Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Silentnight’s sleep expert, advises taking regular breaks away from your desk (or bed) throughout the day, avoiding screens before bedtime and making an effort to create a healthy sleep routine.
One way to do so is to engage in a little bedscaping to switch the scene from working to sleeping. According to Sanjay Verma, at bed company Hilding Anders, “Decoration and ambience in the bedroom play a part in your sleep quality and how easily you drift off. The ideal sleep environment is cool, quiet and dark, free of computers and screens.”
The first thing to consider, then, is where to store your laptop and work materials at the end of the day – ideally outside the room or in a storage box out of sight of the bed.
A good quality supportive mattress is hugely important, whether you’re lying or sitting on it – for mattresses made from natural materials, try brands such as The Cotswold Company, Naturalmat and Woolroom. So is your bedding: natural, breathable materials such as cotton and, in particular, linen help regulate body temperature for a more comfortable night’s sleep; Bedfolk’s new linens come in a range of soothing colours.
Make sure to make your bed after you’ve finished work: if you have patterned bedding, consider covering it with a plain throw in a dark or muted colour in the evening, to lessen visual stimulation, or a weighted blanket to aid relaxation. Remove cushions used for support during the day to reduce obstacles between your head and the pillow.
Good lighting is essential for setting the right tone: “Studies show that natural light can improve our productivity and overall mood, while reinforcing our circadian rhythms,” says interior designer Martin Waller. During the winter, add ceiling lights and task lights to ensure enough brightness during the day, then switch to table lamps in the evening: “Our brains love symmetry, so a pair of matching lamps placed either side of your bed can help to instantly calm your mind,” says Waller. Consider using colour-changing smart bulbs that allow you to change the setting from daytime to evening mode with a click of your phone.
Finally, fragrance can have a powerful effect on mood. Suzy Reading advises eating anywhere but the bedroom to avoid lingering food odours, and using scent to help delineate between work and rest. “Citrus or pine scents are ideal to keep us alert and focused during the day,” she says. “At bedtime, swap for lavender or rose, as these are well known for their sleep-inducing qualities. Add a few drops of essential oil to your bedding or spritz onto your pillow before bed.”