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Sleep Better: Create the Ideal Sleep Environment #30DaysofGOOD

Creating a good sleeping environment is critical for better rest. Here's how:

Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for May? Sleep better.

How well you sleep depends a lot on where you sleep. These days, our bedrooms often double as workspaces. Or they're packed with glowing gadgets. Or they sit above busy urban streets. Creating a good sleeping environment is critical for better rest. Here's how.

Make sure it's dark: This might be obvious, but when you're going to bed, your room should be dark. If there's a streetlight outside your window, for example, consider investing in some heavy curtains or blinds. If that's too much trouble, pick up a eye mask.

Get rid of the gadgets: If you have glowing alarm clocks or phones or other gadgets within eyesight of your bed, move them elsewhere or cover them up. Even low levels of light (especially blue light) can suppress melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep.

Find the right temperature: Experts suggest your room be between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. But the ideal temperature varies from person to person, so go with what works. As a general rule, however, your sleeping environment should be cooler than your average daytime temperature. And it's nice to have fresh air circulating, so crack a window or, if it's too cold for that, get a fan.

Your mattress matters: Mattresses are supposed to last for as long as 10 years if they're well taken care of. That said, you may need to replace yours if you notice you're not sleeping well, or if it's uncomfortably lumpy or saggy. If you don't have the cash for a replacement right now, flip it over or put a board underneath it (and maybe hit it with some Lysol while you're at it).

Create a sleep sanctuary: It's important that your bedroom—and especially your bed—be a place you associate with relaxation and comfort. To preserve it as a refuge, consider removing computers, work, the TV, the treadmill, and other things that remind you of the stresses of the day. Your bed itself should be for sleeping and sex only. No sitting up in bed answering work emails on the laptop or iPad.

Once you have your ideal sleep environment set up, make sure you dim the lights, stop working, and begin to relax about 30 minutes before bed.

Is there anything we missed? How do you make your room conducive to sleep?

Photo via (cc) Flickr user booleansplit

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