Noise disturbs sleep. Even if you are sound asleep, your brain is still aware of what is going on around you and can hear noises. This is especially true in the latter half of the night when your sleep is lighter.
We all respond to different noises, so what wakes one person up might not wake up another. This is because what sound we respond to is based upon its personal and emotional meaning to us. So, a new mother might awaken from the sound of her baby crying, but not by loud traffic noise outside.
The noise that bothers us most is varying or sudden noise. Most people adjust to noise that is constant or consistent, like living by a freeway or airport. But variant noise (a barking dog, birds chirping, a noisy neighbor) can jolt you in your sleep, wake you up and you may not even remember in the morning that it happened. Nonetheless, it disturbs your sleep and you can wake up feeling tired even after several hours of sleep.
Moreover, the poorer you sleep, the more sensitive you will be to sound, so it is vital to keep your bedroom as noise-free as possible.
Ways to minimize noise:
- Close your windows if there is outside noise
- Wear ear plugs
- Use a sound machine (like rain or ocean waves)
- Put on relaxing sleep music (YouTube has hours of it for free)
- Use a fan or air conditioner (creates white noise)
White noise is a huge help for drowning out variant noise that comes from inside or outside your home. It creates a constant, ambient sound that masks other sounds, making it easier to sleep.
If you have a partner who snores and this is one reason why you can’t sleep, then you can urge your partner to get treatment for it. If your partner refuses to get help, you can ask him or her to sleep in another room. This may sound harsh or extreme, but this is not a small issue. Good sleep is vital to a happy and healthy life.
If you have a partner who moves around or gets up a lot and this is affecting your sleep, here are some things you can do:
- Use a separate sheet and blanket (which is also good if your body temperature differs from your partner)
- Get a larger bed or separate twin beds
Personal Tip: I use a California-King, Tempur-Pedic bed and pillow and I love it! I have had it for 14 years. It minimizes movement if you share your bed with someone. So when my wife shifts in her sleep or gets up in the night, I don’t feel it because the bed barely moves.
We also use separate blankets (we don’t use a top sheet), which prevents us from disturbing each other when we move about. I can also control my body temperature by using a heavier or lighter blanket than my wife. This tip won’t just help your sleep, it will help your relationship!
Make your bed comfortable.
A cozy, inviting bed is much more likely to make you look forward to sleep, creating a positive bed/sleep association. It’s important to choose the type of bed, pillow, and bedding that makes you most comfortable, such as firmness or softness of your mattress, thread count of sheets and types of fabrics. This is where you spend a third of your life, so it’s worth it to invest a little money to make it as comfortable as possible.
Make your bedroom an oasis for sleep.
The more inviting your bedroom is, the more it becomes associated with restfulness and calmness. The more peaceful your place of sleep feels, the more likely you will look forward to sleep and have a restful night. Here are some suggestions:
- Put up soothing photographs (a Caribbean beach, a waterfall, a desert) or keep your walls bare
- Use a warm or calming paint color
- Keep your room clean and uncluttered
- Remove all work/school-related items (e.g., books, desk)
- Keep electronics out (TV, computer, smartphone)
- Use scents like lavender, roses or jasmine (one study showed that smell can affect your dreams: more positive dreams with good smells, more negative dreams with unpleasant smells)