I just spent 10 days on the road and enjoyed nights in four different guest rooms and one hotel. It got me thinking about what makes a great bedroom and a good night’s sleep.
Beginning with the bed, pillow-top and memory foam mattresses are a big trend, and for good reason. The most comfortable night’s sleep I had on the trip was on a regular box spring and mattress that had been topped with a three-inch memory foam mattress. It made the bed a little high, but the extra effort it took to climb in was worth it.
Did you know you should replace your pillow at least every three years at the outside? I didn’t. Don’t gross out but I think my pillow is at least 10 years old. The Huffington Post ran an article on pillows in 2015 and advises washing polyester pillows and dry cleaning every three months, then replace pillows every six to 12 months. Who knew? Memory foam pillows, which have more structure, can last three years, according to the article.
Dust mites love pillows, and they are not airborne like pollens. So if your allergies tend to be worse first thing in the morning, the culprit could be your beloved pillow. By the way, most donation sites don’t want your old pillows, but if you wash a pillow that is in pretty good condition, many homeless shelters welcome them.
My favorite sheets were a tie between cotton sheets that had been washed to cozy perfection (Garnet Hill and L.L. Bean have good sateen and percale sheets) and mega thread-count Italian linens hand-stitched with white-on-white embroidered trim. The easiest beds to make are those with sheets and a single down comforter — call it the decluttered bed. For warmth, have a stack of blankets available to layer on top. Also, forget about lots of little, decorative pillows — they usually end up on the floor at night and are a pain to arrange on the bed in the morning.
Other essentials for a great bedroom are a night table, adequate lighting for reading, and a water vessel and glass of some sort. Night tables should be at the level of the mattress. Enough room for books, a lamp and a water pitcher and glass is nice, and a box of tissues is great to have. Some of my clients stock a case of water in the bedroom, but one of my hostesses on the road filled a glass pitcher and set it and a glass on a silver tray on the nightstand — both beautiful and good for the environment.
If you have a night table with a drawer or cupboard, keep evening medications, aspirin, lotions, ear plugs, eye shades and other sleep accessories there so that you don’t have to get out of bed if you need them. If you don’t have a drawer, a small plastic container that slides under your side of the bed will do the trick.
Keep a notebook and pen by the bed, too. If in the middle of the night you have an idea or suddenly remember something you absolutely have to do, you can write it down. This lets your brain off the hook and allows it to go back to sleep.
If you have a stack or stacks of books by your bed that is starting to look like a famous tower in Italy, go through them and determine which ones you are truly likely to read. Keep one or two by the bed and either give away the rest or put them in an area of your bookshelves with unread books.
Piles of clothes can make a bedroom less than restful. Get into the habit of sending clothes off to sleep on their hangers or in the laundry hamper as soon as they come off of your bod. It’s the perfect time to decide if you aren’t in love with the item of clothing anymore or it was uncomfortable. In that case, have a donation bag ready in the closet so that the item doesn’t hang out in limbo on a chair in the bedroom.
At least one small trash receptacle in the bedroom is something I consider essential. Keep all those used dust mite allergy tissues corralled. Now please excuse me while I hop online to order a new pillow.