How To Make Your Bed For The Perfect Night’s Sleep
Three expert tips for a restful night from the Ritz’s executive housekeeper.
Like anything which improves our mental and physical state, the issue of sleep attracts a lot of attention, and a lot of conflicting advice. Popular belief states that eight hours’ sleep is the optimum for our health, while some specialists suggest tuning in to our circadian rhythms (read more here), or waking at the crack of dawn for optimum success. Whatever works best for you, everyone would do well to start off with the proper foundations. Namely: a perfectly made, comfortable bed. For expert advice on how to achieve this, we consulted Ms Adriana Milea, executive housekeeper at The Ritz London, who is responsible for ensuring a comfortable night’s sleep for some of the world’s most illustrious individuals. Scroll down for her top tips.
The mattress is king
If you consider the proportion of your life that you spend lying on it, a good-quality mattress is one of the most logical investments you can make. “Your mattress should be firm to give a good support to your back and body,” says Ms Milia. And just like your clothes, your mattress needs looking after. “A mattress has an eight- to 10-year life span, depending on how you treat it. To maintain a mattress, it should be turned and rotated every month for the first six months of use, and then every three months afterwards, to ensure even dips.” Ms Milia also recommends the same treatment when it comes to your pillow. “Good, supportive pillows should be medium-firm and thrown out once worn,” she advises. Test your pillow by holding it over your forearm: if it flops on either side and doesn’t hold its shape, it needs changing”.
Invest in good bed linen
You’d do well to pay as much attention to your sheets as your shirts. “Bed linens are the finishing touch to the bed, and are as much about comfort as luxury,” says Ms Milia. “At the Ritz, we use cotton sheets with a 440-thread count – the higher the thread count, the longer the sheets will last, and the better they’ll feel against the skin, as they’ll soften with wear and washes.” Mattress toppers are also a sensible option to ensure a good night’s sleep, and Ms Milia recommends eschewing man-made fibres for ones made of feather and down (depending on allergies, of course).
Lavender oil is your friend
We all know it’s advisable to create a calm environment to relax the body before sleep – by switching off electronic distractions and banning blue light from the bedroom – but simple things, such as opening a window and having a glass of water beside your bed can also make a big difference, says Ms Milia. “For most people, the best sleep is achieved in a cool, quiet, dark and comfortable environment.” And you can help relax or refresh the body with stimulating scents. “I recommend misting the sheets and pillows with hand-made sprays of essential oils,” says Ms Milia. Lavender oil is mixed with distilled water for the Ritz’s evening spray, as it has calming qualities, and citrus scents are used in the morning to invigorate the senses for the day ahead.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Duvets (or comforters for those in the US) are a relatively new invention, and Ms Milia’s team at the Ritz still follows traditional bed-making procedures, due to popular demand – using sheets and heavy blankets – unless otherwise requested. “It’s really down to personal preference,” she says. But there are trends in the bed-making world, too, and they are worth experimenting with to find the perfect formula. Especially if you’re an insomniac, desperate for a good night’s sleep (or a bit of a snob when it comes to cotton). “Pure silk duvets, pillows and toppers are the newest trend. And we also have a few guests asking for buckwheat pillows, which are natural and organic.” Bamboo sheets are also becoming more popular due to their breathability and moisture-wicking abilities, which help regulate the body’s temperature while sleeping – ideal in the sticky summer months. Surprisingly, another trend is for split bedding to maximise comfort and minimise sleep disruptions. “People are requesting beds made in the Italian style,” says Ms Milia. “Where a king-size frame is made up as two singles with separate sheets and bedding to give guests their own space without having two separate beds.”