8 Tips for a Bedroom That Gives You 8 Hours of Quality Sleep
- Aug 24, 2017
If you have trouble falling asleep, find yourself waking up often at night or feeling tired even after getting a full night of rest, you are probably not getting proper quality sleep.
Quality sleep isn’t as much based on the number of hours you’re snoozing – although adults generally require about seven to nine hours – but rather the environment in which you’re sleeping in.
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Here are 8 tips to create a conducive slumber sanctuary for sleeping.
1. Choose the right mattress (and pillow!)
The mattress takes up the largest part of the bedroom, and is your most important investment in the space. There is a wide variety of options in the market, so do due diligence to find out which type is the best for you.
Here’s a general guide to follow, courtesy of Michelle Anne Ng, marketing manager from Simmons (SEA):
Memory Foam: Great if you want your mattress to mould into your body shape. Helps to reduce pressure points.
Latex Foam: This natural foam can be used to improve sleep by promoting air circulation.
Hybrid (Latex & Memory Foam): Combines the best of both worlds.
Pillow-top: Choose this if you prefer a softer, cushioning feel.
Pocketed Coil: Each spring coil is pre-compressed individually. Suitable if you’re sleeping with a partner as it will help to minimise movements.
Gel Layer: The gel is infused into the top layer of the mattress and is mainly used for temperature management.
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When it’s time to get a new one, always try the mattress by lying down on it for a good five to 15 minutes in a comfortable sleeping position. If you’re getting a mattress with your partner, make sure to test it with him or her. Michelle also advises not to choose a new mattress firmness that is too different from your existing one. “This is to allow your body to adjust properly into the new comfort level.”
Pillows are just as important however. While a pillow isn’t as large a commitment as say, a mattress, it is still an important bedroom accessory that will impact the quality of your sleep.
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The process of choosing a suitable pillow is similar to choosing a mattress. Try it out by lying down on your usual sleeping position. If you can, you should try out the pillow on the mattress you’re intending to purchase. If not, lean the pillow against a wall and test it out. Make sure the pillow isn’t too hard, too soft, too high or too low.
Back sleepers should look for a pillow with an extra hump at the bottom of the pillow to support your neck, while side sleepers should get a firmer pillow for better support. Ask yourself if the pillow provides you with a good spinal alignment (neck aligned with spine).
Keep in mind pillow material. Opt for one that provides a good air flow so as to keep you cool at night. Memory foam, while ensuring a good support for your neck, isn’t the best material if you want to keep cool.
2. Don’t neglect your bed frame
A good bed frame isn’t just for aesthetics, it’s also the foundation for your mattress to rest on. Getting a good bed frame (whether off-the-rack or custom-made) can go a long way in creating a comfortable environment for sleep, seeing as it will help to maximise the qualities of your mattress.
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Michelle from Simmons advises getting one that has a centre support, particularly if you’re getting a queen or king-sized mattress, so as to prevent bowing in the middle. Alternatively, choose a solid flat base board that supports all sides of the bed.
3. Finding the right temperature
Generally, you sleep better in a cooler environment than a warmer one. The ideal temperature for sleeping hovers around 20 to 22 deg C, said Dr Shirish Johari, a Principal Resident Physician at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, in a Straits Times article.
However, it’s more important to sleep in a temperature that is comfortable for you – one that is neither too cold or too hot. This right temperature differs from individual to individual. Make sure you aren’t shivering or sweating for a deep, restful sleep.
4. Scent your space
Our sense of smell has significant influence on our mood, our metabolism, our hormone responses, as well as our alertness and restfulness. According to Dr Peter Minke, a member of Young Living's Scientific Advisory Council, we can create a (bedroom) environment that can either positively or negatively influence our physiological processes through different scents.
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Dr Minke recommends scents from floral sources like rose oils or lavender oils if you're keen to create a more relaxing vibe in your bedroom. Conversely, scents from leaf sources tend to be more stimulating. "If you're not a fan of floral scents, citrus oils such as orange, lemon or tangerine can be relaxing without being too stimulating."
When sourcing for essential oils, make sure you're getting the real deal - look for authentic plant-derived pure essential oils. "Our body is designed to respond to natural aromas even in small quantities, and can be tricked or even overpowered by synthetic preparations, sometimes labelled and sold as essential oils," advises Dr Minke.
