Many of the pathways considered in this essay are rarely considered – yet they may have the greatest impact on our quality of sleep. Massive amounts of money are spent on the ads that the bed in which we sleep, the sheets and blankets we wrap around ourselves—and even the pillows on which we rest our heads. Only the sleep aides (Pathway Cluster Four) are pushed harder on behalf of an uninterrupted night of sleep.
In this essay, I report on the preferences noted by our Pathways to Sleep survey respondents to many elements of the sleep environment that get less visibility. As we have found, some of the other elements of the environment have as great or even greater an impact than the heavily marketed elements – and they cost much less (or are free to us).
As I have done in previous essays in this series on quality sleep, I provide some suggestions in this essay about the sleep environment and begin by offering a chart summarizing findings from my Pathways to Sleep project. This chart lists some of the sleep environment pathways, as well as ratings by experts and users, as well as costs and accessibility. In each case, a rating of “3” is high and a rating of “1” is low. A “v” indicates that this pathway is controversial (wide variation in ratings—high variance score).