According to Dr. Rachel Salas of John Hopkins University, making a few simple adjustments to how your bedroom is arranged can yield better sleep. The associate professor of neurology has some tips that may be familiar, such as limiting the amount of ambient light, and some that may prove controversial — at least to diehard pet lovers. So let’s take a look.
Whether it comes from smartphone screens or a streetlamp outside your window, light is the enemy of sleep: the more there is, the harder it will be to fall asleep easily. Salas recommends blackout curtains, removing TV or other electronic screens with stimulating blue light, and reducing the intensity of your alarm clock light.
Need to get up in the middle of the night? The more lights you turn on to get to the bathroom, the more difficulty you’ll have falling back asleep. Salas recommends keeping a flashlight on your nightstand so you can activate only the light you need, and return to sleep more easily.
Deepak Chopra, everyone’s favorite whipping boy for pseudoscience crimes (really he just has a flair for metaphor), made similar suggestions when he stopped by Big Think.
So far, Salas’s suggestions may seem pretty intuitive. But the hidden world of sleep is large, and the science underpinning our knowledge of sleep is easy to misunderstand.
While managing allergic reactions may not top your list of “sleep better” priorities, subtle disruptions to sleep can really add up over time. That’s why Salas recommends replacing your mattress every 10 years, your pillows every 2 years, and keeping your pet’s bed down the hallway — or at the very least, keep them out of your bed while you sleep.
We know that’s a hard one for people who really love sleeping with their pets, but your mental and physical health may in part depend on it.