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Nurturing A Healthy Sleep Environment

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 Nurture Health Sleep Environment

Written by Carrie Jackson
Originally published in Natural Awakenings Chicago Magazine


Few factors are more vital to overall health and wellness than sleep.

It is during sleep that the body is able to reset and restore on a cellular level. A good night’s sleep helps to manage pain, decrease inflammation, strengthen the immune system and regulate body weight. While many people have a relaxing sleep routine, creating a healthy and comfortable sleep environment is equally important for a restful evening.

Quality of sleep is more important than quantity, according to Dr. Phyllis Zee, chief of sleep medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (Feinberg.Northwestern. edu). “Deep, restorative sleep allows the brain to remove waste that is produced during wake. Deficiency of sleep can decrease the ability of this waste removal process, which is thought to increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias,” says Zee.

Maintaining a proper temperature in the room is one important factor that can help improve sleep quality.

“Our body temperature naturally drops at night, and keeping a slightly cooler room will promote sleep. People have different preferences about what is comfortable, but high-tech beds can help customize a setting that’s right for each individual. Wearing loose-fitting clothes made from breathable fabrics helps the body regulate its own temperature without feeling constricted,” Zee explains. “Taking a warm bath or shower and wearing socks before bed may help cool the body and help to get better sleep.”

Lighting and hues have a big impact on our ability to rest. “Our brain is used to taking cues from the light throughout the day, and our circadian rhythms respond as the colors shift from more blue in the morning to reds and orange color light at dusk. In the evening and night, it is important to avoid bright light, especially blue lights, which can be stimulating,” advises Zee.

Mary Pat Wallace is the founder of The Luxury Bed Collection (, which offers bespoke, handcrafted mattresses made from natural materials that allow for personalized sleep. She says that quality mattresses and bedding are required to achieve the optimal sleep we all deserve. “Your mattress and pillows physically support every inch of your body, so it’s crucial that the hours spent in bed are spent with your unique body’s proper level of support and firmness in mind. Every person’s body and routines are different, so a mattress and bedding should be unique to their needs, as well,” she explains.

Wallace cautions against traditional mattresses that are treated with harmful, flame-repellent chemicals such as formaldehyde and are constructed with synthetic materials that bring unwanted chemicals into the environment. “Organic wool, which is used in mattresses sourced by The Luxury Bed Collection is naturally flame-resistant. An all-natural mattress, allows for a more breathable, clean sleep environment. I’m partial to linen and cotton sheets. The best options are both breathable in the summer and comfortably warm in the winter, and they’re built to last for years at a time,” she says.

Lynn Broderick, co-founder of Inspire Medical Products (, points to research that shows good air ventilation and circulation can improve sleep quality.

“Both sleep quality and next-day performance could be improved by.... [read the rest of the article here]

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