External stimuli consists of all environmental sources that can trigger your senses, such as air, sound, light, smell, temperature, and touch. Sleep hygiene is a concept that involves controlling these factors in order to create an environment that improves sleep quality.
- Air quality: Keeping the bedroom ventilated during day and night-time helps ensuring sufficient oxygen supply. It has been shown that a high ventilation rate – which can be achieved by keeping the window open – has a positive impact on people’s ability to fall and stay asleep. To keep track of the air quality in your bedroom, you can try setting-up an air monitor.
- Sound: Today, a lot of us live in cities which are rarely silent. Insulating your bedroom from sound can help increase sleep quality and avoid nocturnal disturbances.
- Light: Many of us enjoy waking up to natural light. However, if your bedroom is exposed to sources of artificial light (i.e. street lights), consider investing in dense window blinds, window film, or automatic window blinds. Keeping artificial light outside your bedroom can benefit sleep quality at night.
- Temperature: Sleep experts recommend keeping the temperature of our bedroom at around 18°C. For those sleeping with a partner, differing preferences can be a challenge. Choosing duvets of different thickness, regulating our bedroom heat-setting, and wearing socks can help regulate night-time temperature.
- Comfort: Finding a bed that suits us can have a huge impact on our sleep quality. Keep track of your experienced sleep quality and day-time functioning when using different beds. This will help guide your bed and mattress choices.