Spring cleaning. Nobody likes to think about it, let alone get on with it, but around this time of year you get to a point where it becomes inevitable, such as getting up to see a coruscating cloud of dust and pet hair wafting through the kitchen in the bright morning sunlight. At least, that's what's going to get me reaching for the Shark, the Marigolds and a pack of fresh dusters tomorrow.
Sooner or later you're going to have to deal with all the cruft that's accumulated over those dark winter months to get your home ready for summer, but if the prospect of a little endorphin rush once you get it all done isn't quite enough to motivate you, The Sleep Charity has suggested five ways that you can use your spring cleaning to help you get better sleep.
"The spring and summer seasons present different challenges that might disrupt our sleep," says The Sleep Charity’s deputy CEO, Lisa Artis. "But the effect that the shift in time, daylight and temperature often has on our night-time routines can be combatted with some small adjustments to your bedroom."
So if the you're losing sleep as the nights get shorter, a bit of spring cleaning could make the difference. Follow these five tips from The Sleep Charity to make sure your bedroom is a perfect environment for good quality sleep over the summer.
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1. Give your mattress a refresh
If you can, take your mattress outside for a good airing and then replace it upside-down (if you can) and opposite-ways-round to its previous positioning. Clean the base with a soft brush to remove fluff and dust – if you have to use a vacuum cleaner do so very carefully and with the window wide open. And of course, if your mattress is showing its age and it's time for a new one, we can point you at all the best mattresses.
2. Swap to summer bedding
That heavy winter duvet's not doing you any favours now the weather's warming up, so instead opt for a lighter tog duvet and fresh, cotton bedding to keep you cool at night. Bedroom temperatures should ideally be between 16c and 18c.
3. Clean up your clutter
It can be difficult to sleep surrounded by piles of paperwork (something that's a lot more commonplace with the rise of working from home) or laundry, and if you have loads of stuff lying around your bedroom, that's a magnet for dust. So have a good clear out and ensure your bedroom is a tranquil oasis for you to drift off.
4. Remove allergy triggers
May traditionally signals a rise in pollen count, so try and rid your room of anything that might trigger allergies or hay fever attacks. Swap fresh flowers for artificial alternatives and avoid drying clothes on radiators in your bedroom.
5. Time for new curtains?
When it’s dark, we release melatonin (the hormone that helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm), which relaxes the body and helps us to drift off, so it’s no surprise that many may struggle to drift off during British Summer Time. If you can, swap your blinds or curtains for blackout alternatives to make sure you are getting a full night’s sleep; if that's not a viable option, a good blackout sleep mask can keep you from being disturbed by the early morning sun