The light from the street lamps bleeds through the blinds, washing the room in a faint yellow. We've been rolling around trying to get to sleep for an hour so there's no more cool spots left for us to find solace in. The clock mocks us with its glaring numbers. If you've ever had trouble sleeping you know our pain. And we'll wake up tomorrow less refreshed than we should be, to a jarring blast of cell phone noise that sends our heart pounding. It leaves us feeling less than great. But we've decided to end these restless bookends to our day and these solutions we've found seem to be working.
This is something we didn't expect to work. We had read about it, but didn't take much stock in the idea even though we have allergies and like to sleep with the window open. But this could work well for anyone, especially those in the city where the air quality could be messing with the quality of your breathing and thus sleeping. The other benefit to this is that most air purifiers double as fans and as the optimum sleeping temperature for most people is between 67 and 70 degree Fahrenheit, this device serves two purposes well. If you'd prefer not to have the fan in your room a technician can install a system that attaches to your AC unit. Or you can add plants, which we did to bolster the air quality. We use the Hunter 30847 currently, but there are plenty of good looking and useful models out there.
Humidifier/Dehumidifier combo devices come in large and small, small being for single rooms and large as an attachment to the AC unit for the whole household. Not only have we found that we sleep better when we don't feel drenched in the summer humidity or dried out in the winter, but we have less skin and nasal passage irritation. We also like that it collects the humidity, which we then use to water the plants we talked about above, but if you've got nowhere to put the water some devices come with self-evaporation systems giving you one less chore during the day.
Light Alarm Clock/Timer
Not only is it hard to get up, but we find it's hard for us to stay up if we've gotten very little sleep. The snooze button looks just as good from the dresser as it does from the bed, which is why we've started using light to wake up and keep us awake. There are specialized "light alarms" that mimic the sunrise, usually over a 20 minute period, to wake you up. While we found that helped when coupled with a better alarm clock, the same effect could be achieved with a timer or home automation system that controls lights. Just as bright screens before bed keep you awake at night, bright lights can keep you up in the morning.
Mechanized Black Out Curtains
Getting rid of the ambient light probably had the biggest effect for us. We always wondered why we slept so well in those hotel rooms with the heavy curtains on a stick (though max AC and super comfy beds help too). We've added this to our slowly growing home automation system so we don't even think about it anymore; once the blinds close themselves and the lights turn off it's time for sleep. That's the other benefit to these devices: they help you keep a regular schedule, an important and oft ignored aspect of your circadian rhythm.
(Images: AllenCorp, Hunter, Japan Trend Shop, Quirky, and Everything Simple.)