Our health is directly influenced by the way we sleep. It is a common truth that quality of life depends on quality of sleep. An adequate comfortable sleep can significantly extend our life. That's why so many professionals are involved in designing of our bed. You must know that improper sleep may cause a lot of problems and even diseases like osteochondrosis, radiculitis, arthritis, blood supply disturbance, insomnia, allergy, asthma, etc. So I'd like to attract your attention to modern means of sleep improvement and to some interesting historical data.
According to numerous studies the ancients used to sleep on branches of trees. In such a way they tried to save themselves from beasts of prey. But they faced another danger to fall down from the branches while sleeping.
So the ancients decided gradually to move to safer caves. Another evolutional step was building a firmer dwelling and something like a bed with handrails saving from falling. Animal skins used by them are considered the first and frankly speaking the best bedclothes.
Since those times people have experienced numerous variants of bed accessories including mattresses filled with hay, leaves, horsehair and cotton, homespun sackcloths and sheets from expensive linen with lacy valances, down feather bed and pillows, foam-rubber mattresses, etc.
Design of an ancient bed resembled a wide box filled with straw and wool or covered with skins. Down feather beds were considered the pink of perfection and dream.
Firm frames with stretched spring straps were used later as the basis for expensive beds. Metal frames were very popular in the 19 century. But soon they were proved dangerous and unacceptable for sleep. It was the period when the first spring mattresses appeared which are still very popular today.
Nowadays the best mattress is considered a spring orthopedic one. It is high quality equipment specially designed to improve quality of your sleep and your life in general. Its construction corresponds to anatomic building of a human being and medical recommendations, and its multilayer structure includes natural layers (cotton, felt, horsehair, coconut shavings or sea grass), cover and a complex system of numerous springs of special form made from stainless steel.
A professionally designed mattress normalizes and improves your sleep, relaxes and heels your back and influences upon your backbone in a favorable way. It is proved even to normalize the work of your stomach and intestines preventing from gastritis and ulcers. But some physicians treat them queerly. They consider that due to the inner space of these mattresses there is a place for dust, microorganisms and insects beyond the reach of cleaning. Another problem concerns the period when the mattress becomes worn out. Your backbone begins to sag preventing you from the necessary rest and creating tension in your muscles.
Now you understand why people prefer flat wooden beds with foam-rubber or wadded mattresses above them.
But having slept a period of time on soft foam-rubber you'll feel ache in waist, back, and muscles. It appears because your back always sags in soft foam-rubber, and you have no possibility to straighten it. Among other disadvantages of foam-rubber is its capability to absorb moisture. You must know that a human body relieves up to a liter of sweat while sleeping. So having laid on such a mattress you'll get an unpleasant feeling of cold and dampness. If you use such mattresses for a long period you even risk of chilling your muscles and nerve endings and get rheumatic diseases.
Speaking about the foam-rubber chemical structure you should take into consideration that it can relieve up to 60 mg toxic agents in the process of destroying.
Having listened to your complaints a doctor will certainly recommend you to sleep on a hard plank covered with a thin blanket. But this replacement will not solve out all your problems. At first you'll feel some relief because the hard surface unloads some of your muscles. On the other hand, other muscles become loaded as in such a state your backbone cambers. A hard surface also causes blood circulation disturbances and soft tissues compression. Besides, you'll never feel rested and cheerful in the morning after such sleeping.
If you still prefer synthetic stuffs for mattresses, furnishings, blankets or pillows pay attention at their quality and composition. Nowadays chemically inert fiber is widely spread. It has a structure of elastic small balls like pellets of natural wool. Such stuff keeps heat in a cold weather and does not prevent heat exchange and free air circulation to remove moisture in a hot weather. This stuff never crumples or crushes, it does not cause allergy, has no smell. It does not accumulate dust, mold, moth or ticks.
Many people prefer luxurious down feather beds. But they were proved dangerous and poor quality yet in the nineteenth century. They have all the disadvantages of foam-rubber ones but are much more expensive.
Feathers and down keep heat due to numerous air gaps between them. But they absorb moisture significantly. That's why such a bed always seems damp and cold in the evening.
Besides, you need a special covering made of a very thick fabric because the elastic feathers may push outside. In general tick is used for this purpose. After steeping it becomes airtight. But the physical properties of such material become equal to oilcloth. It is dangerous for your health. Your skin always breathes relieving slacks and carbonic acid, but the impermeable down covering makes the skin absorb it all backwards poisoning your body.
If you add a down blanket you'll aggravate the harm for your health by the effect of a sweating-room. It may cause insomnia, colds, rheumatism and arthritis.
Besides, any down usually has an unpleasant smell and causes allergy. Within course of the time it displays the signs of decomposition. You may be convinced of this yourself. When you change the pillowcase of your down pillow you usually note some dark spots on the down covering. As a rule you think that these spots are from your sweat. In actual fact, they are signs of down decomposition.
According to scientific researches there may be up to 10 kinds of parasitic microorganisms including microscopic dust ticks capable of active reproduction in such a warm and damp environment. Such ticks may cause allergy and in some cases even asthma.
