Ever since my second daughter was born, I have found myself waking earlier each day. My brain clicks in with my mental to-do list and I rise before dawn resolute to strike off each task. But as the day progresses, all I achieve is an ever-more frazzled feeling, and by early evening I flop into bed, only for the cycle to resume the next day.
In a bid to break the pattern, and improve the quality of my rest, I decided to make my bedroom somewhere I look forward to retiring to. A soft, squishy, sanctuary, free from the noise, which surrounds the rest of my life. I still have a long way to go – I’m quite sure I will tire of that wallpaper before long – but a few small tweaks have already made it feel dreamier. Here are my favourite finds to catch a few zzz. Isabella king-size storage bed, upholstered in stain-resistant chalk fabric from a selection, Love Your Home. Green quilted velvet throw, £225, Toast; Winsford tea set, from £11, green velvet cushion, £90, cable throw, £160, breakfast tray, £44, all Neptune.
1. Turn your bed into storage
I know, the first rule of making your bedroom a sanctuary is to clear the clutter but I have discovered that beds can be a wonderful untapped resource for a whole manner of junk. This is the Isabella bed from Love Your Home. The mattress area lifts to reveal a whole wardrobe’s-worth of space beneath. Unlike under-bed drawers, items don’t get lost at the back. Suitcases, bed linen and towels are all concealed but with easy-access (I am sure Feng Shui experts would have something to say about sleeping on top of all of that clutter but it makes me feel calm to know it’s all tidied away). Mine is upholstered in a timeless ‘chalk’ velvet – I figured it would be versatile when I’m tired of that green wallpaper – and the stain-resistant fabric reduces the stress of any little jammy fingers in the morning. It is quite possibly my greatest find this year.
2. Add a topper
So a quality mattress is a given for a good night’s sleep, (you should invest in the best you can afford and change it every eight years), but a quick and more affordable fix is a bed topper. The right one not only gives you a restful night, it will make you feel like you are sleeping on a cloud – it also increases the lifespan of your mattress. The best by far is Eve’s hypoallergenic foam topper – it is supportive, the breathable foam (it’s 30 times more breathable than traditional memory foam) stops you overheating and it has an anti-slip layer to ensure it stays put if you are a bit of a fidget. I’m getting one for every bed..
3. Choose five star hotel bed linen
I have a growing collection of white sheets that I have been snapping up in sales over the years – all bright white and never washed with anything dark so they remain pristine. I like cool sheets that feel like silk. My latest find are the pure cotton 600tc smooth and silky sheets from Tielle. Easy to wash, and breathable so that, again, your body doesn’t overheat in the night, they have a wonderful sateen finish that is gentle against the skin. There is nothing nicer than high thread-count cotton – it looks luxurious and I think of it as an investment in your health. (Sheets, from a selection, Tielle)
4. Mix and match
Rather than mixing the colours of my linen, I think it makes a bed so much more inviting to mix pattern and colour in the textiles, blankets and quilts on top. I like to combine rough and smooth textures – soft, luxurious quilts with thick and rustic blankets, and plenty of layers to cocoon you in when it gets chilly. I have added a white textured bedspread to give a luxurious touch to my duvet. Then a rich velvet quilt to envelop you for the winter (this one by Toast is reversible and nice and light) followed by a soft wool throw from Neptune. Then that just leaves a couple of velvet cushions that are soft and reversible.
5. Pillow talk
I have resolved to invest in plump and delicious pillows in lots of different sizes and shapes, and absolutely nothing with feathers that prickle your skin. For rest and comfort I need plenty of them, after all, they are supporting the busiest part of my body. According to the Sleep Council, a good pillow “should hold your head in the correct alignment – that is, in the same relation to your shoulders and spine as if you were standing upright with the correct posture”. Look for firm pillows if you sleep on your side as they provide height and support for your head and neck. If you sleep on your front, you need them soft to keep your spine in its natural position, while they should be medium if you sleep on your back, supporting the head without pushing it forward. I love Marks & Spencer’s as they have a great range and are affordable – you should replace your pillows every couple of years. And I like to have lots, especially a big square one to prop you up in bed when you are reading.