The modern lifestyle is filled with work, exercise, social engagements and lots and lots of screen time. But that’s not great news for our quality of sleep. Although many of us grew up with the idea that sleeping was a sign of laziness, the latest scientific research is now showing us that missing out on sleep is not only bad for our mood, but can also cause significant damage to our health.
Let’s take a closer look at what missing out on shut-eye means for our wellbeing, and what you can do at home to improve your sleep patterns.
50% of people in the UK are thought to suffer from significant sleep problems, while a huge 75% admit to waking up exhausted on a regular basis. This is thought to be related to the fact that nearly two-thirds of the UK population sleep for less than the recommended 8 hours a night.
While exercise and nutrition are popular topics in the media today and people invest huge sums each year on the latest diets, gym memberships and training plans, sleep often goes untreated. Yet poor sleep can cause many problems in society. For example:
- 25% of all UK road traffic accidents are attributed to fatigue or sleep deprivation
- 15% of people worldwide suffer from insomnia, which is known to be the single biggets predictor of depression
- Sleep medication currently costs the NHS £15 million each year
Getting adequate sleep is vital to the preservation of good health, and the cost of sleepless nights adds up to more than just short term sleep deprivation. Those who regularly suffer from poor sleep are statistically at a higher risk of serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and Alzheimer’s.
The good news is that there is plenty you can do at home to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. From walking through the door after a hard day at work until the moment your head hits the pillow, everything you do and every room you visit can be used to improve the chances of a restful night’s sleep.
Read on to discover our top tips for optimising your entire apartment for better sleep.
The lighting in your apartment can have a major influence on sleep length and quality. In fact, with a few positive changes it is possible to recalibrate your sleep patterns completely. Controlling your exposure to light is an important part of this process, particularly in the living area where you will spend most of your waking time at home.
At night, the use of ambient lighting will have a dramatic effect on your ‘winding down’ routine. Mood lighting (use the dimmer switch if you have one) is most effective after 8pm, and when used with controlled temperatures (a slightly cool room temperature of 18°C with good ventilation is thought to work best), you can stimulate the production of sleep hormone melatonin and still enjoy your evening. Draw the curtains after this time, too, because exposure to harsh, artificial lighting from outside can make it more difficult for you to wind down.
At night-time you should also make an effort to reduce exposure to television, laptop, tablet and smartphone screens. If you have to work or simply can’t do without your tech, alter the brightness on your TV and choose devices that have smaller screens instead. It is advisable to avoid using technology with bright screens within one to two hours of your bedtime.
There is also now an array of gadgetry available on the market that can help to alter your exposure to artificial light in other ways. F.lux is just one piece of software that alters screen brightness to match your indoor lighting. It dials down the blue light at night, which is the colour that makes us feel wide awake. Did we also mention that it is free to use!
Just as important to falling asleep is how you feel when you wake up. Completing the sleep-wake cycle can be done by managing your morning routine carefully. Opening the curtains in your living room as soon as you are dressed can help you to feel revitalised and full of energy by the time you leave the apartment for work.
If the weather permits and you are fortunate enough to have a Quartermile apartment with a balcony or terrace, breakfasting outside is a sure-fire way to set the right tone for the rest of the day.
As the centre of your sleepy home haven, your bedroom requires special attention when it comes to creating the best environment for achieving those coveted eight hours of sleep per night. Banishing technology from the bedroom is a simple and great step towards better sleep, and by saying no to late night TV, phone, laptop and tablet usage you can let the production of sleep hormone melatonin rise to optimum levels.
Opt for relaxing activities just before bedtime, like listening to music or an audio book. Taking a shower or a bath can also help you to relax and this will prepare you nicely for sleep. Your melatonin levels can be upped further by your choice of soft furnishings, so consider this during your next bedroom makeover. Blackout blinds or curtains are great investments as they ensure that no light makes it through to disrupt your slumber.
Your bed should also be at the centre of improvements and simple things like changing the sheets on a regular basis and investing in better quality, more supportive pillows can make a big difference to enhancing the effectiveness of your bedtime routine in your very own sleep sanctuary.
In addition to this, remember to replace your mattress every 5 to 7 years. According to findings gathered by the Furniture Industry Research Association, the quality of the average bed frame and mattress can deteriorate by as much as 70% within a 10-year period. Without regular replacement you will enjoy significantly less comfort and support where you need it most. Although, the cost of a good mattress can seem eye-watering at times, it is important to remember that if you spend a third of your life lying on it (as most of us do), it is potentially the most important purchase you will ever make in your home.
You may not think that the colour scheme in your home has a lot to do with your sleep patterns, but this isn’t strictly true. In actual fact, the walls, ceiling and floor of your home can be important in creating a calming, tranquil atmosphere.
You certainly don’t have to make your apartment a boring and bland place – vibrant colours and individual touches always have a role to play. However, it is worth remembering that neutral tones like taupe, grey, beige, cream and white may be more appropriate in the bedrooms. Utilising natural textures in regards to your choice of soft furnishings and furniture is also thought to have an impact on just how soothing your décor is. Natural textures are stylish and beautiful additions to any home, and can be applied to every room in some form or another.
Looking for a new luxury apartment to turn into your own sanctuary this year? Why not book an appointment at Quartermile today and view the latest release at Meadows Point.