What’s Your Sleep Utopia?
Each of us have our own version of utopia or imagined place where everything is tantamount to perfection.
Perhaps you long for Thomas More’s radical conception of Utopia, free of standing armies, private property, alehouses and time wasters. Or maybe you’re a Marxist (however much Marx would have winced at the suggestion that he was a ‘utopian’), and view humanity as inevitably moving towards a classless, stateless, equal society.
Then again, you may view any form of utopia with suspicion or contempt, considering any societal ideal as susceptible to corruption and broken promises. In which case, you prefer to regard society’s priority as similar to that of a ship with no apparent destination, merely attempting to remain afloat amidst turbulent storms and unpredictable weather. Nonetheless, whatever you may say, we’ve all had hopes/dreams of what the future might hold.
But political systems aside, have you ever imagined your perfect sleeping arrangement before?
In other words, if you were able to design your ideal bedroom – from the bed sheets, to the temperature, to the very purpose of the room – what would you hope for to ensure that you received the highest quality sleep that you possibly could?
There are obvious reasons why so many have previously refused to accept the idea of a ‘realistic’ utopia. Too expensive. Unworkable. Idealistic. And indeed, utopias are by their very definition, an imagined place styled upon perfection, arguably unsuited to humanity.
Your bedroom however, is one place that you can create your very own utopia. And, assuming your overall aim is to make your bedroom the ultimate sleep hangout, we know pretty much how to do it.
Below are four things you could do to make your very own, sleep utopia:
- The Bedroom is Devoted to Sleep (and Sex): It’s pivotal you prioritise your bedroom as a place of rest, and little else. Work, Netflix and so forth, if you are to ensure your mind associates your bedroom with rest, those activities beyond sleep need to be relocated to elsewhere in the home. In the case of watching something on your phone or laptop for example, this could be preventing you from lowering your heart-rate and entering a more peaceful frame of mind, due to the intensity of the programme you happen to be watching. What’s more, the villain that is ‘blue light’ – the light given out by your phone or laptop – will be suppressing the release of melatonin, the hormone responsible for aiding in your sleep. So, perhaps a declutter is in order, and one that prioritises sleep, and not just cleanliness.
- The Dark Night: Dr. Catherine Darley, a naturopathic sleep specialist at The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine in the United States, says that making your bedroom as dark as possible, encourages restful sleep, thereby advocating “light blocking shades, no LEDs on electronics, and no lit clock” in the bedroom. For Dr. Darley, we should be aiming for our very own ‘Sleep Cave‘ – dark, quiet and no electronic devices emitting some form of light.
- A New Lick of Paint: A study conducted in collaboration with Travelodge back in 2013, found that those sleeping in rooms decorated in ‘calm’ colours, like blue or yellow, received the longest night’s sleep, on average. For instance, those sleeping in blue rooms slept for two hours longer, than those taking rest in a purple room.
- Keep It Cool: Did you know that before going to sleep, your body temperature decreases in order to facilitate sleep, to as low as 16 – 18°C (60-65°F)? Temperatures over 24°C (71°F) in fact, have been suggested to cause restlessness, lighter sleeps, and more frequent awakenings. Therefore, making sure your bedroom’s cool (in both senses of the word) is essential to providing you with better sleep. There’s many ways to do this of course, and don’t worry, you won’t have to install smart AC in your home. Try for example, keeping your window open during the day (especially a couple of hours before bedtime), or getting your hands on a cooling fan, all whilst keeping a thermometer in your bedroom. Or even, why not try changing your bed sheets? Linen bedding for instance, breathes particularly well and has a natural cooling effect.
“A map of the world that does not include Utopia,” wrote Oscar Wilde, “is not worth even glancing at…”
Absolutely, in this day and age, it’s no easy task to be optimistic about politics, the economy or the future in general. But that doesn’t mean we have to allow such gloom-ridden thoughts to enter a place as essential or pivotal to our well-being as our bedroom.
Because believe it or not, the perfect bedroom, and consequently a better sleep, are possible.