Sunday, 29 January 2017
INTERIORS: A new bedroom
I will freely admit that I am a tiredyhead. I am that person who falls asleep on the couch at house parties, dozes off every time I'm on a long car journey (as long as I'm not driving, obvs), and has a list as long as my arm of films I've missed the last half an hour of due to the alluring call of the Land of Nod. I once fell asleep at a friend's gig. Sleep is my bae.
But, interestingly, since we moved house in December, my tiredyhead status is nowhere near as bad as it was. I'm sleeping a lot better, and as a result, I'm less tired.
You see, this is something Matt and I noticed when we were living with my parents for most of last year. We tried to be considerate to my parents (they were helping us buy a house, after all), so didn't want to be under their feet all the time, which meant that we spent most of our time in our room. We'd come home, eat dinner, then spend the rest of the night - from, say, 7pm onwards - lying on our bed, watching Netflix, reading or on the laptop. We'd often be ready for bed by 9pm because we were just tired all the time.
There's actually a good reason for this - your bed is supposed to be for sleeping. By using it as our sofa, our desk and sometimes even our table, we messed with that balance and rarely had a good night's sleep. And since moving, we really only use our bed for sleeping. We don't have a TV in our bedroom, and we rarely even take the iPad upstairs to watch TV on any more. And it's made all the difference.
I'm not just imagining this, either. The chaps at Tempur mattresses have actually done some research on sleep behaviours and found that keeping a regular bedtime will help you sleep better, and if you can't sleep after 15 minutes, you're better to get out of bed. So imagine what sitting under the covers all evening does to your sleep patterns! And there's other factors that make a difference, such as what you eat - did you know that walnuts and cherries can help you sleep? Cotton sheets help, and unsurprisingly alcohol and coffee don't.
I think, though, that there are various factors that definitely affect me. I know that alcohol does - I usually find that I fall asleep instantly, but wake up several hours before I want to and doze restlessly for the rest of the night, which always ruins me the next day. I struggle to get to sleep if I'm too hot or cold, and while I'm not particularly light-sensitive, I'm very noise-sensitive. Our radiator wakes me up without fail every morning, and I always keep earplugs by my bedside table in case a noise starts bothering me (I always travel with them, too).
From my experience, these are some aspects that help me get to sleep and stay asleep:
- Good quality sheets
We recently threw away a fitted sheet because we kept waking up and finding that it had pinged off the corner of the mattress. Sleeping on a wrinkled surface was actually waking me up at night - and there's no fixing that. If you have a dodgy sheet, get rid. I recently spent a bit more on a good quality sheet (from TK Maxx, let's not get crazy) and it's such a difference.
- Upgrade your duvet
A couple of weeks after Matt and I first moved in together, he spent a couple of nights away for work. I'd never slept in the flat without him, and was convinced that I'd sleep horribly my first night alone. But when he returned, we both admitted that we'd slept amazingly. And, most infuriatingly, was that I proved him right. I woke up absolutely cocooned in our duvet. I DO steal it, after all! But there's a solution to those half-asleep duvet wars. We still have a double bed, but we upgraded our duvet to a king size. It's helped so much.
- Switch your duvet
Because your snuggly 13 tog king size duvet is great in January, but not so much in July. We switch up to a smaller, thinner duvet for warmer months.
- A bedtime routine
A friend of mine once said she 'puts herself to bed' much like you would a child. A hot bath, warm milk, and even time for reading a story - except for grownups, that means an hour's reading time. It resonated with me. While I don't stick to the bath and the milk rule, I've been trying to go to bed at roughly the same time every night, and reading for half an hour or so before I go to sleep, rather than faffing on my phone. I always sleep better when I do this.
- Work out what wakes you up
Like I said earlier, for me it's noise. I can fall asleep with the lights on full blast, and I cheerfully lived for a year without curtains a while ago, so it's definitely not light. But I sleep lightly, and the slightest noise will wake me up. Now, if there's something bothering me, I just submit to the earplugs I keep by my bed. I don't use them most nights - I actually really don't want to become reliant on them - but if there's an unfamiliar sound or if I'm sleeping in a hotel, having them there makes all the difference.
- Your bed is for sleeping
...and nothing else, apart from reading and, er, cuddling.
What are your top tips for a good night's sleep?
This post is in conjunction with Tempur® but all thoughts are my own.
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