Sleep And The City: How To Improve Your Sleep When Living In A City

Living in the city has its perks. The restaurant scene, improved access to transport, and closer proximity to job opportunities can all be alluring reasons to embrace city living. However, the lack of sleep that comes with it can be a recurring drawback. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, these are known as environmental sleep disorders and are commonly experienced by those living in big cities or close to noisy environments like train tracks and metro stations. While there is some talk about innovating to make trains less noisy and minimize the environmental noises for city-goers, we are still a long way off. If you are struggling to sleep in the city, the good news is that you can take matters into your own hands. With a few improvements to your home, and your sleep etiquette you can enjoy a better night’s sleep even in the midst of a noisy city.

Soundproof Your Bedroom And Windows 

What is the best way to get some sleep in a noisy city? Eliminate the sound. Soundproofing may not be able to eliminate the noises but it can drastically reduce them and make your bedroom an oasis of calm. Soundproofing an entire room can be costly- around $8,000 to start with. However, soundproofing your bedroom window is much more affordable (approximately $1,000 per window). You can also try some DIY soundproofing hacks yourself as well. Try using a thick rug and thick, room-darkening curtains in your bedroom. This will reduce both city lights and noise. 

While you’re at it, think about eliminating other external factors that may be disrupting your sleep environment- like external pollution. Cities are often heavily polluted and polluted air quality leads to poor sleep. To optimize your ventilation system and your rest, take a look at the ventilation in your bedroom. A regular cleaning routine and diffuser should help to minimize any allergens and dust. The use of essential oils like lavender in a diffuser has also been shown to be calming.

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Add Some Calming Noise With A Sound Machine

Certain sounds can help you sleep. While it may not be the sounds of sirens, trains, or urban city noise, studies have shown that the use of pink noise can aid sleep. A study published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology showed that steady use of pink noise reduced brain waves and boosted sleep. White noise also has the same effect and is widely used as a soothing/sleep aid for babies. Because of their popularity, there is now a wide range of white noise machines on the market to suit any budget and preference, including models that are compatible with your mobile phones and volume control to suit the environment you are in.

Skip The Screens Before Bed

Screen time can be worsening your sleep habits. In the past, researchers have found that screen time before bed can affect children and adolescents particularly since their eyes are more sensitive to blue light. While the effect is less for adults, it can still have the same outcome. This is because screen time can suppress melatonin. Blue light can also trick your brain into thinking it is daytime instead of winding down before bed. Experts recommend avoiding screens at least 30 minutes before bed. 

Instead, try cultivating a calming sleep routine before bedtime by putting away screens at least 30 minutes before. You can try reading a book, listening to an audiobook, or having a warm shower to help yourself relax. The key to this is to make it consistent.

The hustle and bustle of city living can be great for many things-except your sleep. While it may be suitable for some people, it can be hard to get some quality shut-eye for others. If you are struggling to sleep, there are ways you can improve it- starting with these 3.

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