Our beds are a place of sanctuary: not only do we spend a third of our lifetime sleeping there, but they’re also a place we escape to - to relax, restore and revive body and soul. Since a good night’s sleep is just as essential as regular exercise and healthy foods, we thought we’d share what it takes for your eyes to shut and mind to peacefully relax after busy days.
There are more ways than one to improve your slumbers: increased exercise, time off your phone before bedtime and reduced caffeine intake. One contributor that we feel is too often overlooked is a truly exceptional bed, which in turn requires a little effort and love...
1. Keep your linens fresh
There are few things more enjoyable than waking up in freshly cleaned, soft bed linen. Fresh linen makes all the difference to the way you feel as you prepare for a good night's sleep, so no matter how painful, make sure you remove and wash your linen and mattress protector from the bed often enough. A 40ºC wash should be enough (washing your sheets on too hot a setting can damage the linen's fibres) for regular cleans, although you should ideally take sheets, pillowcases and mattress protectors for a thorough clean to your nearest eco-cleaner twice a year (for bulky items and for your convenience, we can come and pick up at your home).
How often should you clean your bedding? And how can you do it to make the linens last? For anyone needing extra tips (and some more motivation as to why you should clean your bedding regularly), we compiled a bed linen care guide.
2. Lavender can help improve your sleep
Lavender has many health benefits, and among them, we find that this lovely plant can help you go to sleep. The British Association of Nursing in Critical Care conducted a study in 2015 stating that lavender essential oil is an effective remedy for a restful night's sleep. The scent of lavender lowers blood pressure and heart rate, putting you in a relaxed state. You can either put a handful of dried lavender in a bowl of water in your bedroom, wash your bed linen with our health-friendly lavender fabric conditioner or use a diffuser with lavender essential oil to get some calm in your home.
3. Keep your sleep schedule consistent
If you struggle with going to sleep, try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. After several weeks, you may not even need an alarm. Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can aid long-term sleep quality. The body – as amazing as it is – likes habits, and gets used to waking up and falling asleep at specific times. Another thing that relates to this, which is very important to highlight is to stop taking daytime naps. While short power naps are beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep schedule. Sleeping in the daytime can confuse your internal clock, meaning that you may struggle to sleep at night.
4. Give new life to your mattress
Now, this might not be a direct tip for improving your sleep, but we’d thought it’s worth mentioning: clean your mattress! If you knew what makes it through to your mattress over time even if you have a mattress protector, we bet you would have a hard time falling asleep on it. Dust, skin particles, dust mites - these are a few of the things that have been accumulating in the indented areas of your mattress since you last cleaned it. Remove the mattress protector for washing, air the mattress for a little while (preferably in the sun with a handful of baking soda sprinkled over it), and then vacuum it all up using the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner - making sure you don't miss the previously mentioned indented areas which are a nest for the nasties. It's also good practice to flip your mattress over one season and rotate it (so the foot becomes the head and vice versa) the next. This will ensure a longer life, which is not a bad thing considering how much mattresses usually cost.
5. Turn your bedroom into a dreamy sleep oasis
A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote healthy sleep. To achieve such an environment, lower the volume of outside noise with earplugs or a "white noise" appliance. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block light, a powerful cue that tells the brain that it's time to wake up. Keep the temperature comfortably cool, and the room well ventilated. And make sure your bedroom is equipped with a comfortable mattress and pillows. After making your bedroom into a dreamy sleep oasis, make sure to set some ground rules:
- No phone in the bedroom
- No work equipment or other stress-related things to keep you from relaxing in the bedroom
- If you have a pet that wakes you up at night, consider keeping them outside the bedroom.