A Sleep Oasis for Clean Sleeping

pollenSpring cleaning time is here! Many of us see spring as an opportune time to clean our homes from top to bottom—ensuring our living environment is conducive to the overall health and well-being of our families. And for that reason, bedrooms need to be at the top of our spring-cleaning project lists. A clean sleep environment can promote and support what is now coined “clean sleeping,” a healthy, natural regimen of consistent sleep in adequate amounts that serves as the foundation for a healthy sleep lifestyle. Given that a clean bedroom is a major contributor to a healthy sleep lifestyle, here are four bedroom-cleaning tips that will help you achieve and enjoy the benefits of clean sleep.

Clear the Clutter

Now that it’s spring, it’s time to come out of hibernation and declutter your bedroom. Clutter, junk, and piles of stuff create visual chaos—which is stressful, distracting, and dust-collecting (more on that later) and negatively impacts your ability to relax and fall asleep. So take it all out of the bedroom—even items that don’t fall into the “junk” category (like the treadmill you now use as a clothes hanger). Resist the temptation to store things under the bed, where they collect dust and can still be a distraction. Keep closets neat and orderly, and keep the closet doors closed.

Don’t forget your nightstands. These are often the last things you see before turning off the lights and turning in … if you can find them under the piles of receipts, half-full drink glasses, extra buttons, and used tissues you’ve parked there. Instead, keep nightstands free of clutter, change, keys, and anything else that resides on them—especially electronics. Try limiting items to a book or journal, a photo, a lamp, and a plant or flowers (as allergies permit). Your alarm clock should be across the room so there is no temptation to hit the snooze button; keep it faced away from your line of sight so you aren’t waking to check it during the night.

Tackle Dust

In addition to a thorough spring-cleaning, dust bedrooms at least once a week to maintain optimal air quality. Accumulated dust and other allergens in the air can cause symptoms that make sleep difficult—especially for those with dust mite allergies and asthma.

Dust mites are a common household allergen found in every home that can wreak havoc with sleep if not kept at bay. Dust mites tend to gravitate toward beds, pillows, upholstery, and carpets. Here’s how to keep them from interfering with a good night’s sleep:

  • Wash sheets and pillowcases weekly in hot water (at least 130 degrees) to kill dust mites; cold water won’t do the trick.
  • For spring cleaning and at the change of every season, wash comforters, duvet covers, curtains, stuffed animals, blankets, throw rugs, and pillows according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Bag nonwashable fabric items and place them in the freezer for 24 to 48 hours to kill dust mites.
  • Vacuum weekly with a double-layered microfilter bag or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
  • Use mattress and pillow protectors to reduce allergens that can lead to nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, and itching—all of which are sleep disrupters.
  • Since older mattresses and pillows have higher concentrations of dust mites, pillows should be replaced about every two years and mattresses every seven years.

Clear the Air

Clean air is important for good sleep. Pet dander, pollen, and dust are but a few of the pollutants floating around in bedroom air. Try these tips for improving the air quality in your bedroom:

  • Consider investing in an air purifier. Most air purifiers have HEPA filters that will reduce airborne allergens.
  • Regularly clean the filters on air conditioners, heating systems, and vacuums.
  • When feasible, crack a window to let in fresh air. In addition to improving ventilation, fresh air can be relaxing; it has a cooling effect as well.
  • According to NASA research some plants act as natural indoor air purifiers, including the snake, English ivy, and spider plants. (Note that some plants can be toxic to children and pets).
  • Store laundry hampers somewhere other than the bedroom.
  • Be careful when using synthetic air fresheners and cleaning sprays because they can contain harsh chemicals that can irritate eyes, throat, and nasal passages.
  • Organic essential oils and room sprays are available in lavender, jasmine, vanilla, and other scents that can be relaxing and sleep promoting.

Make the Bed

Let’s face it: getting into a well-made bed feels wonderful at the end of a long day—not to mention that a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found that respondents who made their beds daily were 19 percent more likely to report quality sleep.

For many, an unmade bed is an eyesore. However, there is some controversy about a made bed trapping in moisture and thereby worsening dust mites. If you like the look and feel of a made bed, consider pulling back the bedcovers as soon as you get out of bed in the morning to let your bed air out and then making it up at least an hour later. This may be a good idea if you have pets who like to sleep on the bed during the day. If you opt not to make the bed, at least straightening the bedding can help give the bedroom a neater appearance.

Clean Sleep for a Good Life

The importance of adequate, quality sleep cannot be stressed enough. Adequate sleep provides the repair, recovery, and restoration our bodies and minds need. Without it, we are impaired—our thinking, our health, our outlook, and our performance are but a few of the things that are compromised when we fail to get the rest we require.

A clean, orderly, organized, and non-chaotic sleep environment is not just healthy, it is conducive to a good night’s sleep. Nothing feels better than getting the sleep you need to feel your best and be your best—day in and day out. And getting the sleep your mind and body need will help you to get the things done that need doing—like those other spring-cleaning projects. So start with sleep, and make everyone’s bedroom a spring-cleaning priority. The many benefits of a good night’s sleep are just a spring-cleaning away.

Find these tips and more on our newly renovated website going live May 9!

 

Blogger: Terry Cralle, RN, MS        @PowerofSleep

Terry Cralle, RN, MS  Sleep Health and Wellness Professional

Sleep Health and Wellness Professional

 

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