Bedroom’s Design Plays Important Role in Quality of Sleep

Sleep experts suggest using the five senses for better sleep, health

DAYTON, Ohio (February 6, 2015) – A person’s bedroom should be a sanctuary – a place of refuge from daily stress and an environment that welcomes a comfortable night’s sleep.

Amin HSA bedroom’s design can play a vital role in the quality of sleep an individual gets and have an effect on their overall health, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Adults should get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night, but the inability to fall asleep or even stay asleep can play a significant role in keeping that from happening, said Mansi Amin, DO, a Premier HealthNet physician at Oakwood Primary Care.

“Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being,” Dr. Amin said. “Sleep deficiency can lead to several different health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes and even obesity. A person who is sleep deprived may also have a weaker immune system that can lead to ailments such as the common cold.”

Dr. Amin evaluates a patient’s sleep environment first when they complain of sleep issues. Slight adjustments in how a person approaches bedtime can sometimes help alleviate problems without the need for medication or further testing, she said.

“Your bedroom has to be a sanctuary,” Dr. Amin said. “When you walk into your bedroom or simply think about it, it should make you feel relaxed and peaceful. People can make this happen by first de-cluttering their room and creating a clean and ordered space.”

The NSF encourages individuals to think of their five senses – touch, sight, hear, smell and taste – when designing their sleep environment or re-designing it for better sleep. 

Touch – Research has shown the temperature of a bedroom can play a role in one’s quality of sleep. Experts say that a cool room, set around 65 degrees, can serve as one of the best sleep aids because it plays into the body’s natural cycle, the NSF said. Studies have shown that a person’s body temperature drops as they become drowsy and reaches its lowest level around 5 a.m. If a room is too hot, it can interfere with the body’s natural drop in temperature. Those who share a bedroom with someone who needs a different temperature should consider using different blankets to help adjust, Dr. Amin said.

Sight – A NSF study found that nearly three-fourths of Americans say a dark room is important for a good night’s sleep and they might be on to something. The body takes cues from light that help keep it on a 24-hour pattern. As light fades in the evening, the body releases a hormone called melatonin, which causes the body to be less alert and more in tune to sleep. Exposure to light – whether it’s a street lamp streaming through the window or a television screen beside the bed – can affect the body’s ability to properly regulate itself. Dr. Amin suggests individuals turn off electronic devices about 30 minutes before bedtime, block out external lights with curtains and use night lights so that midnight trips to the bathroom don’t require use of an overhead light.

Hear – A person’s brain still processes noises on a basic level while they are asleep. What stage of sleep a person is in will determine if that noise will cause them to awake. Studies have shown that a noise is more likely to awaken someone if it is relevant or emotionally charged, NSF said. For example, a young mother may be able to sleep through her husband’s snores, but be jolted out of sleep by her baby’s fussiness. Dr. Amin suggests the use of a noise maker – such as a fan or noise machine – to block out peak noises.

Smell – Part of having a de-cluttered room is that it looks and smells clean. Studies and personal experience point to the importance of scents surrounding sound sleep. Nearly 80 percent of Americans polled by NSF said they are more excited to go to bed if their sheets have a fresh scent. Incorporate fresh smelling detergents or scented products, or no smell at all, into the bedroom to make it more inviting.

Taste – Research suggests a person’s diet, especially closer to bedtime, effects sleep. It’s best to eat lightly before bed and avoid alcohol or stimulants like caffeine. Larger, protein-rich foods should be reserved for breakfast and lunch when the body needs energy, the NSF said. Dr. Amin said the relationship between food and sleep can also be reversed. Those who are sleep deprived have a tendency to eat foods that are higher in fat and contain simple carbohydrates.

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