium mattress is better for those who sleep on their backs. If you’re a side sleeper, choose a soft mattress which will contour to your body’s curves.
Coil mattresses are cheaper than the alternatives, and usually won’t last as long. At the higher end, there are pocket spring mattresses which feature up to 3000 springs sewn into individual pockets. These offer a range of firmnesses and good support, but like the cheaper options, springs can rut.
Consider memory foam if you like a dense, rather than springy, feel. Memory foam does run warm, though, so if you prefer something airier, it may not be for you. Latex foam has similar qualities of denseness, but is more breathable and better for those with allergies. Hybrid mattresses are a combination of foam and springs.
2. Choose a good pillow
Once your mattress is cradling you to perfection, it’s time to get some good pillows.
Sleeping style is relevant here, too. Stomach sleepers are best off with soft, flat pillows that don’t raise the head too far. Those who sleep on their backs are best with medium to firm pillows, while side sleepers are best with very firm options.
Pillows can be made from a range of materials. Latex and foam both lend themselves to firmer pillows, while wool, down and polyester are softer. Polyester and cotton pillows will need to be replaced after a couple of years, while latex, foam and down can last five – 10 years.
3. Be thoughtful about lighting
Natural light allows our bodies to align with their circadian rhythms, fostering better sleep. The lighting in your bedroom should reflect the sun’s trajectory, dimming as you get closer to slumber. Overhead lighting which is too harsh won’t send a signal to your body that it’s time for resting. Instead, try bedside lamps with dimmer switches, wall lights to illuminate nooks, and soft overhead lighting.
In the morning, maximise natural light to help you wake up with curtains or blinds that can be pulled open. If you apply makeup in your bedroom, natural light is a must to make sure you’re achieving the right coverage.
4. Ensure good air flow
It’s important that your bedroom is well ventilated for good health. As we breathe in and out all night, we create CO2. Studies have shown that sleeping in a room with lower CO2 levels improves both sleep quality and next-day concentration. Poor ventilation is also linked with higher instances of illness.
Because we want our bedrooms to be private, warm places, they’re often badly ventilated. You can take steps to counteract that by leaving your windows partially opened on mild nights, or adding a ceiling fan. Try also to ensure that your bedroom is uncluttered, as too many furnishings contribute to a build up of stagnant air.
With sleep so essential to our well being, this really is an area in which your efforts are rewarded. Sweet dreams!