When we’re feeling fatigued and out of sorts, it’s common to jump to the conclusion that stress at work or a poor diet is to blame. But what about your bedroom? Given that we spend an average of 26 years of our life sleeping (and another seven trying to get to sleep), it’s not surprising that it can play a huge roll in how rested and mentally balanced we feel. So, if you’re having trouble waking up energized, it may be time to take a closer look at your environment.
Not sure where to start? No problem –— we’ve put together a list of three common sleep complaints and ways to remedy them.
- Can’t get comfortable
Sometimes, even when you’re exhausted from a long day at work or running around after the kids, you just can’t get comfortable when you slide into bed. This can be due to a number of factors, including the quality of your mattress.
Research has shown that a quality memory foam mattress can help to prevent discomfort associated with existing conditions (such as a bad back) and prevent pain caused by sleeping on a too soft, unsupportive mattress. If you find yourself struggling with chronic neck pain, investing in a memory foam pillow can also assist in combating pain, by keeping your spine aligned and reducing disruptive snoring by keeping your airways more open.
- Co-sleeping dependence
A recent study indicated that an astounding 45% of moms allowed children ages 8-12 to sleep in the marital bed occasionally, with 13 percent tolerating this every night. While it’s one thing to let children crawl into bed with you when they’ve had a nightmare, making this a common practice can dramatically impact upon the quality of sleep you, your spouse and your children are getting.
It can also lead to less self-reliance in children and higher levels of low self-esteem. If you’ve got a child who persistently ends up in your bed, addressing this issue will help you improve your own sleep hygiene.
You can begin to tackle co-sleeping dependence by determining what is prompting the behavior, for example: bullying at school, academic stress or simply anxiety. Once you’ve identified the cause, work on tackling it.
If your child is unable to sleep due to nightmares, try monitoring the media they’re consuming before bed. If school anxiety is a problem, encourage your child to talk through the problems of the day with you before bedtime, perhaps over a hot chocolate or herbal tea that promotes relaxation. Generally, with the right support and understanding, this habit can be broken within two months. If it persists, you may need to seek further help to break the cycle.
- Too much light
Lighting can have a huge effect on your sleep quality. For example, if you’ve got a bright street-light glaring through your window or do shift-work, it’s likely to disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm.
An easy first step is to install blackout curtains, which will limit the amount of light let into your bedroom. Don’t be fooled, blackout curtains don’t have to be unsightly. They come in a variety of styles and colors that can complement any bedroom without losing any functionality.
Another common problem is exposure to screens. Next time you’re tempted to send an email or watch Youtube right before bed, think twice. Studies have shown that the blue light emitted by computer screens and cell-phones decrease your production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for your sleep/wake cycle.
Media is also likely to stimulate your brain and make you more alert when you’re trying to wind down. So, if you’re struggling with fatigue, try turning off all your devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime to see an almost instant improvement.
As a mother, it’s especially important that you get a good night’s sleep so you can face all the challenges of the day. Follow these three tips to improve your sleep hygiene and wake up feeling alert and energized.