The results of a recent survey suggest that people get a good sleep if their bedrooms are both clean and comfortable. So before you contemplate using a sleep aid for those restless nights, you might just want to break out the vacuum, change the sheets and consider a new mattress.

The group's bedroom poll questioned sound sleepers and restless ones about how the environment in their bedroom affected their ability to have a restful night's sleep. While there's been lots of work looking into how medical and behavior affect sleep, but there was nothing about the environment itself, until now.

Even the researchers were surprised to find that the senses like touch and smell played a role in restful sleep.

The survey included 1,500 randomly chosen adults across the United States who were between 25 and 55 years old. Less than half said they were “great sleepers”, those who got a great night's sleep most nights. Here are some of the finds:

– 60% said they changed the sheets weekly; about 3 out of 4 reported a better sleep when their bedding smelled fresh.

– 70% made their bed either every day, or most days. Those who made their beds were 19% more likely to say they slept well most of the time.

– 90% said having a good mattress and pillow were key to getting a good sleep. Rated as slightly less important were comfortable sheets and other bedding.

– Up to 3/4 of respondents said that a cool room with fresh air and a quiet, dark clean space were important to a restful night's sleep.

These finds are no surprise to experts. It's believed that the environment you sleep in is a vital, but often-ignored part of getting a good sleep. While this latest discovery is not going to resolve serious sleep problems, it may well help many of us get the rest we need.

Experts also suggest restricting your bed to two activities: sleep and being intimate with your partner.

Doing anything else (watching TV, surfing the internet, reading, paying bills) in bed is very likely to leave your mind racing when the job is done and you're lying there trying to fall off to sleep. Instead, make your bedroom a sanctuary.

Rather than thinking of sleep as something you can turn off and on think of it as a dimmer that needs to be turned down. In the hour before bed make the effort to do this, turning down your mind and body so that you relax and are ready for sleep.

This means …

– Turn down the lights.

– Stay away from your computer, iPad or smartphone. The blue light from these devices appears to trick your senses into thinking it's daytime.

– Eat your last large meal no later than three hours prior to sleeping; limit liquids in leading up to bedtime.

– Just before bed, a light snack containing protein and carbs is a beneficial option if you want to get a good sleep.