I’m a sleep doctor – this is what your bedroom should look like if you want a good night’s sleep
Those who spend their nights tossing and turning may think they’ve tried everything to get a better chicken.
But a sleep expert has revealed a reason you lose hours of rest each night that you may not have thought of.
Dr. Mike Dilkes, an ear, nose and throat surgeon in London who treats patients with snoring and sleep apnea, believes that the state of your bedroom may be to blame.
Clutter, gadgets, and distractions in the room can hinder sleep quality, so ridding the room of these features can solve the problem, he says.
Dr. Dilkes also shared his eight tips for curbing snoring, from a tennis ball trick to lifestyle changes.
Dr. Mike Dilkes claims that a cluttered bedroom, filled with electronic devices such as televisions and coffee machines, can lead to distractions and negatively impact your sleep quality.
In the UK, the average adult sleeps around six hours a night – this is at least an hour less than recommended by the Sleep Foundation (stock image)
In the UK and US, the average adult sleeps about seven hours a night – the lowest of the seven to nine recommended by the health service.
And about one in five Britons and a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep, surveys show.
Dr. Dilkes said, “If you go to bed in a room with TVs and coffee machines and other distractions, you just don’t sleep as well as if your bedroom is stark and bare and only has a bed.”
Technical devices are considered to be very disruptive to sleep.
Top tips to stop snoring, from an expert
Dr. Mike Dilkes, an ear, nose and throat surgeon in London, shared his top tips for tackling snoring.
1. Use your bedroom exclusively for sleeping
2. Use a tennis ball sewn into a breast pocket to sleep on your side
3. Posture sensors (devices that warn you when you roll onto your back)
4. Snoring score apps
5. Weight loss
6. Don’t drink heavily
7. Mandibular motion device (a gum guard that pulls the lower jaw forward and stops the obstruction at the back of the tongue)
8. Laser surgery on soft palate or tonsils
This is because the blue light emitted by many devices interferes with the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep and can disrupt the body’s internal clock.
Noises and flashing lights from appliances can also cause people to wake up at night, experts say, as using technology right before bed stimulates the brain and makes it harder to fall asleep.
Dr. Dilkes believes that the key to a well-closed eye also depends on the amount of time spent in the room.
“I’ve found it can be a real help not to live in it for half your life and only use it for sleeping,” he said.
Dr. Dilkes, who specializes in surgeries to treat snoring and sleep apnea — when breathing stops and starts during sleep — also shared his low-cost solutions for the conditions.
He added: ‘The most common cause of snoring is our posture and how we sleep in bed.
“When you sleep on your back, almost everyone snores.”
Sleeping on your side can help and is an easy first step that’s “free,” he said.
To make sure you stay in this position all night, he recommended sewing a tennis ball into a pajama top’s breast pocket and wearing it backwards.
This means that if you turn onto your back at night, you can feel the ball and roll back onto your side.
He also recommends that patients use a sleep tracking app before and after trying the tennis ball trick for a month to see if their sleep score improves.
In addition, he said losing weight and cutting back on alcohol can also make a “big difference” to sleep quality.
Dr. Dilkes said he would only recommend surgery as a last resort if these approaches hadn’t worked.