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Is Your Bedroom Keeping You Awake? Choose a Slow, Wake Up-a ZEN Alarm Clock Will Make All the Difference

What is keeping you awake?  Eliminate clutter...Eisui

What is keeping you awake? Eliminate clutter...Eisui

If you are having trouble sleeping, your bedroom could be to blame.

Too many people clutter their sleep environment with reminders of daytime responsibilities: a desk piled with bills, a computer with e-mail, a fax machine, a telephone . . .

Combine that with an increase in street noise and outside light filtering in from streetlights and outdoor security systems. It’s no wonder insomnia caused by environmental factors is on the rise.

The good news is the sleep environment is controllable and, with some attention to details, you can design a good night’s sleep.

As many as 43 percent of American adults suffer from insomnia, according to this year’s National Sleep Foundation Gallup poll. If you cannot identify a cause for your sleeplessness, specialists advise taking inventory of your sleep environment. Identify what may be sabotaging your sleep in the bedroom and redesign that space.


In today’s houses where space is at a premium, many rooms must do double duty. Often, the bedroom also functions as a home office or a private area for parents with a TV set. All this equipment, experts say, is not conducive to sleep.

“People are clueless when it comes to designing their bedrooms for their fundamental purposes — sleep and sex — yet wonder why they have insomnia when their rooms are filled with so many distractions,” explains Al Reichert, technical supervisor of the Sequoia Sleep Disorders Center in Redwood City.

“Some people have virtual offices in their bedrooms — computers, e- mail, faxes, telephone — and then can’t figure out why they can’t sleep,” remarks Reichert.

Choose a peaceful wake up - The Z E N Alarm Clock - the only clock with natural sounds

Choose a peaceful wake up - The Z E N Alarm Clock - the only clock with natural sounds

The body actually has a physiological response to its environment, experts say. But since people aren’t usually aware of this response, linking work space in the bedroom with sleeping problems may be difficult.

“Any activity that is associated with being awake in the bedroom, like work, can be a problem,” explains Dr. Jerrold Kram of the California Center for Sleep Disorders in Oakland.

“It is an even more extreme problem for people who work in bed — answering the phone, reading important papers, studying and taking notes,” says Kram. “Their body becomes ingrained with being awake in bed, and any awake activity — defined as an activity that requires alertness — is not what you want to perpetuate in an environment intended for sleep.”

If space constraints preclude emptying the bedroom of work-related paraphernalia, consider separating work and sleep spaces in the room. A freestanding partition or decorative screen can enclose the bed for a cozy sleep environment. Adding a sleeping loft above the work space for the bed can also distinguish working and sleeping spaces.


Environmental noise is a huge issue, especially for people who must sleep during the day because of work schedules. But noise can even affect the quality of sleep for those who sleep at night — especially if they live on a busy street, near an airport or train station, or with a snoring bedmate.

“When I started in this business of sleep disorders, it didn’t dawn on me that people can get accustomed to noise, and not recognize that it can still be disruptive or problematic,” says Kram. “Someone will come in and say, ‘I sleep badly; I wake up a lot,’ but have no idea what woke them.”

Kram relates studies in which a bell was rung every two or three minutes near sleeping patients.

“When the patient was asked in the morning if they remembered the bell ringing, they responded, `What? Are you out of your mind? There was no bell!’

“But when we examined their brain waves, they had had an awakening or arousal for a few seconds every three minutes. These arousals cause fragmented sleep and result in sleep deprivation.”

Fragmented sleep can result in an achy feeling, lack of concentration and mental fatigue the next day.

White noise neutralizes jarring, intermittent sounds. Installing a fan or air conditioner in the room not only provides white noise but also controls the temperature for comfortable sleep.

Another option is to purchase a white noise generator that emits a broad spectrum of sound at a constant volume. Some generators replicate the pleasing sounds of an ocean or steady rain and mask unwanted noise.

“Eventually, you will habituate to this white noise, and disruptive environmental noise will become less of a factor,” Reichert explains.

Sleep specialists also recommend aids such as “industrial strength” earplugs fitted by a doctor, or earphones attached to white noise generators, especially if a snoring bedmate is causing the noise pollution.

To clients who are remodeling their bedrooms, Kram often recommends adding extra insulation to rooms and changing to soundproof windows. And it may be necessary to cover hardwood floors and replace light and airy window shades with heavy, noise-absorbing draperies.


Light filtering through window shades may provide a warm glow to a room, but artificial or natural light exposure may also rob people of sleep. Blackout shades are a must for those who sleep during the day. But those bothered by errant light at night also should consider them.

“Light is a powerful cue that resets the body’s circadian rhythm and tells it to wake up,” explains Audrey Chang of the Better Sleep Council of Washington, D.C. The council reports findings from a recent study that show exposure to even moderate levels of light at night — such as artificial light — can throw off the body’s internal clock and cause a state similar to jet lag.

“For many people, you can’t even have a streetlight down your block filtering in,” says Darlene Sanders, former designer of sleep labs and now a representative for Roc-lon TLC, a manufacturer of blackout draperies based in Baltimore, Md.

Blackout draperies have come a long way from the vinyl-coated drapery liners of years past. All-in- one fabrics produced with a heat transfer process on polyester-and- cotton-base cloth feature patterns resembling fabrics from silk moire to denim. Hidden magnetic closures in the seams provide total light control.


Bright reds, hot oranges and intense yellows are probably not the best colors for a sleep environment, says interior designer Paula McChesney of San Mateo. But the conventional bedroom colors of muted blues and soft greens will not work for everyone, either.

“There is a distinct part of our brain that relates to color memory, much like certain smells help us recall something from the past,” explains McChesney. The designer, who has had careers in both health care and interior design, has focused much of her work on exploring how color affects people.

“If Grandma’s home was in shades of blue and you were unhappy there, chances are blues won’t relax you now,” she says.

Hue and intensity are also important.

“Some people would find a midnight blue cozy and good to sleep in, but for me it would be claustrophobic. I would like a turquoise blue that reminds me of the Caribbean,” McChesney says.

For a relaxing environment, she says, avoid high contrast, such black and white, and patterns such as bold stripes or diagonals that excite the eye.

The best bedroom design for sleep ultimately comes down to what the National Sleep Foundation calls the three basics: cool, dark and quiet.

One of the ultimate Zen like experiences is waking-up from a great slumber refreshed and energized. Your mind and body are harmoniously one, both alert and focused. Having a refreshed mind and body are two keys to a natural and Zen lifestyle. Waking up in the morning should not be a loud and abrupt awakening, but rather it should be a peaceful positive experience.  The right natural alarm clock can transition your deep and tranquil sleep into a serene start to consciousness. Imagine a long-resonating Tibetan bell-like chime waking you up to a beautiful morning experience.

The right alarm clock can be the most beneficial investment for you. With our Now & Zen natural alarm clock you are awakened more gradually and thus more naturally. Now & Zen is focused on creating a naturalistic lifestyle, and our clocks are an example of our philosophy.

adapted from by Gail Benchener

Natural Sounding Alarm Clocks -- Vibrating Chime Bar Wakes You Gently

Natural Sounding Alarm Clocks -- Vibrating Chime Bar Wakes You Gently

Now & Zen – The Most Natural Awakening – Slow & Gentle

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Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Natural Awakening, sleep, Sleep Habits