Sleep — Your Bed, More Than Just a Pretty Piece of Furniture

The social dynamics of modern life demands that we as humans constantly adapt, continuously learn new processes, and deal with infinite challenges that generally test our concentration, attention, and all of our cognitive functions, which depend largely on the quality and amount of sleep that we get. Over the years there has been a lot research about how much sleep we are supposed to get nightly, and although there is currently a general rule that recommends between 7 and 8 hours a night, the National Sleep Foundation establishes that the number of hours is actually relative to the age of each person.

According to a study conducted by the Asociación Colombiana de Medicina del Sueño and published by RCN Radio, 40% of Colombians suffer from insomnia, and 20% take some type of medication to help them fall asleep. That same study revealed that snoring, kicking, and sleep apnea are the most common disorders that occur in the national population.

Too little sleep causes serious health issues, both short- and long-term.  Glucose tolerance, which causes diabetes and obesity, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, decreases up to 40% of the brain’s ability to acquire new knowledge, weakens the immune system, and stimulates early aging and hyperalgesia (increased pain sensitivity), and causes gastrointestinal problems.

My work on design and decoration projects for rooms, both for the tourist industry and for end-customers, has sparked my interest in studies and figures related to sleep disorders, and has led me to closely monitor progress in the development of mattresses and bedding that assist in getting the best night’s sleep possible.  Even though many sleep disorders are age-related, and caused by anxiety, stress, lack of physical activity, and poor eating habits, a comfortable bed could contribute directly to impacting and improving public health.

Currently there have been important advances in sleep technology, which are tailored to the explicit needs of each user.  In this article, I will focus on comfort. My recommendation is to choose a mattress that consists of a system of individual springs, which provides independent cushioning of body weight. There are some developments that provide greater firmness to the area of the mattress that supports the core and hips, because they are the areas where 50% of our weight is concentrated when we are in a sleeping position.

After the springs come the foam layers.  I recommend memory foam, which absorbs weight and has a low density. Some of these foams are made of latex, and others are made of exotic fibers like bamboo or even horsehair.  The needs of the client, or the quality standards of the hotel company, will determine which alternative is chosen. As for blankets, third generation fabrics are a plus in the mattress industry, because they not only regulate body temperature, which is ideal for hot climates and for people whose body heat increases during sleep, but also have aloe vera and anti-aging treatments in them.

Let’s talk about bedding next.  To begin with, it is essential to have a mattress pad that will protect the mattress and help preserve the life of your investment; however, care must be taken to ensure that it is washable, inflammable, preferably 100% organic cotton, and contain a physical barrier against mites.  From personal experience, I recommend the Teflon mattress protector from the brand Mano de Oso.

When it comes to sheets, I follow the advice of Eleana Tocora, purchasing director of the home department of a renowned company in Cali. Her experience with clients in the tourism sector informs us that 3-star hotels use 100% cotton sheets with a minimum 140 thread count, and hotels 5 stars and above use 100% cotton sheets with a minimum 300 thread count.

The duvet is the first thing that we see on a hotel bed, or that our customers see when we are presenting a design project for decorating their bedrooms.  Duvet filling was originally goose down, but thanks to industrial advances, it has now been replaced by environmentally friendly synthetic fibers. According to Jorge Gómez, a sleep specialist with Canvas Home, the benefits of the duvet are many: they provide warmth, are lightweight, and aesthetically make a bed look cozy.

As for pillows, my recommendation for those who have a business in the tourist industry is to have a portfolio of those items that will allow them to meet the needs of all types of guests. Latex pillows are the best choice for most consumers, according to Marcela Montes, Marketing Director of Mano de Oso.  These pillows have multiple benefits.  In addition to lasting longer than conventional pillows, latex adapts to the shape of the head and neck, provides greater firmness and support, and allows optimal air circulation that prevents heating.

The sleep industry offers a large number of solutions that can mitigate sleep disorders. Practicing healthy habits and knowing the range of products that the industry can offer to adapt to our needs will greatly favor both our health and our lifestyle.

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