Does your bed support all the things you (and your family) do in it?
The kitchen may be the heartbeat of a happy, healthy home but our bedrooms are its soul. Your bed is (or should be) the most comfortable place in your home and the envoy of lots of good things, including sound sleep for you and your family. It’s the place where we greet our days and where we wave farewell to them. It’s where we cuddle and canoodle with our lovers, our children and our pets.
While many of us use our beds as tantalizing cocoons of serenity, they can also serve as an ad hoc home office, family gathering place and even a bench to sort socks. We recently reached out to our Facebook friends to find out how they use their beds (asking them to keep their answers family-friendly). Turns out, beds are for a whole lot more than sleeping (and the other *S* thing we like to do there).
What do you do in your bed and bedroom?
“I have read a book, written a poem, surfed to faraway lands, meditated through the universe, cuddled loved ones, laughed, cried, loved, enjoyed breakfast for two with all the trimmings and good old fashioned newspapers,” wrote Samantha.
Lots of folks enjoy snuggling or watching videos, no surprise considering we spend so much time at home now. When it’s time to reorganize and purge, the guts of the closet go on the bed. Some people let their kids make pillow nests while for others, it’s the comfiest time-out spot.
Of course, there’s late night social media scrolling and early morning coffee-time. Lots of people use at as the place to chat with their partners at the start or the end of the day. “We argue, cry, hug, laugh, wonder, worry, conspire and reflect all within the comforts of our bed,” wrote Jennifer.
Your bed, haven and refuge
Clearly, our beds serve many purposes but the most important is still a good night’s sleep. While everyone’s sleep needs are different, there’s no denying we all need it. Think of sleep as the mop-up crew when there’s a spill in the grocery store. Our days are one big spill of information and activity and we need sleep to clear all the debris away, put everything neatly back onto the shelves and then give us a tally sheet on the inventory. Without sleep, nothing gets organized in our brains.
During stressful times – a global pandemic qualifies – sleep can be challenging. Mental health can suffer with poor sleep, and sleep can suffer due to poor mental health. It’s a vicious circle that demands we get back to the basics of getting a good night’s sleep.
- Maintain a regular bedtime. Think about incorporating warm bath or shower, a soothing cup of caffeine-free tea or simply reading a book in a quiet place before bedtime. An hour before you plan to sleep, start winding down so you and your body are ready for sleep at the same time.
- Impose a curfew on electronics. Though you may be tempted to check the news (or social media) for the latest developments about COVID-19 before you go to sleep, it can ramp up your anxiety and make a restful night’s sleep impossible. Declare your bedroom an electronic-free zone.
- Create a quiet, cool, dark sleep environment. If you don’t blackout window shades, consider an eye mask. A white noise machine or phone app will help create a calming environment and remember that the ideal temperature for sleep is 60F-67F (15C-19C).
- Rethink pre-bedtime snacks. Avoid foods that are fried, overly rich, spicy or acidic, as well as carbonated beverages, caffeinated tea or coffee and, of course, alcoholic drinks that might help you fall asleep but will dehydrate you and wake in the middle of the night.
- Meditate. Download a guided meditation app on your phone or use a YouTube video to help you through the process. Make it part of your bedtime routine to calm anxiety and restore a sense of peace.
5 things you should never do in bed
Unless you’re trying to get the worst night’s sleep of your life, don’t do these things in bed.
- Don’t smoke in bed. You don’t need us to tell you why smoking is bad for you and why it should never be done in bed. But it’s worth noting that smoking remains the number one cause of preventable home fire deaths in America, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. By the way, nicotine is a stimulant, which means it also disturbs natural sleep patterns.
- Don’t eat in bed. While some of our Facebook friends admitted to noshing on pizza in bed, some foods should never be eaten in bed. Besides the ick factor of crumbs between the sheets, some foods can be difficult to digest and that’s not good news for a good night’s sleep.
- Don’t argue in bed. If you and your partner partake in pillow talk to wind down the day, steer clear of hot button issues that get your adrenaline pumping. Unless making up is part of your go-to-sleep strategy…
- Don’t watch scary movies in bed. Winding down for a good night’s sleep is almost impossible when you’re watching a horror movie that makes you anxious or scared.
- Don’t pay bills in bed. Do we really need to explain why this isn’t a good idea?
Rest well & wake up ready to go!
Better sleep gives rise to better mornings, bringing your goals into focus and dreams within reach. Hungry for more sleep info? Dig into these posts:
- 7 mattress myths debunked
- Can a good night’s sleep make you smarter?
- What’s the best mattress for your age and stage of life?