Tossing and turning at night? If you were to believe the commercials you hear on the radio and TV, you’d think your bed was to blame… and that all you need is a new one!
In fact, Americans spend a fortune trying to get a good night’s sleep! Studies put yearly expenditures on mattresses in the U.S at over $13 billion. That’s right — billion.
So yes, it does look like the money is in the mattress after all!
And that’s not all we try. There are machines that make soothing sounds… diffusers that emit relaxing scents… masks that block out the light… pillows that cost an arm and a leg… and, of course, incredibly risky drugs.
But for the most part, those “solutions” don’t appear to be working. And the solution isn’t to fork over even more of your paycheck on some other gizmo or gadget.
Because Dutch researchers have made an amazing discovery about a simple way to fall asleep once we hit the sack.
Actually, it’s about as easy as it gets!
The better shut-eye solution<
Recently, researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands conducted a study in which they analyzed the nighttime movements of 17 volunteers during sleep, also having them rate how well they slept — and felt — in the morning.
While some tossed and turned and woke up feeling drained, others slept like babies. And the difference between the quality and length of sleep in these study participants appeared to be related to something you might never even think of in your own home: how well their bedrooms were ventilated.
That’s right — the simple act of opening a bedroom window had a huge impact on sleep quality.
What that little “trick” did was lower levels of carbon dioxide, or CO2, in the bedroom air.
The researchers said that by lowering CO2 levels in your bedroom, you can expect better, uninterrupted sleep.
We all exhale CO2 to the tune of 2.5 pounds a day — and even more while engaging in some strenuous activity. And though it’s generally not poisonous (unless you have very high amounts in your blood), average bedroom air levels appear to have a big impact on sleep quality.
When CO2 levels build up in your blood while sleeping, it will trigger your brain to cause you to breathe more deeply to take in more oxygen, which is often why we toss and turn.
In severe enough cases, it can even have you waking up and gasping for air.
(Not to be confused with highly toxic carbon monoxide, known as CO, which kills hundreds of Americans every year by displacing the oxygen in their blood.)
Now, while cracking your bedroom window open may seem like a pretty simple solution, there are times (like right about now) when just too cold out.
So, if you can’t get good outside ventilation in your bedroom during the night, why not give these other ideas a try?
- Go green! Studies have found that having just three house plants in your room can knock down CO2 concentrations by 25 percent. Some of the best ones include palms, rubber plants, philodendrons, and varieties of ferns. (If you have pets — especially cats — be sure to check and make sure any plants you select aren’t toxic.)
- Create an ‘open door policy.” The Dutch researchers found that it might not take anything more than leaving your bedroom door open at night to sufficiently dilute CO2 levels.
- Clear the air! If possible, open up a bedroom window for a short time during the day (even in winter) to get an air exchange.
Of course, as I’ve been telling you, the last thing you want to do to get more ZZZs is to take a sleeping pill, something that recent research has found a whopping one-third of seniors turn to for more shuteye.
These drugs can significantly up your chances of falling, suffering a hip fracture, having a car accident, having problems with your memory, and suffering daytime fatigue.
Opening a window, a door, or adding some greenery to your bedroom sure sounds like a much better solution! (And now maybe you don’t need to go shopping for that expensive new mattress after all!)
“Seeking better sleep? Here’s one simple step to help” E.J. Mundell, November 27, 2017, HealthDay, consumer.healthday.com