• Creating a Better Sleep Space

  • by Lauren Russell

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average senior (older than 65) should get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Those who are age 26-64 should get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If that sounds like a tremendous amount of sleep to you, you may be one of the many people who are sleep deprived.

There are a number of reasons why you aren’t getting enough sleep; however, not having a dark enough space shouldn’t be one of them. Why? Because, most of the time, you can control that – or at least make it better. If you don’t know how, we’re here to help. Read on to learn a few ways to make your bedroom darker and more welcoming for sleep.

Blackout curtains: I have an overly cautious neighbor, who has extremely sensitive – and bright – motion detectors hooked up to her garage – the garage I can see from my bedroom window. The slightest breeze can set my entire room aglow at night. Blackout curtains were one of the first items I bought when I moved in. and they make a world of difference. They completely block out the light from my neighbor’s house. Another benefit is that they block out the draft and the sunlight. Just make sure these curtains fit your windows, so the light doesn’t come through the cracks.

Window tint: Window tint is not just for cars. It is a great idea to block the suns harmful – and hot – rays from getting into the home. If you want a little more shade, get your windows tinted. This will help you sleep in a little longer during the time of year the sun rises earlier.

Electronics: Not only are electronics distracting you from your sleep, they are also contributing to the light in your room. Shut off your electronics inside your bedroom. If you cannot turn them off because of an alarm or for safety reasons, at least cover them to keep the light out and put them on the lowest volume necessary.

Noise: Speaking of volume. Turn off anything that causes noise or drown it out with better noise. My husband cannot sleep without a fan on. It isn’t for the breeze; it is for the noise. I used to be against it, but one night, I turned the fan on to drown out my 12-year-old’s slumber party and it worked like a charm! If you don’t want the cool breeze from a fan blowing on you, there are phone apps that play the sound of a fan. You can also try a white noise machine. If the sounds of nature calm you and help you sleep, purchase a CD of those sounds and play it to help you sleep.

Scent: The best scents to help you relax and sleep are chamomile, jasmine, and lavender. Dab a few drops of essential oils on your body before you go to sleep, spray a scented mist on your sheets, or add the scents to a nice, relaxing bath before you go to bed. You could also use an air freshener in your room or some potpourri with those specific scents. Whatever you do, do not burn a candle or light incense. You should never have an open flame or anything burning left unattended while you sleep. That is a major fire hazard.

Sleep is important for your health, your energy, and your mood. By making simple adjustments in your home and in your life, you’ll be drastically adjusting these three components of your daily life. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night to look and feel your best.