Cool and Dark: Your Mantra for Getting a Really Good Night's Sleep
Many sleep guru's advise dark cave-like rooms with cool temperature, but achieving this in the real world is a little more challenging. Here are some practical steps you can take to getting your bedroom cool and dark.
Sleep Specialists Dr. Mitchell G. Proffman; James A. Voketaitis MFA, explain in their new eBook, DEEP SLEEP NATURALLY: Natural Solutions to a Good Night's Sleep, how important darkness and temperature are to allow one's body to produce Melatonin, the natural body chemical that helps get us to sleep.
They go on to say that setting up your bedroom to be as dark as possible (ideally pitch black) and running it at a cool temperature are sure fire ways to ensure you get a good night's sleep. My own experience is that I find it is not so easy to achieve the cave-like settings in a modern home. Here is one man's story as he goes in quest of getting a good nights sleep and the ultimate sleep environment.
Read on and see if you also relate or can benefit from the adventures of this sleep warrior and find out how to have a good sleep.
The Sleep Warrior's quest for perfect sleeping conditions
Living in North Carolina I employ a number of strategies throughout the year to achieve optimal conditions. NC is sub-tropical, and during the winter months the outside air temperature is low enough to allow sleep with the window open, no bugs and outside temperatures between 30F and 56F, which means fresh, cool air into the bedroom.
Cooler bedroom temperatures, helps reduce snoring
My wife and I have discovered that cool temperatures also reduce our snoring bouts so we both get a better night's sleep. Typically we run our bedroom at below 69F and use more blankets for body warmth, but the air on our face and nose is cooler - this helps with our breathing and as the doctors say helps melatonin production.
How to get the bedroom cold in winter and keep the rest of the house warm?
I block and shut off the heating vents and air conditioning inlets to stop warm air entering the room, but of course we want other living areas and bathrooms to stay warm during the winter so it is just the bedroom where we stop the heat.I cannot actually switch off heating to a single room so I shut of the vents or cover them with towels, any way to stop the heat entering the room.
During late spring summer through to late fall, North Carolina is hot and humid outside 84F and 80%+ Humidity. If you open a window without a screen you will be eaten by the bugs. Also the air temp is so muggy that an open window takes an inside room up to 84F so we will die if we don't have good flow of AC going (thank that person who invented AC) so in the summer we use air conditioning to get the room cold. Cool it one side of the good night's sleep coin - darkness is the other.
Blocking light, the perfectionist way
I am a Virgo with a perfectionist streak, so in my quest for the perfect dark room to get a good night's sleep, I used a guest room as the test experimental area.
This room has the least amount of window space out of all our bedrooms rooms. I have converted it into a near total black out. To achieve this, I switch off all electrical items or better remove them all - I have no electrical clocks, no light sources of any kind, on permanently. It is actually quite a challenge to achieve this, you need to get everything out of the room or purchase specialist equipment such as dark clocks. Door seals need to be added if light can enter from any part of the door with a seal of some type under the door. This particular room opens to a dark hallway so there is not much light entering.
That left two challenges, the window and the smoke detector.
Ridding yourself of unwanted light
You can go to the extent of getting light blocking curtains, or even shutters but both are expensive options I go simple. I use black builder's paper, or black card/paper from the art store with good old black duct tape and I sealed the entire window then hidden that behind a blind (downside is that during the winter you cannot get the fresh exterior air so it is a trade off between fresh air and darkness). Other downside, no light during the day in that room, but hey, it is only a sleeping room.
Now with no external light there's just one remaining challenge - the smoke detector. It has a green Light Emitting Diode (LED typically that red green or blue light on anything electrical these days). Mine is green when it is working and a red one when it is time to change the battery. This is a major problem for the sleep warrior because in an all dark room a green LED appears very bright.
Now I do not advocate tampering with the smoke detector in any which way or form. They are far too important, so if anybody has a detector brand, one that has no LED's or optional LED's, do let me know as this is the last piece of my totally, perfectly dark room.
Luckily the smoke detector in this particular room is above the entrance door way and set back in an alcove and it is possible to position the bed so the LED light source is partially hidden around the corner - still I am on the search to rid myself of this little green light.
Also while I was able to achieve an almost pure dark room in the guest room, my own bedroom is more of a challenge because it has a glass door, a window above the door, a larger window area, a bathroom door, glass bricks in the bathroom with outside all night security, and street lighting pouring in and that bedroom has a smoke detector with yet another annoying green LED.
There is a fast way to get the room dark
Luckily there is an alternative to taping up your windows and throwing out all your electrical goods that requires no work on your part and that is to wear a sleep mask over your eyes to black the unwanted light.
A cool, dark sleeping environment is the perfect condition to nurture a good night's sleep.
You can get instant darkness with a good quality sleep mask or you can go to more lengthy measures to rid your bedroom of unwanted light.
Sleep Note: By the way Dr. Mitchell G. Proffman; James A. Voketaitis MFA, neweBook, DEEP SLEEP NATURALLY: Natural Solutions to a Good Night's Sleep will go on sale at DreamEssentials.com in the near future. It is packed with very good advice on just how to sleep better.