Posted on March 18 2020
You might not realise it, but World Sleep Day is observed annually on the Friday before the March Equinox. If you are wondering what this is, it is a day that recognizes the importance of a good night’s sleep for everyone in the world. Taking place before the March vernal spring equinox, World Sleep Day is also an occasion to review our night-time routines and consider making some amendments.
The Impact of Light
Light is hugely impactful on the body. Through the connections made through the eyes and the brain’s biological timeframe, lighting influences the chemistry and behaviour and keep us in functioning with the pattern of our day.
Consider this: humans have evolved from being outside, where they have been exposed to light beginning with the rising sun. In the modern world, we spend lots more time inside, but sunlight still aids us in regulating our sleep patterns.
When you wake up in the morning, exposure to natural daylight alerts the brain and gets you up and running. Then, when it’s time to unwind, factors such as having blinds in the bedroom, being comfortable, having quality bedding or even wearing an eye mask can help you immerse yourself in complete darkness. As you awake, pull your blinds and eye mask back to bathe the room in glorious sunlight and let the cycle start again. Before you begin the day, spend some time in the light, try to remember to give your body doses of sun throughout the day where you can.
If you need to wake before the sun comes up, you can find dawn-simulating lights or possibly use lighting to assist with seasonal affective disorder these are very helpful through the winter when the sun comes up later in the day.
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The Sleep Environment
The bedroom environment can have a huge impact on your sleep quality and quantity. There are a few, key variables that come together to make up the sleep environment, this includes light, noise, and temperature. By having attuned factors during your sleeping time in this environment, will put you at ease, and eliminate those that could cause stress or distraction, you can prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep.
We’ve already touched on how light impacts your internal sleep patterns and that too much light at night can shift our internal clock and makes restful sleep difficult to achieve. To decrease this impact, nightlights in the home and bedroom can be utilised. As for noise levels, background noise may relax certain people, but generally, the volume level should be low. Otherwise, increased frequency of awakenings could prevent transitions to the deeper levels of sleep. Research indicates that the optimum temperature range for sleeping varies significantly from individuals, so much so that there is no specific ideal temperature to produce optimal sleeping patterns, it’s highly subjective. People simply sleep best at the temperature that works for them!
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