Create Better Sleep by Kathryn Weber

The Layered Bed Creates Better Sleep

Too many people get by on just a few hours of sleep a night. Worse still, those few precious hours are often wasted in a bed that’s uncomfortable, unattractive, and doesn’t suit the individual sleeper. But, with a little effort, you can create a restful bed that might just make you turn in a little earlier – and sleep a whole lot better.

Even hotels know

Fortunately, hotel chains are now investing in quality bedding that’s comfortable and promotes better rest. Some hotels, like Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, sell everything from sheets to mattresses, and Starwood hotels have even created what they call the “Heavenly Bed.” Ironically, hotels, a place to sleep, finally learned that good sleep makes happy customers.

The mattress is the foundation

Now, no matter how much effort you put into a bed, if the mattress is broken down, no amount of attention can revive it and it should be replaced. Most mattresses last about 10 years. If you do purchase a bed, select one with a good warranty and that’s comfortable, and buy the mattress and the box spring as a set. Whether you go for smooth or pillow-top mattresses is up to you. Personally, I prefer to buy plain mattresses without pillow tops. That’s because I like to flip my mattresses and vacuum them, which is difficult with a pillow-top. Secondly, the hills and valleys in the pillow-top are places that attract stains and trap mites and that are difficult to get out of the cracks and crevices. A smooth top mattress will allow you to clean it better and keep it clean easier, promoting better wear and longer life.

The layered bed

Now, if you’re wondering about all the comfort you’re sacrificing by giving up your pillow top, don’t worry. We can fix that. Every guest who sleeps at my house in my guest bed, or in my bed, swears they have the best rest and it’s the most comfortable bed they’ve ever slept in. How do you create this kind of bed for yourself? A layered bed is the answer. If you like a seven layer cake, then imagine a six layer bed. This is a bed that’ll give you the attractiveness, cleanliness, and comfort you want -- and the sleep you crave.

The first layer starts with protection. Keep your mattress clean and attractive by putting a thin waterproof mattress protector down first to prevent staining. The envelope kind is perfect for this. The next layer is luxury. If you have a smooth-top mattress, add a foam pad on top of the mattress protector. Memory foam, convoluted foam, or therapeutic foam pads (my favorite) are great and give you the “cushiony” effect that makes you want to sink into the bed, but is still firm. Plus, if it gets stained or worn out, you can throw it away and get another one. You can’t do that with a pillow-top mattress.

After the foam pad, add another thicker mattress cover over the foam pad and the mattress.. You may need to buy the kind of mattress pad that’s stretchable and accommodates extra deep mattresses. This, too, should be stain resistant. After this layer, add the sheets that you like best. (I prefer 100% cotton in a lower thread count because I like a crisp sheet.)

Complete your bed

A key sleep item is your pillow. Buy the kind of pillow you like no matter what the cost. If you like down, buy a good one and try it out at the store. I love foam rubber pillows because they stay springy all night -- and they're good for allergy sufferers. At about $50 apiece, they’re expensive, but they’re what I sleep on best and they last for years. Don’t forget to put pillow protectors over your pillows.

The last step is layering your covering. I have a matelasse coverlet over the sheets and then a duvet with a down comforter inside. This allows me to wash the duvet when needed, and depending on the weather, I’ll have the right amount of cover regardless of whether it’s cold or hot – something we need a lot here in South Texas.

Consider investing in a down comforter to put under your regular comforter or bedspread. They’re warm and yet so lightweight, you won’t feel like you’re under a sack of cement and you’ll have that “sleeping-under-a-cloud” effect. Lastly, make your bed. A bed that’s made every day is inviting and an unmade bed is uninviting. Just think about that run and flop everyone does at a hotel. The bed just invited you!

And there you have it. A luxurious, comfortable, clean, and attractive bed made just for you and your specific sleep requirements. You might sleep later, sleep more deeply, and enjoy better rest than you have in years. Now, that’s worth any amount of effort!