He suggests using an ultrasonic diffuser or a cold air diffuser to diffuse scents from essential oils. The former vibrates water into vapour then carries essential oils into the air, while the latter forces air through the essential oils and then atomises it into tiny droplets. For the ultrasonic method, you will only require five to 15 drops of essential oil and its diffusion can last over several hours.
5. Separate the work zone
Your bedroom should be a restful sanctuary meant for unwinding and relaxing. In a perfect world, you would keep your home office or working station away from the bedroom in another room. But with homes in Singapore so small as they are, having your home office in another room isn't always a choice.
If your work station is located within your bedroom, make sure it is kept separated from the bed. This prevents distractions – in either the work or sleeping zone – and it eases your mind into a stress-free mode for a good night’s sleep.
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6. Invest in mood lighting
Lighting has a huge role in creating the right bedroom environment for relaxing. According to Sandra Teh, Head of Marketing for Philips Lighting Singapore, Malaysia and Exports, light has a profound impact on regulating the human body’s 24-hour circadian rhythm, playing a critical role in how people wake up and fall asleep
She recommends going for soft and warm LED ambient lights to create an intimate and comfortable ambience. “The recommended colour temperature range [for a bedroom] is 2700 to 3000 Kelvin,” says Sandra. “A lower colour temperature produces a warmer, more relaxing light which will make your bedroom feel cosy and relaxing.” However, if you like to read before bedtime, restrict cool LED lights to your bedside lamps or wall fixtures.
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Dimmers are great options for the bedroom, as it is an area of the home where control over lighting is essential to create conducive environments for different tasks. However, if you don’t wish to have excessive wiring that often comes with a dimmer, Philips Hue Dimmer Switch is a great alternative. The dimmer, which only works with Philips Hue lights, doesn’t require any wiring or installation, and can be placed anywhere in your bedroom.
TIPS FOR LAYERING LIGHTS IN A BEDROOM: Think about lighting in a series of layers: general light, ambient light and accent light. General light requires a good level of illumination and is needed for purposes like making the bed and dressing up. Ambient lights, in the form of floor or table lamps, are lower levels of lighting needed for relaxing and getting ready for sleep. Accent lights, like cove lights, help to keep the lights in the bedroom well balanced.
7. Turn out the lights
Mood lights are essential for creating a relaxing mood, helping you unwind and de-stress just before bed time, especially useful if you have been working prior. However, when it comes to sleeping, a completely dark room is best.
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Our body is affected by light and a completely dark room tells our body that it’s time to sleep. With Singapore being the most light polluted city in the world, having a pitch-black bedroom is an enviable dream. Our bedroom window faces a constant stream of light and an incessant glow from street lamps, vehicles and neighbouring buildings. If you have trouble keeping out unnatural light sources, invest in blackout shades or curtains.
Keep out other artificial light sources in the bedroom, including those that come from technology as these can suppress melatonin levels in our body, which are needed to help us relax and get ready for sleep. Keep your smart devices switched off (with the WIFI and data turned off so you won’t get disturbed by late-night texts from your night owl friend).
8. Splurge on sheets
Finally, don’t overlook the importance of bed linens in helping you get better 8 hours of quality sleep. After all, they are our closest point of contact when we're sleeping.
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When shopping for sheets, look out for things like thread counts, type of material and weaving design.
While high thread counts (number of threads woven into one square inch) are considered more luxurious, keep in mind that many bedding manufacturers have different ways to count the number of threads, so a higher thread count isn’t always a guarantee of premium quality. Be suspicious when the number goes beyond 400, as there are only so many pieces of thread that can fit a square inch. High thread counts, while lush, can also be quite warm as they don’t allow as much air circulation.
When choosing sheets, also consider weaving designs like percale or sateen play a role. The former is favoured for its breathability, which is necessary for humid environments like Singapore. The latter, while more wrinkle-resistant, does not breathe as well.
Material-wise, go for luxury ones like real Egyptian cotton (they are plenty of knock-offs in the market), which are incredibly soft and comfortable yet also durable. Linen is also a good choice thanks to being lightweight, and it’s a material that gets softer with each wash.
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