An old Irish proverb says, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in a doctor’s book.” Personally, I’d put penicillin on that list - but laughter and sleep are pretty important too. What the proverb doesn’t tell you is that the key to achieving a long and restful sleep is knowing how to create a relaxing sleep environment.
You may be a rain person or a pillow person; possibly you’re both. Perhaps you’re an aromatherapy enthusiast. Everyone is different! The key to creating a relaxing sleep environment is knowing what calms you down most. This involves identifying and eliminating the distractions that will keep you from having a good night’s sleep.
Where do you start? With your mattress.
Make sure your mattress is comfortable and isn’t causing you any problems that might be keeping you up. Some common mattress problems include excessive sagging (and age in general), not being the right firmness to properly support your body, and being the incorrect size. If your mattress is making it difficult to sleep through the night, replacing it is the first step toward a relaxing night of rest.
Another key factor to consider is light. Make sure there are no bright lights (or glow from electronics) in your bedroom. If your windows get a lot of light, consider darker curtains to help block it out. And if possible, try to keep any and all electronics out of your bedroom. Ideally, your bedroom should be an environment for sleeping only.
Third, keep your sleeping area clean. Excessive clutter and objects will distract you and create a disruptive environment. Also, keep your sleeping area comfortable. This could mean a certain type of sheets, multiple pillows, a favorite blanket...whatever it is that helps make you most at ease and relaxed.
Finally, make sure your sleeping area is quiet. Excessive noise will keep you from falling asleep and jar you out of rest. However, noise can be good depending on your personal preference. Some people use the sound of rain or nature in order to help relax. Light music is also a popular choice.
In the end, only you know what helps you relax. Evaluate your current sleep environment and make sure to incorporate those things into your sleep routine!
For more information on creating a relaxing sleep environment, check out: