Bed linen: how to ensure a good night’s sleep

    2 January 2019

    One of the aphorisms I remember from school was this:

    comfortable shoes and a comfortable bed, because if you aren’t in one, you’re in the other

    An odd thing to drill into ten-year-olds but it has stuck with me. My teenage years were spent buying cheap, shiny shoes that hurt my feet but looked glamorous in pictures (or so I thought). Now I am older, I buy slightly more expensive ones which don’t rub and last far longer.

    I’m afraid to say I have become equally boring about beds. A comfortable bed is a fine thing. Bad bedding can really ruin a night. Polyester mixes may be ‘easy iron’ but they are certainly not ‘easy sleep’, what with all that static. Brushed cotton is cosy, but tends to feel a bit nursery/nursing home.  I find memory foam particularly horrid. It is a hot, suffocating substance.

    The new year is a good time to refresh the bed. January is also a sensible time to pick up discounted items in the sales. So here is my guide to creating the perfect bed, for the perfect night’s sleep.


    A few years ago, mattress adverts started appearing on every Tube carriage.  They were for online companies with names like Eve, Casper and Simba. These mattresses are delivered in a box and you can try them for 100 days. They tend to be made from memory foam (which you can squish into a box) so I have always avoided. That said, they have plenty of glowing reviews, so if you don’t find memory foam quite as heinous as I do, they are worth exploring. I prefer trying mattresses out in a shop, so you can loll around on them, saying softer, softer, harder, and behaving like the princess in the story about the pea. If this is your preference too, John Lewis is excellent. Dreams, which seems to be advertising non-stop on TV at the moment, is another reliable place. You can spend silly amounts on a mattress but I suspect it may be worth it. Vi-Spring and Savoir Beds are the names to know, if you want to do so.

    Duvets and pillows

    A tog is a unit of measure showing how much heat is lost to the environment from under a duvet. The higher the tog, the warmer the duvet. There are summer duvets, winter duvets and all-season duvets. Soak&Sleep is an excellent online shop for high-quality but relatively cheap duvets and pillows. They always seem to have sales on. Nanu pillows can be customised, depending on what sort of style you prefer. The White Company offers plenty of up-market pillows, as well as Canadian goose down duvets. They even have a made-to-order eiderdown duvet. It costs thousands of pounds, which shows you can also spend silly amounts on a duvet. Polyester duvets aren’t quite as salubrious as feather-filled ones but may be necessary for allergies. Silk duvets from Gingerlily or alpaca duvets from The Wool Room may also be worth considering if feathers make you sneeze.

    Bed linen

    West Elm, The White Company and Zara Home all offer high-quality cotton bed linen. A revelation for me has been the discovery of pure linen bedding. It looks best when slightly crumpled, so doesn’t really need to be ironed which can be a blessing. Piglet has lovely linen sheets as does H&M and Cox&Cox.

    The antidote to bad hair days – a silk pillow case by Jessica Russell Flint

    Another revelation has been silk pillowcases, which are better for your skin than cotton and stop you waking up with a bird’s nest on your head. The best ones are found at ThisIsSilk and The Ethical Silk Company. More colourful ones can be found at Jessica Russell Flint which sells glorious silk products and if you really want to go for it, a bed cap from Silke will make you feel like an old-fashioned glamour-puss, without an uncomfortable shoe in sight.