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Top Ten Sleep Disturbances – #3 Sleeping Environment

Written by Heather Johnson, RN
Resource Nurse, Empira

Sleeping on cloud.jpeg

Have you ever thought about how your environment (what you are wearing, the mattress or surface you are sleeping on, the pillow and blankets that you use) can affect your sleep?

It can contribute to either a great night’s sleep, or one that falls very short and is far less restorative than you would like to think.  When it comes to creating the right environment to put our bodies into the best restorative sleep possible, there are a number of practices and suggestions that we can adopt, no matter our age.

The Sleep Health Foundation, The Better Sleep Council, and National Sleep Foundation offer great advice and suggestions.  Here are some of the following that have been found to be successful:

  • As much as possible, keep the bedroom set up and environment as familiar to the individual as possible. Muscle memory and feelings of familiarity and security are important when thinking about creating an environment that is relaxing.
  • A warm bed and a cooler room are best. The Better Sleep Council suggests that 65 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
  • Having a comfortable mattress and surface to sleep on is important. Check the manufacturer’s guide for life expectancy of the mattress. Check to see if it should be flipped and how often.
  • Find the right pillow for you.  Soft?  Medium? Firm?  If you are not at home, bring your own.
  • Create a relaxing environment.  Use essential oils that promote relaxation and rest such as lavender and bergamot.  Use a diffuser, or in a spray to diffuse on a pillow or blanket.
  • Provide a warm blanket that has been sprayed with a relaxing and calming oil.
  • Get rid of clutter in the bedroom. Think of your bedroom as your sanctuary; where you can escape the business of the day that is inviting and comfortable.
  • Get rid of blankets and bedding that are scratchy and uncomfortable against your skin.  If you are hanging onto the old wool blanket that your great aunt passed down, maybe use it another way instead of having it on your bed.
  • Choose a calming color for the walls. Neutral colors, muted tones, and pastels can help you to wind down at the end of the day and make any space feel calmer.
  • Think about the quality of your bedding; thread count and what appeals to you in the softness of the fabric.  Try different bedding, and remember that the functionality of the bedding should outweigh the looks and style.
  • Sleep in pajamas that are comfortable and fitting for you.
  • Always, always ensure that your path to the bathroom in unobstructed and clear, and if using a night light consider an amber colored bulb.

The sleep environment is simply the space in which you attempt to sleep. In most cases, this means your bedroom.  Make your bedroom and your bed, an inviting place to be; dress appropriately for the part.

“Sleep is an investment in the energy you need to be effective tomorrow.” ~ Tom Rath



Evidence-Based Design Meets Evidence-Based Medicine: The sound sleep study.  The Center for Health Design Research Coalition.  Harvard Medical School, 2010.  Retrieved from:

The Better Sleep Council: BedTimes Magazine 2018/04. Retrieved from on July 27, 2018.

The Sleep Health Foundation: Retrieved from on July 26, 2018.

National Sleep Foundation: What is sleep hygiene?  Retrieved from:  https on July 27, 2018.

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