What Is a Good Sleeping Environment?

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Hi, I'm Dr. Michael Breus, the sleep doctor. I consider a good sleep environment to be one that covers all five senses so let's talk about that for just a moment here. The first one is sight or light, you want to have an environment that's dark because as we all know melatonin, the vampire hormone, is produced only in darkness.

So the darker the environment, the better you are to produce melatonin which remember is the key that starts the engine for sleep. Next is sound, sound can have a pretty profound effect on your ability to sleep, if it's too quite people have a hard time falling asleep or if it's too noisy people have a hard time falling asleep.

So, sometimes people may need to have some type of white noise like a fan or even a sound machine to help them sleep. Next is smell, we all know that smell can have some pretty profound effects, it turns out your olfactory senses are some of the oldest in your brain. What we would like to talk about here is aromatherapy? Don't get me wrong, there are definitely clinical trials that show that aromatherapy is effective.

But, you don't just sniff something and pass out. Aromatherapy really is more of a relaxation response. So often times I talk with my patients about using Lavender maybe in a bath salt to allow for that muscle relaxation and then falling asleep. Next is touch. Touch turns out to be one of the most critical factors, because it has to do with your mattress, your pillow, sheets, comforter, even temperature in the room.

All of those need to be extremely comfortable for you to be able to fall asleep. Don't let your mattress get too old and make sure to replace your pillow at least once a year. Finally, is taste. So could taste possibly have to do with sleep? Taste has to do with sleep primarily because what you don't want to do is eat food right before bed because of stomach upset and potential gastroesophageal reflux, which could wake you throughout the night.

So if you got all five senses down, you should have a goodnight's rest.