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Note: this article was originally published on Homes To Love
Getting a good night's sleep is imperative to our overall well being, with the benefits of quality shut-eye extending to all aspects of our lives. From better cognitive function and moods to improved physical energy, our sleeping habits affect our day-to-day performance at school or work, as well as our relationships.
There are many personal reasons as to why you could be struggling to achieve peaceful slumber (think diet, exercise routine, hormone and stress levels) but your bedroom may also be to blame, with its layout, design and furnishings playing a huge role in the quality of your shut-eye.
Most of us don't think too much about our mattress, despite the fact we use it every night. However a bad mattress, without us realising, can contribute to a bad night's sleep, next-day moodiness and an aching body.
It's important to have a comfortable mattress that offers your body support and keeps the spine aligned throughout the night. In general, there are four types of mattresses in Australia:
Investing in a new mattress is ultimately the best solution; however there are ways to improve your sleeping situation while still using your current mattress. Start with investing in a quality memory-foam mattress topper that supports your body while it sleeps by moulding to the shape of it.
Providing support for the head, neck and shoulders, a good pillow is essential to achieving a good night's sleep. While most consumers know the importance, research has revealed that most are confused about the type they should be investing in.
The first step in choosing your pillow is to determine what style of sleeper you are: do you sleep on your side, back or in all positions? Then decide whether you prefer a high- or low-level design, and with what feel (firm, soft or medium).
Leading Australian pillow manufacturer Dentons designs its pillows to cater for different sleeping styles and preferences, and even has an online pillow selector that helps buyers to pinpoint their perfect pillow. Within the brand's Therapeutic range, customers can shop options purposely designed to target snoring, bad posture and heat, as well as height preferences. Consider your old, lumpy pillow seriously outdated.
Side bonus: Dentons Therapeutic range of pillows come formulated with Dentons patented Softec foam, which is soft to touch and yet delivers enough support to maintain your head in the correctly aligned position, making it ideal for therapeutic support purposes – and essential for a restful sleep.
If you find yourself constantly tossing and turning, your restlessness could be the result of the bedroom temperature being too hot or too cold. It could also be the source of heightened stress levels: those that sleep in hot environments have been found to have greater levels of the stress hormone cortisol the following morning.
Your body temperature usually drops to prepare for sleep but when external temperatures aren't optimal, your body has to work hard to self-regulate – the opposite of what it should be doing when you're asleep, which is resting.
For the best night's sleep, the suggested bedroom temperature should be between 18 and 22 degrees. While air-conditioning and fans to cool the air and heaters to warm it are obvious, the key is to keep the temperature steady.
If your bedroom warms up during the day, consider investing in ceiling insulation or external window shades (to block out the sun).
Our growing dependence on smartphones has made it more difficult to switch off, with the statistics revealing 71 percent of smartphone users sleep with their device in their bed or next to them on their nightstand.
Spending time on your smartphone or laptop immediately before going to bed (or worse, when you're in bed) overstimulates the brain and makes it more difficult to unwind and fall asleep. The blue light omitted from screens tricks the brain into thinking it's real daylight.
Try to take an hour's break from all devices before getting into bed. If you wake up in the night and find yourself tempted to scroll through your social media, try placing your phone on the other side of the room rather than directly next to you. If you find yourself having to do work on a computer or smartphone before bed, try switching the device's settings to 'night mode'.