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7 steps to better sleep

There are seven factors that play a significant role in your night-time sleep quality, which in turn affects your energy, health, and happiness the following day.

A pair of feet wearing bright red trainers lies on top of a pile of crisp white pillows, with a lamp in the background.

Step 1 – Care for comfort

The first one, comfort, is the most important factor. A comfortable bed, a pillow that suits your sleeping position and the right duvet are vital for good sleep. Whether you should have a firm or a soft mattress comes down to your sleeping position. Choosing a pillow is also very personal. Your pillow should suit your taste but also your sleeping position and go well with your mattress.

A small child with long blonde hair lies back on a soft pillow. There is a fluffy eye-mask on the child’s head.

Step 2 – Block out light

Block-out curtains and blinds can make a big difference by keeping natural light and city lights out. If nothing else works, an eye mask will do the job. Another thing to consider is the colour of the light. Warm light is the best option as you are getting ready to sleep. A dimmable bulb where you can change the warmth of the light can be a really good investment. And try to make your bedroom a screen-free zone as electronic devices radiate blue light that tricks our bodies into thinking it’s time to wake up and makes falling asleep harder.

Step 3 – Keep your bedroom cool

Temperature is the next factor to consider. The ideal bedroom temperature is between 16 and 17° C. However a good guideline is to keep the temperature anywhere you feel comfortable between 13 and 20° C.

In a calm-looking bedroom, a bearded man sits cross-legged on a bed in a meditation pose, looking out the window.

Step 4 – Block out sounds

In a perfect world, your bedroom should be an oasis of calm. A place away from unwanted and intrusive sounds that can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Keeping sound out can be a real challenge. Soft furnishings, like heavy curtains and thick carpets help to isolate the bedroom and also dampen vibrations.

Step 5 – Improve your air quality

In many parts of the world, keeping your home free from pollution is a big issue. And since we spend so much time in bed, it’s more important in the sleeping area. A fan, an air conditioning unit, an air purifier or some green plants (preferably aloe vera or a spider plant) can make a big difference. It’s also important to make sure that the air in your sleeping area isn’t too humid. Too much humidity prevents moisture evaporating from our body, making us feel uncomfortably hot and sticky.

A woman with red hair is standing in a bedroom trying out different paint colours by painting lines on a white wall.

Step 6 – Create a calming oasis

Colours affect our mind in different ways. The best, as in the most relaxing, bedroom colours are blue, yellow and green. The least favourable alternative for good sleep? Purple. When it comes to furnishings in the bedroom it’s easy. Keep it simple and keep the clutter under control. The less clutter you have, the likelier it is that you will sleep well. And feel good when you wake up.

Step 7 – Stay away from coffee. And cigarettes.

It’s well known that the caffeine in coffee makes sleep more difficult. Even a single cup of coffee in the afternoon might be enough to make it virtually impossible to fall asleep. Alcohol, on the other hand, relaxes your body and slows down your nervous system. Good, right? No. Because your body may have to spend the entire night dealing with the negative effects of alcohol. So instead of getting a fair chance to rest, it has to work. Since alcohol also relaxes your throat muscles, it makes you more prone to snoring. The nicotine in tobacco also affects your body in many ways. Like alcohol, it tends to prevent your body from totally relaxing. This often means smokers have a harder time falling and staying asleep.