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 even ruling it out. A sleep environment is, unfortunately, not something many people think about when they think about having sleeping problems. However, before getting too concerned, it may be a good first step to identify how your sleep environment may be negatively impacting your sleep efforts.
Overview of Ideal Alaskan Summer Sleeping Environment
The primary things to include 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
If you are having trouble sleeping, 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 without any light. If you live out in the country, away from city lights, this may be much easier for you so blackout curtains may not be necessary for you.
However, most people live in or near city lights. Blackout curtains may be extremely helpful for those individuals. More importantly, living in Alaska there are several months out of the year where it’s always light with only a couple of hours of darkness. No outside light should be visible from your room for optimal sleep.
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
To augment the effects, 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 during Alaskan summers.
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 and try not to use them before bed.
Blue light significantly interrupts melatonin production, which is the hormone that helps regulate sleep. In the hour before bed, you should avoid blue light at all costs which means no television, phones, computers, or gaming devices.
Get a Nice Pillow, Mattress, and Sheets
It’s amazing how much difference a nice sleeping arrangement can make in getting a good night’s sleep. Not only are nice sleep arrangements 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
Top of the line sheets pillows and mattress are nice, but can be very expensive. If you are working with a budget, there are still high quality sheets with a nice thread count, memory foam toppers, and memory foam pillows as options for good sleep.
Get Aromatherapy Tools
A nice smelling room can help you to relax 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 and safer than candles. You can also buy a diffuser with a timer so it cuts off after you've gone to bed
Get a Fan (or Earplugs)
If noise is a problem for you, then there are a couple of options to help cancel out community sound. A fan is a great option as its droning is a white noise that can help to drown out the extracurricular noises.
However, if the noise is coming from inside your room, such as a snoring partner, then you may want to consider using earplugs. They can be a difficult adjustment, as they are a distraction, but once you figure out how to make them work for you, they can be a great sleeping aid.