Sleep is controlled by internal factors. However, these internal factors can be influenced by external factors so as to bring forth a bad or good sleeping experience.
Sleep Environment: Factors Affecting Sleep
Here are some of the thing that can be do done to better the sleep environment.
A noisy sleep environment can severely affect sleep. Noises from as low as 40 decibels can keep a person awake. In essence this means that a dripping faucet or high music sounds from your neighbor can wake you up from Rapid Eye Movement – the deepest level of sleep. If you begin sleep in a noisy sleep environment, then your sleeping experience is likely to be shallow.
However, the presence of familiar noise in the sleep environment can greatly enhance sleep. It is does not matter the king of noise or sound provided it is familiar with the sleeper. In fact, studies on the sleeping environment of city sleepers shows that siren and noise from car induces them to sleep even more.
What to do: Use ear plugs to keep off unwanted and unfamiliar sounds. The so-called white noise from a fan can be soothing. In addition, it is a good sleeping habit to “pollute” your sleep environment with familiar noises in low tones.
It is difficult to come up with a number for the ideal temperature in the sleep environment. However, it is generally accepted temperature above 75° Fahrenheit and below 54° Fahrenheit will affect sleep. Naturally, the body lowers it temperature in preparation for sleep. It is therefore thought that cool temperature enhances sleep.
What to do: Identify the best temperature your sleep environment and enhance it. Be sure to keep your bedroom warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
Sleep is partly controlled by the day and night patterns. In darkness, the body secretes a hormone called melatonin which causes drowsiness and thus sleep. Light on the other hand stops the secretion of melatonin.
What to do: You need to make sure that your sleep environment is as dark as possible to maximize production of melatonin. In fact, light should go off at the same time everyday at night. During the day, you need to get exposed to enough sunlight.
People sleep better on a firm mattress that ensures their bodies are as horizontal as possible. If you have been using a mattress for 20 year, chances are that it does not provide enough support for your body. To improve your sleep environment, it is important to replace your mattress every 5 to 7 years. An ideal mattress should conform to your body shape as you sleep.
What to do tips: The bed and mattress should be big enough especially if they are shared. Take time to test your mattress in comfortable clothes. A pillow should be able to comfortably support your head and neck. Pillows should be replaced regularly as they are known to harbor dust and insects as well.
Sleep Environment Tips
- Remove all items such as computers that are not used for sleep from your sleep environment.
- Use earplug to block noise from a snoring partner.
- Wear comfortable clothes when going to bed- not too tight.
- Use blinds to keep your bedroom darker.
- Be sure to open all the windows in your bedroom for fresh air supply.