Published: 11:00, 27 October 2017
Getting in a good eight hours sleep promotes good health and longevity, according to sleep science expert Matthew Walker – but many of us are scraping by on a whole lot less. How can we improve the nightly total?
From maximising comfort in our bedrooms and keeping them dark to establishing good habits, there are plenty of ways life at home can be tweaked to keep sleep loss to a minimum. Try these strategies.
Stick to shades that soothe
Use the power of colour to create the mood for sound sleep. In this room, tones of grey are layered for a calming scheme that’s also rich in detail. Greys can be cool in tone, so look for those with a yellow or pink base for a cosy room, and avoid blue-based versions.
Supersize the bed
The bigger the bed the better when it comes to sleeping with a partner undisturbed. This generously sized design offers plenty of space and looks super comfortable, too, with tactile blue upholstery and pristine bed linen. Need to test the width of your bed or try a new one for size? Partners should lie down together arms behind heads. For comfortable sleeping, elbows shouldn’t touch.
Ban the box…
Sorry, but a television in the bedroom won’t help in the quest for good shut-eye as the light from it delays the release of sleep-inducing melatonin. If a bedroom TV is essential in your household, try a gap of half an hour between viewing and sleep time to start the countdown to a good night’s rest.
… and mobiles
A charging station well away from the bedroom like this shelf and socket combo can get you in the habit of plugging them in elsewhere overnight. Of course, if it’s a mobile alarm that rouses you, a substitute is required.
Go back to the 20th century with a clock-radio or add vintage style with an alarm clock with bells on top.
Let there (not be) light
The constant orange glow of towns and cities, motion-sensor lighting and passing cars can all hinder a good night’s kip. Bring darkness to the room with a window treatment that blocks out light completely, such as this room’s solid shutters.
Prefer fabric at the window? Try blackout blinds, which come in a huge range of colours, or opt for curtains with blackout lining.
Be the princess – or prince – and the pea
Once a mattress is causing aches or looking lumpy, it’s only right to complain about it like the fairy-tale princess who was (royally) sensitive enough to feel a pea below her mattress pile.
A new version needs to be compatible with the base, whether it’s a bedstead or a divan, so it’s worth swapping them at the same time or, if not, ensuring a new mattress is suitable for the existing base.
Turn down the heat
Keep a bedroom too warm and sleep can be restless as the temperature of the space interferes with the natural dip in body temperature that occurs at night.
To adjust the heat in an individual room easily, all that’s required is a thermostatic valve fitted to the radiator. It won’t affect the boiler, but will regulate the heat in the space. Make sure it’s not blocked by curtains so it works properly.
Keep office hours
When a bedroom has to double as a home office, the boundary between the two can blur. To avoid ‘work creep’, steal the style of this room and opt for a desk that allows a laptop to be tidied away, leaving it as an attractive piece of furniture without work reminders on show.
Desktop computer instead of a laptop? Invest in a cupboard-style desk – built-in or freestanding – with doors that close to hide the office.
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