Bedroom hacks for a good night’s sleep

Living Well | Beverley Johanson | Posted on 04 March 2019

We ask the experts what you can do for a better night’s shut-eye.

Years ago, I came across a magazine article on how to beat insomnia. One recommendation for a good night’s sleep involved running a few centimetres of cold water into the bath, then lying on the bathroom floor with your feet dangling over the edge of the bath and into the water before going to bed. Didn’t try; don’t know. 

Sleep is, of course, essential for good physical and mental health. Most healthy adults need seven to nine hours a night, some can function without drowsiness on six and others are at their best with 10. A survey of 1011 people conducted by the Sleep Health Foundation at the University of Adelaide found that insufficient or poor-quality sleep plagues between 33 and 45 per cent of adults, affecting work performance and social life. Driving while drowsy at least once a month was reported by 29 per cent of people. 

Your bed and bedroom are key factors in dropping off and staying dropped off. Your bedroom needs to be tranquil, inviting and free of clutter. It should feel relaxing when you walk in.

Woman sleeping

The colour of calm

Keep the colours of your decor and bed linen soothing. Blue is relaxing, red is not, brown and grey will make you gloomy. Rich colours are okay if you love them and the most pacifying are soft, cool shades. Green and creamy yellow get a big tick, according to Andrea Lucena-Orr, Dulux colour planning and communications manager.

Lights out

At night, the bedroom should be cool, dark and quiet. Curtains and block-out blinds are a huge help, but the low light from alarm clocks and devices can also be a distraction. Turn the alarm clock away from you or put it on the floor. More about devices later.

Sounds of silence

Apparently it is not so much sounds that keep us awake or rouse us from sleep, but the inconsistency of sounds in the night, according to Popular Science. White noise sound machines, which produce soothing ambient soundscapes such as waves on a beach, may help you relax and block outside noise. 

Mattresses matter

The comfort of your bed is vital. Top-quality pillows and mattresses keep your spine aligned and comfortable. A good mattress and foundation supports your body at all points and keeps your spine in the same shape as a person with good standing posture. 

If your mattress is older than five to seven years, it is very likely past its comfy, supportive prime, according to Choice magazine. If you wake up with aches and pains or have slept better in a hotel or at a friend’s house, then it’s probably time for a new one. 

There are many types of mattress on the market and only one way to find out which is best for you, says Choice. Take your time when buying. If you share a bed, take your partner with you when looking. Lie on various beds, move around, be aware of how the bed feels when your partner moves. Roll over, sit up and get in and out of bed. 

Switch off

The Sleep Health Foundation says the number of people who have trouble sleeping has increased since a 2010 survey and this may be due to using devices in bed and watching TV in the bedroom.

Using tablets, smartphones and laptops delays your body’s internal clock and the light from the device shining directly into your eyes suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, the foundation says. 

Healthy habits

Sleep is all about relaxing and shutting down, and the foundation recommends the following good habits. Don’t eat or drink too much, particularly alcohol, close to bedtime. Exercise earlier in the day. Meditation and aromatherapy may help and even just lying on your back when you get into bed and breathing deeply and slowly while thinking of something that makes you happy can slow your body and mind right down.

RACV members save 30% at all Snooze stores from 18 to 24 March. Simply show your RACV card in the store.*