Noise is one of the most common sleep-disrupters and when you live in a big metropolitan city this issue just becomes amplified. I remember when I first moved to New York City I was overwhelmed by the noise of the nearby train station, the noise of sirens, people in the streets and cars honking and I thought how anyone gets any quality sleep.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, this type of problem is called environmental sleep disorder. Environmental factors such as noise or light cause complaints of insomnia. Of course we know getting a poor sleep has dangerous ramifications for our overall health, and when we live in a big city and our sleep is affected by these environmental factors on a daily basis we have to ask what it does to our health long-term. Short-term we are confronted by daytime sleepiness, mood swings and irritability and over time it may result in severe sleep deprivation. When we are sleep deprived we increase the risk of much bigger problems such as depression and heart conditions.
Of course another big issue we tend to forget when it comes to sleeping in big cities is the typical commute time to and from work can tend to be longer. This obviously limits the time available for sleep and then leads to more daytime sleepiness. Noise and limited time is a dangerous partner when it comes to getting a quality sleep that will leave you refreshed, revitalised and reinvigorated.
Make Sleep a Priority
Sleep plays a vital role in our health and well-being. It impacts on all parts of our lives and thus should be a priority in our lives right up there with our exercise, diet and relationships. When it comes to big city living, making sleep a priority becomes even more important.
Tips for Sleeping Better in the City
- Try to implement predetermined sleep hours just like you would exercise. Sleep deprivation builds up and up and can really destroy your health and happiness.
- Exercise regularly
- Learn how to relax – try yoga, meditation, deep relaxations, body scans
- Make the most of your commute – don’t bring your stress from work home with you, utilise your time on the bus or train to sort through your projects so home is a place to relax and enjoy.
- Block out city lights – thick curtains or shades are essential to keep your room dark at night. The noise of the city is bad enough, when you add the light from street lights, cars and people it becomes even more difficult to sleep.
- Try a Sound Machine – apparently this was pretty popular in NYC, it helps to drown out the urban noise and fill your room with sounds that are a touch more soothing than people screaming at 4am.
- Try to keep a regular sleep schedule
- Keep your windows closed – if it’s a hot summer’s night try closing the windows in your bedroom and leave the windows in the living room open to let some fresh air in.
- Ensure your seals to your doors and windows are intact to minimise noise
Sleeping in a big city can be difficult. From New York to London and Sydney and Paris, we are all faced with similar issues. Try some of the above tips to ensure you have the best chances of getting a good night’s sleep – your health depends on it!
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