Expert advice on what to do to ensure sweet slumber
For me, a good night’s sleep is a carefully orchestrated event. A proper mattress, sumptuous bedding, and light-control can mean the difference between a deep sleep and restless night of discontent. To improve the quality of sleep, and also your mood and quality of life, just follow a few simple tips. Here are my do’s and don’ts for getting a great night’s sleep.
Do invest in quality bedding. We spend a third of our lives in bed. When you think of it in those terms, it’s hardly extravagant to choose the best bedding you can afford. Opt for pure cotton sheets, which will breathe and keep you cooler.
Don’t be fooled, thread count alone does not determine the fineness of sheets. Egyptian cotton is widely believed to be the world’s best, most luxurious cotton. Its long fibres create the smoothest finished product. Less popular, though coveted by many, linen has a cool crispness that is ideal for summer sleeping. The ideal thread count for a sheet is a matter of personal preference. Some favour the crispness of 250 percale (like a favourite GAP shirt), others swoon over 320-thread count cotton sateen sheets (‘sateen’ is pure cotton whose weave gives it a satiny sheen). A 600-thread count sheet made of inferior cotton and poorly woven may be sub-standard quality. Always consider thread count in tandem with weaving and material quality.
Do think about the hidden value of your mattress; the construction. A well-made mattress accommodates a comfortable sleep, minimizes pressure points, reduces tossing and turning, and adds greatly to the quality of sleep. The coil system, comfort layers, and ticking or outer layer are the essential elements to consider. One quality coil system is the pocket coil, where each spring moves independently, allowing for private sleep space and excellent spinal alignment. Comfort layers consist of various types of foams or felts and are designed to make the mattress “feel” softer or firmer, though they do not affect the “support” the bed yields.
Don’t forget to rotate the mattress every six months to maintain integrity and comfort. do add a featherbed (a thin layer of down, duck and/or goose feathers) between the mattress and fitted sheet. The best versions have a pillow top of pure down, so feathers don’t jab. don’t be a slave to ironing. It’s the last 20 minutes in the dryer that causes wrinkles so remove sheets and pillowcases after 15 minutes in the dryer and fold and smooth them over a chair or shower rod to finish drying naturally. Consider a coverlet made of heavy matellese or quilting to top the bed. That way you’ll never have to worry about ironing the duvet.
Do provide full blackout drapes for bedroom windows if possible. And avoid having electronics that glow all night long. These items can subtly interfere with sleep.
Don’t ignore the benefits of proper lighting. A good reading lamp is a must if you’re a nighttime reader. A well-lit closet can help you find the black pants and avoid the navy ones. For general illumination, always add dimmers, which allow you to wake up gently on winter mornings.
Author: Kimberley Seldon