Dress the Bed

When “going to bed” means “going to sleep,” turning out the light is the easy part.

Everything else, from the tilt of the mattress to the shape of the pillow, involves lots of options. Get it wrong, and you’re tossing and turning. But the right mix of mattress, sheets and soft down comforter and you’re in sleep nirvana.

“Unless there’s a physical problem, getting comfortable is personal,” Dr. Alexander Golbin assures his patients. A sleep specialist with offices in Skokie and Vernon Hills, Golbin urges his patients to “listen” to themselves. He adds, “If you’re having trouble sleeping, make some changes.”

Golbin says something as simple as adding a blanket or changing the kind of sheets you use can make an important difference. Meg and Michael Carroll, owners of Bedside Manor Ltd. would certainly agree.

When it comes to sheets, fabric and fit are key variables. Some people prefer a crisp percale, others lean toward sateen. Either way, the Carrolls advise having more than one set per bed to allow ample time for proper laundering—always with mild detergents and always on the delicate cycle.

Bottom sheets should be at least 17-inches deep to accommodate the newer mattresses, and like top sheets, they should be given a good shake during the transition from the washer to the dryer to minimize wrinkles. Unfortunately, if you like the feel of crisp 100%-cotton sheets and pillowcases, ironing is the only answer. On the plus side, many of the newer blankets are made with easy- care washable wools.

Cosmetic changes, while important, won’t eliminate physical issues. Proper diagnosis is an important first step, but once a problem is pinpointed, you can find a solution.

Relax The Back local owners Marcy Swerdlow and Robyn Swerdlow Sprauer always begin by asking whether a person prefers sleeping on their back, side or belly, since position is crucial. The ContourSide Pillow, for example, is designed specifically for people who sleep on their side. In addition to improving breathing by aiding the airflow system, Sprauer says the pillow also reduces snoring.

“Sleep posture is crucial,” she observes. “Your sleep environment should allow your body to relax and prepare for the next day.”

Where do you sleep the best? If there’s a hotel you love for its comfortable beds, let us know by leaving a comment below.