The Perfect Bedroom

The Perfect Bedroom is a place where you don’t do much of anything except make love and sleep. To reduce bedtime stress, banish paperwork and TV to another room, experts advise. Establish a ritual that slows you down, such as sipping a cup of chamomile tea or soaking in the tub; research shows that a warm bath an hour before turning in can lead to an extra 15 minutes of deep slumber. And be sure your environment is utterly restful. Here’s what to check.

MATTRESS Whether it’s too firm, too soft, sagging from age, or lumpy as a sack of potatoes, the wrong mattress can make your nights miserable. When shopping for a new one, wear comfy clothes, and spend 15 minutes plopped on a prospective purchase. Most people are best served by a medium-firm mattress with a medium-soft top layer of padding; dig your knee into the covering to make sure it isn’t too taut. If you sleep beside someone who needs a different amount of support, get a custom made one where one side of the bed is tailored to suit to your body, the other to your mate’s.

PILLOWS There is no best pillow; the key is finding the size, shape, thickness, firmness, and material that suit you. Test contenders out on a bed in the store until you find one that feels perfect (pressing your head against a pillow while standing up doesn’t work).

SHEETS When your internal thermostat’s out of control, as it tends to be during menopause, you want your sheets to breathe. Look for 100 per cent cotton in a tight weave so the fabric feels good when you slide into bed. Beware of lacy borders; they can irritate skin.

CURTAINS The ideal curtains are heavy enough to screen out the first rays of dawn; less than ideal ones can be backed up with custom shades.

LIGHTING The best reading lamp are those that cast only a narrow beam and do not disturb your sleeping mate.

FRAGRANCE Researchers have found that the smell of lavendar can be as effective as a sleeping pill in helping insomniacs snooze through the night. NOISE BLOCKERS City dwellers in particular might benefitf rom asuperfancy white noise machine. Disposable foam or silicone earplugs are a low-tech alternative; they screen varying levels of sound and fit snugly without causing discomfort.

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