Overview of Ideal Alaskan Summer Sleeping Environment
Creating an ideal sleeping environment is absolutely essential to getting a good night’s rest. It can also play a crucial role in the process of identifying and diagnosing a sleep disorder (or ruling it out). A sleep environment is, unfortunately, not something many people think about when they think about having sleeping problems. The common reaction is to instead reach for a sleep aid, such as melatonin. But I repeat, a sleep environment can make all the difference in the world.
Having a good sleep environment means setting one up: if you are like almost everyone else, there are aspects of your sleep environment that are most definitely not ideal. The primary things to look for in a proper sleep environment are:
- A dark room
- A quiet room
- No blue light (televisions, computers) – keep them out!
- Nice sleeping apparel (sheets, pillows, mattresses)
- A nice smelling room
Does your room hit all of these marks? Probably not.
If you are having sleep trouble, the first thing you might do is ensure that your sleep environment is not the cause of your sleep problems. Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
Get Blackout Curtains
Your room should be dark. Really dark. Barely-able-to-see dark. If you live out in the country, away from city lights, this is much easier for you – you might not even need blackout curtains.
However, most people live in our near city lights. If that’s you, get blackout curtains. More importantly, living in Alaska we have a handful of months out of the year where it’s light no matter where you live. No outside lights should be visible from your room.
You can make blackout curtains yourself, or buy them online for relatively cheap (about $20). Some things to keep in mind with blackout curtains are:
- Make sure they hang down a couple of inches below and out from the edges of the windowpane
- Make sure they are thick enough to keep all light out
- Use them over blinds for increased effectiveness
In the same vein of thought, make sure no lights are on inside your house, such as night lights, flashing lights from electronics, etc. Remember, your room should be almost pitch black! Especially in our summers here in Alaska, this is a must.
Get Rid of Blue Light
As nice as it is to snuggle up in bed at night and watch TV or a movie, or play around on your computer or phone – get sources of blue light out of your room. Don’t use them before bed.
Blue light significantly interrupts melatonin production, which is the hormone that helps you regulate sleep. In the hour before bed, you should avoid blue light at all costs. No computers. No phones. No television.
Having these items in your room before bed is usually too much of a temptation. Your best bet is to just keep them out of your room.
Get a Nice Pillow, Mattress, and Sheets
It’s amazing how much difference a nice sleeping arrangement will make in getting a good night’s sleep. Not only are nice sleep arrangement comfortable, they can:
- Keep away neck pain
- Keep away back pain back pain
- Breath better (good for hot nights)
- Help you get comfortable and stay comfortable to fall asleep faster and stay asleep
For a nice chunk of change, you can get a top of the line sleep setup (sheets, pillows, mattress). Don’t have several thousand dollars lying around? For a couple hundred dollars you can get high thread count sheets, a contoured memory foam pillow, and a thick memory foam topper for your bed.
Get Aromatherapy Tools
A nice smelling room will relax you and, over time, the particular scent will help condition your body to prepare for sleep.
- Get an aromatherapy candle, diffuser, or lamp
- Use the same scent every night – a scent that relaxes you
- An hour before bed, turn the diffuser/candle/lamp
Diffusers tend to be the most convenient, as you don’t have to blow the candle out and deal with the smoke smell before bed, and you can buy a diffuser with a timer.
Get a Fan (or Earplugs)
Do you deal with car noise? Neighbor noise? Noise from others in your house? No problem. Get a fan. While a quiet room is generally ideal for sleeping, there’s no denying that white noise can help drown out outside noise. Some people even prefer white noise for sleeping.
However, if the noise is coming from inside your room, such as a snoring partner, use earplugs. They can be hard to get used to using, as they are a distraction, but many thousands of people comfortably adjust to using them and blocking out a noisy bed partner.