Better Sleep Part I | The Environment of Dreams

Better Sleep Part I | The Environment of Dreams

Sleep, there is nothing better than waking feeling totally rested while there is nothing worse than tossing and turning at night. Insomnia is one of the most common disorders in modern society affecting nearly 30% of adults. The inability to have consistent good sleep may be it’s own illness or a symptom of a larger problem.

If you are having trouble getting quality sleep, these sequence of articles are a great place to start.

Not Getting Enough Sleep

Not getting enough sleep is not just annoying, it can have catastrophic effects on your wellbeing. Even one night of poor sleep has shown changes in mood, balance, learning, and memory. Continuous poor sleep can increase major health concerns such as increased blood pressure, weight gain, increase chances of heart disease. On the other end, people who do have healthy sleep are more motivated and tend to have better physical and emotional health.

The purpose of this article is to gain understanding on how setting up your bedroom can help increase your quality of sleep.

Physical Environment

The first thing to consider with your night time routine is the physical environment of your bedroom. It is critical to have good physical boundaries between the space where you intend to sleep and everywhere else in your home. For people that have a classic bedroom, keep the door closed after leaving for the day. This can be challenging for those of us who live in big cities with studio or loft apartments.

In this case, first identify how much physical space you have for your sleeping area. Physically measure and mark the space on the ground with an object or chalk to start. Create a divide with objects to seperate your bedroom from the rest of the home. You can reinforce the separation of your bedroom and other spaces in your home with colors as well. Our eyes are especially sensitive to blues, the sight of a soothing blue decreases blood pressure, heart rate, and encourages a sense of calm. If you are not ready to paint, consider blue bedding or art in your sleeping space.

Keep your bedroom simple and symmetrical. The goal of a bedroom is place to fall asleep easily, stay asleep, and wake easily. Try as much as possible to have your bedroom goal oriented towards sleeping, meaning everything thing in that space should be there specifically to help you have the optimal sleep.

Check List

  1. Mark the boundaries of your bedroom
  2. Make your bedroom as symetrical as possible 
  3. List the main colors your see when looking in your bedroom

Elements

Consider the elements in your room: lights, sound, and air. Make sure your sleeping space is dark. If you have any electronics in your room, make sure they are off or that the lights are hidden from the view in bed. Using black out shades or a sleeping mask can be very helpful for eliminating light. Also, consider the sounds in your room. White nose, binary delta or theta waves can be very helpful to setting the mood. You can find playlist with these sounds on Spotify or Youtube.

Give yourself something calming to wake up to if you use an alarm. Many people choose the loudest most obnoxious sound to get going in the morning. There’s really no need. When we wake, our cortisol levels (stress hormones) are appropriately rising. If we over stimulate our stress response in the morning we can expect to have more stress throughout the day. Try waking to soothing music that gradually increases in volume.

Investing in the air quality can be a game changer for many that struggle with sleeping. Adding plants to your sleeping space helps in several ways. Firstly, it can sharply determine the boundary between sleep space and the rest of your home. Plants naturally remove toxins from the air. Some plants have a beautifully relaxing aroma that soothes the nervous system. If you have allergies, I would be mindful of any flowering plants in the bedroom. Jasmine, Gardenia and Lavender are great aromatic plants for sleep. Peace Lily, Snake Plant, and English Ivy are natural air purifiers.

Check List

  1. What do you need to block light in your bedroom? Try an eye mask!
  2. Use healing sounds to go to sleep
  3. Add plants to your room for air quality 

Work with a Professional

Implementing good sleep hygiene in your life can be complicated if you are already struggling with your routine or sleep. As a doctor of Chinese Medicine, I work with patients daily on improving their sleep. During treatments, I use acupuncture to help resolve their individual sleeping challenges, such as hard to fall asleep, can’t stay asleep, night sweat, and even nightmares. Also, I use acupuncture to resolve the manifestations of poor sleep like weight management, mood disorders, or weakened immunity. I can create custom herbal formulas specific to each patients needs to help promote their circadian rhythm and continue the benefits of their acupuncture treatment. Finally, together we create a good sleep hygiene plan that will create a long lasting healthy relationship with sleep.

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