03 Oct What is your sleep environment like?
Want a better way to start to understand why you may be feeling tired during the day? Are you not sleeping well? Do you know how important your sleep is? Well it’s a third of your life and it’s important enough to have its own world awareness day. So perhaps you may need to stop and think… Maybe you should take a look at the environment around you and your sleep time habits. These are more important than you may think.
Sleep is a vital part of your overall health and well being. Get enough and you’ll boost everything from your energy levels to your brainpower. Get too little and you put yourself at higher risk of a range of diseases and conditions, from diabetes to depression.
Sleep deprivation is increasingly common in more-developed countries, a trend that robs people of the daily, necessary rest and rejuvenation afforded by quality sleep.1
Poor quality and duration of sleep—which may be caused by sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea, insomnia, or restless legs syndrome—poses a serious threat to one’s physical, mental, emotional and social health. Clinical research shows that insufficient sleep affects work, chores, concentration, forgetfulness, mental tiredness, alertness, irritability, energy, daytime sleepiness, and social functioning.2
On the flip side, sufficient, quality sleep provides a myriad of benefits3-6:
- Improve your overall wellbeing and quality of life.
- Boost your immunity and help you fight infection.
- Help you perform better—and more safely—in work and school.
- Strengthen your memory.
- Help you metabolize sugar, which can help prevent diabetes.
- Prevent vascular complications such as hypertension, heart disease and stroke.
- Lower your risk of early death.
So, are you interested in the first easy step to getting a better night’s sleep? Before you jump into bed, stop, think and look around you.
Environmental conditions, such as temperature, noise, light, bed comfort and electronic distractions, play a significant role in one’s ability to get proper sleep and overall sleep-related wellness.
Do you have an excessive electronic media habit and experience daytime sleep-related problems? Or have a television in the bedroom? Blue light from your electronic screens and staying awake just that little longer to finish a movie are contributing factors to lack of sleep and daytime fatigue. Switch them off.
Environmental noise is another significant factor when it comes to influencing sleep-wake behaviour and sleep quality. High sound levels during sleep—whether from traffic, neighbours, or disturbances in your own home—can decrease your sleep intensity, cause you to wake more often during the night, and can even increase your stress hormone secretion. This poor sleep quality can reach far beyond the short-term consequences of reduced cognitive performance and general tiredness. Long-term consequences of repeated sleep loss due to environmental noise may include heart disease and increased medication intake.7-8
There are several ways to decrease the noise and other environmental conditions that hinder quality sleep. Make your bedroom more conducive to sleep and improve your odds of getting a good night’s rest by following these suggestion:
- Make your bed an inviting place to be. Buy comfortable bedding, including pillows, sheets, and comforters or other coverings.
- Turn out the lights. Tell your body it’s time to sleep by darkening your room. Eliminate as much light as possible, blocking sunlight with curtains or shades.
- Turn off the TV. Keep all electronics—from televisions to computers to cell phones—out of your bedroom.
- Turn down the volume. Make sure sound levels during the night are significantly lower than during the day. Block out distracting sounds by turning off any electronics, such as televisions or radios, closing the bedroom door, and using heavy curtains if traffic noise or other outside noise is a problem.
- Adjust the thermostat. Find the temperature at which you are most comfortable sleeping.
- Protect your bed. Use your bed only for sleep and sex—and not as an office or family recreation space.
For more interesting facts on understanding sleep and how to get a betters nights rest visit the World Sleep Day website: http://worldsleepday.org/
Article Sourced from World Sleep Day 2017:
- Spiegel K, Leproult R, et al. Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. The Lancet. 1999;354:1435-1439.
- Lasch KE, Abraham L, Patrick J, Piault EC, Tully SE, Treglia M. Development of a next day functioning measure to assess the impact of sleep disturbance due to restless legs syndrome: the restless legs syndrome-next day impact questionnaire. Sleep Med. 2011 Sep;12(8):754-61. Epub 2011 Aug 6.
- Sleep health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=38. Accessed February 18, 2012.
- Tamminen J, et al. Sleep spindle activity is associated with the integration of new memories and existing knowledge. The Journal of Neuroscience. 2010;30:14356.
- Culebras, A. Sleep Disorders. In: Kris Heggenhougen and Stella Quah, editors International Encyclopedia of Public Health, Vol 6. San Diego: Academic Press; 2008: 21-26.
- Cappuccio FP, et al. Sleep duration and all-cause mortality: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Sleep. 2010;33:585.