How to Turn Your Bedroom Into A Sleep Cave
What You Should Try: New research highlights the benefits of blended sounds with a consistent frequency. Pink noise, so named because light with a similar power spectrum would be perceived as pink, helped people sleep better and longer—75 percent of study participants reported a more restful sleep or nap with pink noise than with silence.
Go Pink: The study author told Prevention magazine that people can create this sound at home with fans, apps or gadgets that produce steady, uninterrupted sound, like falling rain or blowing wind.
What You Should Try: You can still detect even a small amount of light—from your alarm clock or your neighbor's garage—through closed eyelids. Champion sleepers tell us they've noticed that when they make their room pitch-dark, they wake up feeling more refreshed than when it's just inky-dark.
Black Out: Opaque curtains or blackout shades can block light from outside, especially from the new headlights and street lamps that use energy-efficient LEDs, which produce light in the blue part of the spectrum—the most sleep-sabotaging of all. Inside the room, clocks with red numbers are less disruptive than ones with white or blue digits; turn yours so it's facing away from you.
What You Should Try: Specialists usually give a ballpark suggestion of setting the thermostat to between 65 and 72 degrees—or that it feels just chilly enough so that you need a blanket. However, some cotton-blend sheets and pillowcases trap heat, as do memory foam mattresses. So you may doze off feeling snug, then wake up hot three hours later.
Keep Cool: There's an expanding range of products that claim to regulate your temperature while you sleep, including a brand-new line of cooling apparel from the bedding company Sheex. You could also set your air conditioner's timer to drop a few degrees in the middle of the night, or sleep with a fan.
What You Should Try: Give up on finding an ideal temperature that suits you both. Women's core body temperatures fluctuate due to hormonal changes during menstruation and menopause (birth control pills can also raise it slightly). At the same time, because women are usually smaller than men, they have a different distribution of fat and tend to have icy extremities, we tend to feel cold faster. Sharing a blanket can amplify the heat—except for when he pulls it off you.
Claim Your Space: Instead of separate rooms, try separate sheets, suggests John Dittami, an Austria-based sleep researcher and a coauthor of the book Sleeping Better Together. Dittami has talked to couples who claim this tactic saved their marriages. Another idea: Put a pillow barrier between the two of you to block some of his body heat and movement.
Next: 7 most convincing reasons to get 7 hours of sleep