Welcome to Second Nature, a Q+A series with Jute founder, Ali Davin, that explores all things healthy living, with a fond emphasis on that thing she does best—interior design.
Cotton or linen? Blanket or quilt? Top sheet or not? The bedding options are endless, and in spite of what your grandmother might have told you, there’s no right or wrong way to make a bed.
From duvet covers to mattress toppers, there are countless ways to customize your bed, and finding the right formula can improve the quality of your sleep. Here’s what to consider when selecting your bedding.
I think a lot of people don’t realize how poorly they’re sleeping until they go on vacation, get exposed to something different, and have the best sleep of their life. It’s why so many hotels create their own bedding lines. It could be linen sheets or a mattress topper or even the bed itself that makes a difference—you don’t necessarily know what works for you until you try it.
You have to pay attention to how you sleep and fine-tune your bedding around it. I recommend trying a handful of things to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s kind of like buying a car—you want to shop around and test-drive certain things to figure out what’s going to be successful for you. You can go to the store and lay on all the mattresses and toppers. Think about how much time you spend in bed—it’s worth investing the time to figure out what’s best for you.
Most people don’t use them but probably should. Toppers make your bed extra cozy and comfortable, and actually help your mattress last longer. I prefer wool toppers—they adapt to your temperature, they’re breathable, and if your kids or partner sleep with you, they help absorb the impact. Even if you are sensitive to wool, there are several layers of sheet in between, so it shouldn’t impact your allergies. Once people start sleeping on wool toppers, they can’t imagine how they slept on anything else.
You need to do due diligence and figure out what’s right for you, but keep in mind that everything has a lifespan and everything has an impact on the planet. If you buy a mattress made out of synthetic materials that’s only going to last five or six years, it’s going to be in the landfill forever. Latex or wool mattresses are a much more sustainable option—they can last more than 20 years, and when they do go to the landfill, they will eventually decompose.
Linen sheets are addictive. Linen has different hands—it can feel super soft like a sateen or it can be more textured—but doesn’t have thread count like cotton sheets. It’s breathable and it regulates your temperature, and it gets softer every time you wash it. Linen sheets last much longer than cotton, which is another thing to consider.
They drive me crazy, so I don’t sleep with one. I’d say it’s 50/50 as to whether clients want one or not. If you have a super comfortable duvet, you just want that to touch you, but some people look at me like I’m crazy when I suggest that. Everyone’s different.
They’re such a personal thing, but I think the calming effect of weighted blankets is something worth exploring. They all have different weights, so you need to experiment with what works for you. Some people don’t like the glass balls, but there are other options, like a really thick knit wool. You can also achieve a weighted effect by piling on a bunch of blankets, which is what I do.
It’s actually the last thing we take into account—the bed is more decorative than anything else. We customize the bed to the mattress, so buy that first. For example, latex mattresses are really heavy, so you want solid wood slats placed close together to properly support it. No one uses box springs anymore, so if you want a higher bed, we’ll adjust the legs or the side rails instead. If you read in bed every night, you probably want a headboard upholstered with natural textiles and cotton batting instead of all-wood construction. Think about how you’re using your bed, and don’t think of it as disposable.
Figure out how you sleep and build your bed around it.