I launch myself into the air, feeling a wave of joy rise up from my belly, my arms outstretched.
“Bed!” I shout. “I love you!” Thus, I sink into the warm, soft sheets, promising me a period of comfortable and delectable oblivion. I might, at that point, roll over and inspect the ceiling, feeling the warmth building under the covers. (My joy at launching into bed increases exponentially with colder ambient air temperature). Alternatively, I might spend some time reading my hard-copy novel.
November is National Sleep Comfort Month. It’s a stark reminder that sleep is at the core of our human health – not only does it play a role in the repair of heart and blood vessels, it is essential to our learning and memory abilities, and ensures that we have sufficient motor skills to function safely during daily activities like driving (American Psychological Association, 2015; Harvard Medical School, 2015).
After a bright and energizing summer, darkening days and hectic schedules in the fall can drain your enthusiasm and positive outlook. Everyone has a very different experience of sleep and rest, but internal and external sleep environments do have a significant role to play. This means that we can define some approaches to getting more enjoyable rest.
Internal Sleep Environments*
- Know how much sleep you need to function effectively and feel happy. Not everyone needs eight hours.
- Record your thoughts, feelings, and emotional worries in a sleep journey. These anxious feelings can keep you awake.
- Focus on developing a relaxed and healthy culture around sleep and bedtime. Do not try to force sleep.
*See: 14 Strategies for Sleeping Better. Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. 20 Sept. 2010. PsychCentral.com.
External Sleep Environments*
- Light is a huge culprit for disrupted sleep – humans did not evolve to have lightbulbs and electronics blinking and flashing all night long around their sleeping quarters. Keep your electronics away from your bed, and wear a sleep mask if need be.
- Noise can disrupt some sleepers, while others are soothed by certain sounds like nature sounds. Find what works for you.
- Lastly, temperature can cause you to toss and turn during the night. The Harvard Medical School notes that in very cold environments, we can be totally deprived of REM sleep. Find a comfortable temperature that works for you!
*See: External Factors that Influence Sleep. Harvard Medical School ‘Healthy Sleep‘. 2007.
My secret for a good night’s sleep is falling completely in love with the experience! When you feel a wave of joy at just launching yourself into a comfortable bed, it’s easy to relax and fall gently into slumber.
Casper, a New York City startup, is working tirelessly to create the world’s best sleep environment – an ecosystem, really, of mattress, sheets, and pillow. The mattress is available at a reasonable price, and ships direct to consumers for free (Ankeny, 2015).
I got excited about the potential of Casper to create the next generation of sleep-positive experiences for people when I saw their infographic, below, which summarizes best practices for a good night’s sleep.
I hope that you’ll have an opportunity to excitedly shout ‘It’s time for bed!’ in the near future. Remember that there are many ways to create a more enjoyable sleep experience, and that joy and comfort are a huge part of achieving this healthy part of your life.
2 Comments Add yours
I love turning in for the night. I love sleeping. I love the coziness of the bed during colder months.
My tips for sleeping well include: using f.lux to make my computer display warmer after sunset (no blue light to interfere with melatonin levels)… waking up at the same time each morning (weekdays and weekends) to make me predictably sleepy at a reasonable hour each evening… and using a Wake-Up Light instead of an alarm, which is much less likely to entice me to hit snooze.
Right now I’m saving up for a new mattress and a white noise machine. I take sleep very seriously!!!
Wow, Andy! Those are some awesome tips 😁 Particularly interesting that a ‘warm’ computer screen does not emit blue light! Thanks for sharing, and I wish you some great sleep experiences!