It's very difficult to struggle with these parasites. When you shake up your pillow before sleeping we just ventilate their "dwelling". When you clean the bed with washing vacuum cleaner you create a favorable environment for their reproduction. Here comes a good proverb "Better to prevent than to heel".
There are some European countries where down feather beds and pillows are forbidden at all for usage in hospitals and hotels.
Nowadays wool is considered the best and the most thermoregulating material. It is widely used because it allows the skin to breathe. According to many studies, the most important factor for the human skin is free access of fresh air. And wool provides it properly. It also has a lot of heeling properties. In the old days people treated many illnesses with its help. They put natural wool to sensitive points and relieved from headache, toothache, etc. People even nursed prematurely born children in sheep wool.
The reason for this is that the fibers of natural wool uncolored and unprocessed with any chemicals are covered with animal wax. It is lanolin compiling up to 12% wool weight. This wax is very valuable and it is specially derived for using as a basis for numerous cosmetic creams and ointments.
If your bed accessories contain natural wool then its lanolin dissolving at 35-37 temperature penetrates easily the skin. It affects favorably muscles, joints, and backbone, relieves from pains and stimulates blood circulation.
Wool can absorb water up to 40% of its weight and still remain dry to the touch. Besides, its thermal conductivity coefficient is lower than that of many other textile fabrics. So, a woolen bed is considered the warmest and the driest one.
There are "winter and summer" mattresses that have two sides. One side is covered with natural merino wool and another one is processed with silky flax or pure cotton. But you may just get two furnishings for your mattress: the first one made from wool will be for winter, and the second one made from flax will be for summer. A woolen furnishing will save your health even if you have a foam-rubber mattress.
Most people used to put something under the head for a comfortable sleep. It is also necessary in order not to bend your backbone in reclining position. People use various appliances for this aim (a rectangular wooden support in Egypt, an inclined wooden plank in Japan).
The Europeans used to get rectangular feather or down pillows. Nowadays natural pillow stuffs become more popular, and wooden ones are mostly widespread among them.
Researches studied children's behaviors during the sleep. No matter what pillow is used, a child always tries to put hands under the head. On the basis of these studies an orthopedic pillow has been designed. It is a rectangular pillow with a thickened bolster along one of its sides. Sizes of this bolster are chosen in accordance with the width of your shoulder. The bolster provides a support for your head and cervical spine during your sleep, unloads muscles of your neck and stimulates your correct breathing. Incorrect position of your head may cause spinal curvature, frequent headache and other unpleasant feelings.
If you use a woolen pillowcase you provide your head skin with a proper heeling massage. It can also relieve you from sleeplessness.
There are various kinds of blankets for your choice. We have spoken about the down and feather ones. Now let's touch some other variants. You may choose a wadded blanket; it's rather warm at the beginning but soon it becomes crumpled and heterogeneous, and you cannot feel comfortable under such a blanket. A synthetic blanket is also a variant, but you'll always feel extremely hot in summer and extremely cold in winter under this. So the best choice would be a natural wool quilted blanket in a cotton covering.
The basis of a modern wool blanket is cotton knitted fabric. Woolen fibers are interlaced with it transversely recreating a structure of natural fur. This technology of blanket, furnishing and pillow cover production provides a proper heat and air exchange.
It's very easy to maintain the woolens. Dirt does not stick to wool due to lanolin. Everything you need is just to shake out the woolens or clean them with a vacuum cleaner from time to time. You may also take them outside in fresh air, but don't expose the wool to direct sunrays as they can dissolve the lanolin. You should wash your woolen bed accessories every six-nine months.
Choosing appropriate bedclothes is the last step to arrange your sleeping place. It is necessary to find both beautiful and useful bedclothes. Pay attention at the fabric. It should be chipping-resistant and easy for maintenance. Perfect bedclothes usually keep the quality and freshness after laundry.
There is extremely wide choice of bedclothes in the market today. The most elegant bedclothes are considered natural silky ones. Natural silk breathes properly and does not cause allergy. At the same time it's very pleasant to the touch.
The most practical bedclothes are considered linen ones. In general, this fabric keeps its appearance after numerous laundries and becomes in cause of the time even softer and more pleasant. It warms in winter and cools in summer.
High quality cotton bedclothes belong to the first category. They are made from Egyptian cotton without any synthetic additives.
Cotton mixed with polyester is much cheaper and is a reasonable choice for people who don't like to iron their bedclothes.
Don't be afraid to experiment with pattern of your bedclothes. You may choose small abstract pattern imitating easy rumpling of the fabric. Contrast fabrics are also now very popular.
But if you have chosen a printed pattern take into consideration that it may fade after laundry.
If you suffer from allergy try to avoid colored fabric because bright colors and fixing agents cause skin irritation.
People frequently suffering from sleeplessness may choose a "sleeping" pillow. It is a small pillow as large as a hand.
You may make it yourself from a thin cotton fabric and fill it with fragrant dried plants: lavender, hop, origanum,
thyme and mint. A stamped valerian root also provides a good effect. Put this pillow under your head and enjoy your
sleep and pleasant dreams.