Scottish Daily Mail

Stop your bedroom wrecking your sleep



IF YOU like lighting scented candles in the evening, don’t choose lemon, peppermint or rosemary, as these may be stimulatin­g rather than relaxing, according to the U.S. National Sleep Foundation. The best sleep-enhancing scent seems to be lavender, with small studies suggesting it lowers heart rate and blood pressure, possibly putting the body in a more relaxed state for sleep. But for safety’s sake, make sure you blow out any candles before you turn in.


THREAD count is the number of threads per square inch in a sheet. Higher thread count sheets are more expensive, but a 2016 study by bedding company Caspar put sensors on people sleeping under different sheets and found the higher the thread count, the worse people slept, possibly as they trapped air and humidity. Caspar suggest the ideal ‘breathable’ sheet has a 400 thread count.


YOUR bed should be a minimum of 6ft wide for two adults to sleep in comfortabl­y, says sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley. This means that even a king size bed (at 5ft) is too small for two. A standard single bed is usually 3ft with so if two of you are sharing a standard double (4ft 6in wide) you each have sleeping space nine inches smaller.


PEOPLE with blue bedrooms get the longest night’s sleep, with an average of seven hours 52 minutes a night, according to a 2013 survey of 2,000 adults. By contrast, those in purple bedrooms recorded the worst night’s sleep, averaging five hours and 56 minutes. The blue effect may simply be because it’s a calming colour. Avoid orange or red walls — an NHS advice report on lighting and hospital design suggested these colours increase stress and anxiety and are more likely to make skin itch (possibly because they remind us of inflamed skin).


SLEEPING naked makes it easier for the body to regulate temperatur­e. Keeping cool at night is key, as to fall asleep your core temperatur­e needs to drop by half to a full degree. It keeps dropping through the night, reaching its lowest around 4am. If anything interrupts that drop, the brain wakes you to see what’s going on.


BRIGHT light signals to our body clock that we should be awake. On this basis, the U.S. National Sleep Foundation suggests bulbs in bedside lamps shouldn’t be more than 50 to 60 watts. Or switch to a red bulb (around £2 each from hardware shops). Despite red walls causing stress, a 2013 study in the Journal of Neuroscien­ce suggested red light has the least disruptive effect on the body.


IF YOU wake at night, a clock looming on the wall or a glowing radio alarm by your bed will remind you of how little time there is before you have to get up, increasing anxiety and making it even harder to sleep. ‘Many bedside alarm clocks glow incredibly brightly,’ says Dr Stanley. ‘Why would you design something so against sleep?’

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