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A Good Night's Sleep (Posted On: Tuesday, October 14, 2008)

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For me, a good night’s sleep is a carefully orchestrated event. A proper mattress, sumptuous bedding, and correct light control can mean the difference between a deep sleep and a restless night of discontent.  But it isn't the bed itself, so often the focus of bedroom decorating, that's fundamental to creating the ideal sleeping environment. In fact, the most beautiful bed in the world is an unwelcoming thing without a great mattress and luxuriously comfortable sheets.

To improve the quality of sleep and also enhance 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. 

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.
DO rotate the mattress every three months to maintain integrity and comfort.
DO opt for a featherbed, if possible; a thin layer of down, duck and/or goose feathers sandwiched between mattress and fitted sheet.  The best versions have a pillow top of pure down, so the feathers don’t jab.
DO opt for a thread count of between 200 and 600. However, don’t be fooled, thread count alone does not determine the fineness of sheets. A 600-thread count sheet made of inferior cotton and poorly woven may be sub-standard quality. 

DO sleep under a thin, lightweight duvet if two people share the bed.  A down-filled duvet adapts to your body’s temperature, so one partner can keep warm while the other stays comfortably cool.

DON’T skimp on quality sheets. Egyptian cotton is widely believed to be the world’s best, most luxurious cotton.  Its long fibers create the smoothest finished product.  Less popular, though coveted by many, linen has a cool crispness that is ideal for summer sleeping.  The ideal sheet is a matter of personal preference. Some favor the crispness of 250 percale (like a favourite GAP shirt) while others swoon over 320 thread count cotton sateen sheets (‘sateen’ is pure cotton whose weave gives it a satiny sheen). 

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. 

DON’T ignore the benefits of proper lighting.  A proper lamp is a must if you read in bed. A well-lit closet can help you find the black pants and avoid the navy ones.  For general illumination make sure to include a dimmer switch which allows you to wake up gently on winter mornings and create a more romantic mood.  
DON’T overlook the pillows.  Many consider the best ones to be made of pure down using hand-plucked Canadian goose down. Often, the down is cleaned so the pillow is hypoallergenic. Feather-down blends also provide excellent quality and give the pillow more firmness; allowing it to hold its shape longer.
DON’T sleep in polyester if you are approaching (or in the middle of) menopause.  For women of a certain age, changing hormone levels can bring an entirely new dimension to getting a good night’s sleep.  If night sweats are a problem, opt for pure cotton sheets that breathe. 

DON’T forget to provide full black-out drapes for bedroom windows if you’re a light sleeper.

Photo credit: Ted Yarwood Photography
Interior design credit: Kimberley Seldon Design

Kimberley Seldon Design Group Inc.
Kimberley Seldon hosted 3 television shows including the popular HGTV series “Design for Living”. She’s resident design expert on CityLine and on HSN (in the U.S.) with her product line ‘Kimberley Seldon Home’. She’s also Decorating Editor of Style at Home magazine and author of “500 Ideas for Small Spaces”. In 2006, Kimberley launched her line of upholstered furniture “Kimberley Seldon for Brentwood Classics”. An award-winning firm, Kimberley Seldon Design Group manages full-service interior design projects ranging from urban condos to country manors. KSDG offers unique design seminars - for design enthusiasts and professionals alike - as well as international travel events. 



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