Bonus Column: Martha Stewart
There's nothing more glorious than slipping between smooth, crisp sheets after a hot summer day. Now's the time to take stock of your mattress, lighten your linens and rethink your bed's layers.
Here's how to spruce up your sanctuary — and enhance your sleep.
SUMMER UP YOUR BED
Before the first warm-weather night takes you by surprise, consider these five smart — and stylish — ways to ready your bedroom.
1. ASSESS YOUR MATTRESS.
Most last about seven years, but if you don’t feel rested when you wake up on many a morning, it could be time for a new one. Look for a mattress that supports each body part equally and is made of material that will help you sleep most comfortably.
IF YOU RUN HOT ... Go for a spring mattress, a firm choice. It gets its support from coils underneath padding and doesn’t absorb much warmth. Flip it once a year.
IF YOU RUN COLD ... Opt for memory- or latex-foam styles; these conform to your body and trap heat.
IF IT DEPENDS ... A hybrid is the answer. Its layer of memory foam over springs means it’s the Goldilocks of options, and a nice combo if you prefer subtle firmness, but sleep hot.
BOX SPRING OR NOT? That’s entirely up to you — and whether you prefer to climb (or collapse) into bed. New two-sided mattresses don’t need one; they just require a hard, flat, even surface.
2. KEEP IT CLEAN.
Vacuum your mattress every three months. If you have allergies, add a washable, dust mite–proof cover, which will also help maintain its shape.
3. FRESHEN UP YOUR SHEETS.
Higher thread counts may seem luxurious, but they can also be heavier. For a luxe set that’s nice and airy, stick between 200 and 300.
4. ADD LIGHT LAYERS.
Many people like the sensation of something weighing them down at night, even in balmy conditions. The best balance: a light-weave cotton blanket. If you need a heavier cover, opt for a cotton quilt, which insulates without the bulk of a comforter. Have a variety on hand for style, comfort and the ability to strip away as you see fit.
5. FLUFF YOUR PILLOW.
No need to spend half the night flipping yours to the cool side. Some new synthetics are made with materials (like gels) that help regulate temperature. We suggest the Therapedic TruCool Standard series (from $60, bedbathandbeyond.com), available in a traditional shape for stomach and back sleepers, and in a contoured model for folks who lounge on their side.
TIP: DIAL DOWN FOR SLUMBER: Your bedding is just the start. Turn your thermostat to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, the optimum temperature for falling asleep.
(Questions should be addressed to Ask Martha, care of Letters Department, Martha Stewart Living, 601 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10001. Questions may also be sent by email to: email@example.com. Martha Stewart regrets that unpublished letters cannot be answered individually. For more information on the topics covered in the Ask Martha column, visit www.marthastewart.com.)