Dressing a Bed for Better Sleep

We spend about a third of our lives in bed, yet we often put little thought into where we sleep. A well dressed bed could lead to a better night’s sleep. I know that I always sleep better when my bed is properly made.

First you should start with a good mattress (but that is a whole different topic). There are 9 parts to dressing your bed:

1) Box Spring Cover/Dust ruffle
2) Mattress pad
3) Bottom/fitted sheet
4) Top sheet
5) Blanket
6) Blanket cover/coverlet
7) duvet
8) pillows
9) additional pillows

Softer colors work best in the bedroom. Remember that the main purpose of your bedroom should be rest. Save the bright electric colors for another room. Believe it or not, color has a large impact on our mental states. There is a whole science to color. You should surround yourself with colors that make you feel good but choose the more restful tones for your bedroom. For example, I live in the heart of the city, there is a lot of visual stimulation all around me so, I have chosen a neutral color palate for my home. My bedroom is a mix of cream and beige tones.

First your box spring should be covered. Choose something that ties together with the room and the rest of the bedding. If you have a standard metal bed frame, you will want to choose a skirt/dust ruffle. I prefer the ones that come in 3 pieces and are pinned to the box spring. They can be removed for cleaning without having to disassemble the bed (with the large heavy no turn mattresses out there, easy to remove dust ruffles are a necessity). If you have the type of bed frame that has decorative side rails, you will want a box spring cover.

Next you will need a mattress pad to protect the mattress. There are a large variety of options when it comes to mattress pads. I prefer the standard cotton topped lightly padded mattress pad. They are easy to care for. Some people really like to add a feather bed topper (put it over the mattress pad but under the top sheet)… personally, I do not care for them… they need a lot of maintenance and I hate being poked by feathers in the middle of the night.

Sheets. I like 100% cotton sheets in a 300 - 400 thread count. You should always feel the sheets before you purchase them. Some brands are softer than others. Buying sheets isn’t about thread count it is about the feel. I have felt some high thread count sheets that have reminded me of sandpaper. So, do not be swayed into thinking that you have to spend a lot of money for high thread count sheets. Only buy what feels best to you. Sometimes less is really more. You do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on a sheet. Keep your eyes open for clearance sales… you can get some really good deals. I really like to mix and match my bedding. Sometimes I’ll pair a solid bottom sheet with a printed top sheet. Other times, I match a solid top and bottom sheets. You can be creative here.

Sheets need to be changed regularly. It is recommended that you change the sheets daily but given most of our overbooked schedules, this isn’t realistic. Changing the sheets once each week is fine. I like to have 2 to 3 sets of sheets so that I can change the bedding without having to wait for the laundry. If you take good care of your sheets they can last for many years. When sheets no longer feel nice and crisp, you will know that it is time to replace them. A note about laundering sheets: Some people like to send their sheets out to be cleaned, this is fine but it can be costly. When washing them at home do not “bake” them. Wash them in cold or warm water with a cold rinse and dry at a very low temperature. If you dry the sheets at a high temperature you can damage the fibers and the sheets can end up feeling rough.

After you have put the top and bottom sheets on, the blanket is next. If you live in a hot climate, you might skip the blanket. At any rate, I like blankets that can be machine washed. But this is just my preference; I do not want to deal with dry cleaning everything. I have 2 chenille blankets that have dry clean only tags. I tried washing them on the gentle cycle in the washing machine and had good results with one and terrible results with the other. It is probably best to follow the cleaning instructions on your bedding. I have just discovered Barefoot Dreams blankets, they are nice and soft and machine washable.

Top the blanket or top sheet if you are not using a blanket with a coverlet (blanket cover). I like heavy cotton coverlets.

Next is the duvet. I prefer down duvets topped with light weight cotton duvet covers. Duvet covers protect the duvet and are easy to remove for washing. Down duvets are great year round. The duvet should be placed at the foot of the bed folded back in thirds (so it is easy to pull it up if you want it to cover you).

Pillows. I like sleeping on 2 pillows; a down pillow and a fiber filled pillow. This is just a matter of preference. You should experiment until you find what works best for you. Pillows should be covered with pillow protectors and pillow cases. The cases should be in fabrics like the sheets. Pillow protectors are usually made out of cotton and help protect your pillows. Pillows usually need to be replaced every 3 – 5 years (depending on your pillow). To help prolong their life, you should fluff them daily.

Additional pillows. These are not a necessity but can add a finishing touch to your bed. They are also handy if you like more support for reading or watching TV in bed. I like to add a few European style pillows (these are the large 26” square pillows). Again, they should be covered. I like to cover mine in a fabric that coordinated with my duvet and coverlet.

1 Comment »

  1. Pam Houdyshell said,

    May 31, 2009 @ 7:22 am

    If you have a dust mite alergy, then keep your box mattress wrapped in the plastic that
    It comes in to keep the dust mites out. Also, you”ll need to wash the blankets and sheets in hot water (104 degrees) to kill the dust mites. Best not to have carpet; especially in your sleeping quarters.

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