Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2017
Do you need an ‘Analysis of my Sleep Environment’ If you have more money than sense, but this is all they could tell you When at the University of Surrey I designed the finest bedrooms ever constructed for sleep.  They were incredibly quiet, temperature controlled and when you put the lights out they were very, very dark, (the other key points were a single bed and a teddy bear!). The construction of the bedrooms was a brick built outer room an inner suspended room consisting of 10cms of acoustic foam and 10cms of acoustic tiling which gave a room to room sound attenuation of approx of 85 decibels which essentially meant that the worlds loudest snorer could sleep in the room next door and their snoring would not be loud be enough to wake you up. So although they were pretty much the ideal sleeping environment, they are also probably everything that your bedroom at home is not. The bedroom The bedroom should be a sanctuary reserved for sleep and thus the sleep environment needs to be pleasant and relaxing (get rid of the TV and computers, etc). It should also be dark, (either use heavy curtains or eyeshades) and it should be as quiet as possible, (if this is difficult then consider using the earplugs now available which are comfortable to sleep in). The bedroom should not be stuffy, fresh air is good for sleep and it should be neither too hot nor cold. Temperature Many experts say that the ideal temperature for the bedroom is 16-18oC (60-65oF), although this is again a matter of personal preference. However it is not just the room temperature that is important for getting a good night’s sleep. The temperature in your direct sleeping environment, i.e. under the duvet, is equally important and should be close to a thermo-neutral temperature (i.e. approx 29oC), however you are just one big fleshy hot water bottle so you will heat the space up to this temperature just by being in bed. During the night the body needs to lose heat and this is done mainly through the head and face, the only bits that usually stick out from under the duvet, and thus a cool bedroom facilitates this heat loss. However if the room is too hot or you are too hot under the duvet it is more difficult for the body to lose heat and this will cause disturbed sleep. The same is also true if you are too cold as this means the body has to work hard to maintain its optimal temperature and again this can disturb sleep. Thus getting the correct temperature in the bed is important and involves getting the right combination of air temperature, duvets and bedclothes adjusted to hopefully achieve the right result, and if this means you wear bed socks but have the window open – so be it.  Getting the right temperature can be additionally complicated be your bed partner as they will no doubt need a different combination from you in order to achieve their comfortable sleep temperature. Lights Levels The general advice is that bedroom needs to be as dark as possible during the night and thus heavy curtains or blackout blinds should be used to reduce external light and sources of illumination in the bedroom should be reduced to an absolute minimum. Of course we are all different and some people do not mind sleeping in a light bedroom, as long as you sleep well and feel awake and alert during the day, don’t worry Room Colour Room colour has absolutely no effect on sleep at all, nothing. When you are asleep you have your eyes closed and it should be dark therefore the room colour is of absolutely no relevance to sleep. Noise Levels Again the general advice is that the bedroom should be quiet. Therefore remove from the bedroom any sources producing noise at a level that disturbs your sleep, (and that may include your partner!). For external noise improved double or even triple glazing may reduce noise levels. Finally the bed should be very comfortable and as big as you can fit into your bedroom.