Sleep Health

How to Create an Optimal Sleep Environment?

How to Create an Optimal Sleep Environment?

Many of us take our bedroom for granted, and that's a fact. There's so much that goes on in our lives that we forget to take good care of it. Of course, you'll clean the room, dust it, keep it tidy, but not perfect like a hotel room. Also, after a long and hard day, all we want to do is get to bed, sleep, and energize enough to tackle the following day.

There are times when we're too busy to shine the room. On the other hand, when we're free enough, other plans are already in place to forget the importance of an optimal sleep environment. However, it matters and is more important than we think. A lot of problems arise because of not having an optimal sleep environment. The problem could be as simple as light or temperature to unwanted noise. 

You must have heard about the essential advice such as keeping the room like a cave- dark, quiet, and cool. Although this is good advice, there's more to creating an optimal sleep environment than that. We spent a lot of time at home during the pandemic, and many continue to do so. Thus, it's an excellent thought to look at our bedrooms with a fresh pair of eyes and make them more sleep-friendly. Sleep Science suggests thinking of our bedrooms as a place where minimal changes can help promote better sleep. These changes can be as small as temperature, lighting, or noise reduction.

What is the Ideal Temperature for Sleeping?

Sleepers' most common question is trying to know the best temperature for a good night's sleep. However, the temperature is different for every person, and it depends on the individual's body, preference, tolerance to heat. Other factors also involved include health issues, body weight, humidity tolerance, hormones, menopause, and conditions like GERD and sleep apnea. 

The temperature of our rooms interacts with the body temperature of sleepers and other factors and changes accordingly. For example, the temperature of a room depends on light exposure during the day, the fan's speed, scent in the room, and some other factors. Sometimes, this is why the same speed of the fan can feel too hot or cold on different nights. 

Sleep scientists at NASA Ames Research Foundation and San Jose State Research Foundation published a paper that reviewed the optimal temperature suitable for almost everyone. However, the range of optimal temperatures to promote quality sleep is very broad. According to the study, the best bedroom temperature is between 17 and 28 degrees Celsius, which converts to 62-82 degrees Fahrenheit. 

However, other temperature-related factors influence the optimal sleep temperature. One of these influencing factors is humidity. We complain a lot about moisture during the day and don't pay enough attention in our sleep environments. However, scientists found the ideal room temperature at night should contain 40-60% relative humidity. Based on the region you live in, time of the year, you should make humidity changes in the bedroom for quality sleep. 

A cold environment is advised because it keeps your head cool. Such temperature of your head slows down the thinking process and drifts you off to sleep quicker. Hot temperatures will interfere with your sleep. That's why we tend to wake up with morning light as it starts to make us feel hot. Cooling your head will calm the frontal cortex. The frontal cortex is the section of the brain where ruminating thoughts occur. High activity in the frontal cortex is why people can't sleep even when in bed for hours. Thus, keeping the room cool is crucial to sleep quicker, be asleep for long, and wake up fresh. 

What is the Impact of Noise on Sleep?

Again, all of us are different, so noise decibels to disturb every person are different. Also, different sounds are for different responses. Some people can sleep through a thunderstorm, whereas others will wake up with the crying voice of their baby in the next room. However, researchers find 35 dB to be the threshold level for bedroom noise.  

Thus, for maintaining the optimal sleep space, the noise should be below 35dB. But how much noise is 35 dB? Below are some decibel examples and facts to understand the numbers clearly. 

  • An airplane takes off at 150 dB.
  • A thunder strikes at about 120 dB.
  • A lawnmower creates about 100 dB.
  • A bird chirping is 40 dB roughly.
  • A conversation between people is 60 dB typically.
  • A whisper is about 20 dB.

Breathing is about 10 dB when the bedroom is quiet. Thus, the optimal noise you can sleep through is between whispering and below the chirping of birds or a conversation between two people. Waking up due to noise also depends on the sleep stage. For example, we are more likely to wake up when the noise is at 50 dB, and the sleep stage is 1 or 2. On the other hand, the deeper sleep we're in, the higher the noise needs to wake up, and other factors disturb sleep. 

How Bedtime Light Affects Sleep?

Researchers suggest that untimely and before-bed exposure to light can affect the ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, get enough sleep for each stage, and follow a sleep schedule. Exposure to light at odd timings can arouse hormones to stay awake. Intense lighting stimulates the brain, making it harder to fall asleep. For example, social media, reading news online or watching TV before bed sends signals to bed in the opposite direction of sleeping, keeping us awake. 

Exposure to light at night also affects the circadian rhythm, body's pacemaker. Circadian clocks regulate the body's sleep-wake cycle, keeping us energized during the day and helping us to fall asleep at night. However, not all kinds of lights have the same effect. For example, blue light, emitted by smartphones, disrupts the sleep cycle and keeps us awake. Another example is reading e-books. People who read e-books in bed tend to take longer to fall asleep and spend less time in the REM sleep stage. On the other hand, people who read paperback books under lamp sleep faster and easier comparatively. So, be careful as to how you curate the bedroom environment for a good night's sleep.

Additional Tips for Improving Your Bedroom Environment

The best sleeping tip is to get a cooling mattress that absorbs heat and helps you sleep faster. Other mattresses like innerspring, memory foam, and latex also help with better sleep. If you're not sure which the best mattress is for a hot sleeper, you can visit a Mancini’s Sleepworld and one of their 34 mattress stores in Northern California.

Also, at select Mancini's Sleepworld locations, try out the SleepMatch system, amazing technology that matches you with the perfect mattress for your good night's sleep. SleepMatch can provide solutions to your sleeping problems, calculating your needs against thousands of parameters and data to give you the perfect mattress so you can sleep comfortably every night.

September 18, 2021