In our interview series, we talk to our favourite bloggers and experts about their trend predictions and styles. Here, we meet Sarah Smith, head of buying and merchandising at Soak&Sleep
1. We spend a huge portion of the day in our beds. How important for our health is a good night’s sleep?
We spend a third of our life in bed. Not only is it an important to switch off and relax after a long day, research has shown a great number of health factors that benefit when we get plenty of rest. Make time to better your bed, as research proves that good sleep improves memory, helps you live longer, maintains weight and benefits your heart and immune system.
2. There’s nothing like a spring clean to set you up for a new season. How often should we be washing our pillows and duvets?
I always recommend using a pillow and duvet protector, which you should wash regularly. I would suggest that you invest in 2 sets so that you can rotate them with the weekly wash. The protector acts as a barrier, protecting your pillows and duvets from dirt, sweat and spills. Pillows and duvets should be washed a minimum of every 6-12 months. Whilst all of our products are able to be washed in the washer at home you really can’t beat a professional clean to take the hassle out of washing and ensure the lasting comfort and quality of the product. It’s critical to ensure the fillings are thoroughly dry after washing to avoid the fill quality being compromised, especially on Feather and Down.
3. What is the best way to keep our mattress, duvet and pillows in tip top condition?
I really can’t stress the importance of using protectors enough. If you invest in a quality product the protective layer will help you maintain its quality. Protecting from dirt, sweat and spills supports the ongoing freshness of the mattress, duvet and pillow itself, as well as simplifying the process the need for washing.
It’s equally important to keep your bedding plumped and aired on a daily basis. Plump and shake out the pillow and duvets each morning, and air everything daily. Pull back the bedding whilst you take a shower and make this part of your daily routine. Airing out on a warm, breezy day every couple of months in between cleans will also help – although not always easy with the British weather.
When buying a new mattress follow any flip or turning instructions to ensure that the materials settle and distribute evenly to protect its longevity. Pulling back the sheets from your mattress regularly will also help to air the mattress allowing any excess moisture to evaporate.
4. Spring, and especially summer, are the warmest months. How can we avoid a sticky night’s sleep?
Choosing breathable fabrics and fillers is key – natural materials allow air to flow, as well as having many other qualities to promote a cooler night’s sleep; silk, cotton and linen all wick away moisture (sweat) from the skin to help avoid a sticky slumber, whilst a wool-filled duvet helps to regulate the body’s temperature throughout the night. For those that prefer synthetic materials there are several options that all work to promote a cool night’s sleep – from cooling memory foam to natural/synthetic combinations. Not all materials are created equal though and a lot of the choice comes down to personal preference. Your bedroom temperature, how you sleep and if you share your bed will all have an influence on the choice that sill suit you best – always research which suits your sleep-style and budget best.
The tog value of your duvet will also have a bearing on your comfort levels, choose a lower tog value between 2.5 and 4.5. Keeping your bedroom at 18 degrees will also help support a good night of sleep.
5. What tog should we be using for year-round comfort?
A duvet’s tog rating refers to the level of thermal insulation provided; the higher the tog, the warmer the duvet. Our duvets range from a high summer 2.5 tog to an ultra-warm Arctic 18 tog for the deep, dark depths of winter. For a fail-safe option we recommend investing in an all-seasons duvet set, which consists of two duvets: a 4.5 tog and a 9 tog. Used individually, or combined you’ll have the perfect duvet all year round.
6. What are your tips for picking the perfect mattress?
Mattresses vary dramatically in price, feel, firmness and quality, so it’s incredibly important that you choose the right one for you. There are several factors which come into play: your sleep position, how much support you require, which size you need and of course any personal preferences. A decent mattress should last you 7-10 years so it’s worth investing in the biggest and best you possibly can. Ask yourself these questions to choose the right one for you:
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1. What position you sleep in? This will have a bearing on the support you need and most importantly keeping your spine aligned.
2. What comfort level you like? The filings and layers over the core support structures will create the ‘feel’ of your mattress.
3. Get the measurements right – although we have standard sizes for beds here in the UK, it is still possible to come across irregular sized bed frames. Measure up and ensure you buy the correct size to fit your bedstead or divan.
4. Do you share with a partner? If so, you will need to choose a mattress to suit you both, as well as ensuring it has the ability to react to both of bodies’ movement etc throughout the night
5. How much can you afford? Spend as much as you can on a mattress. This is an investment in to the quality of your sleep.
7. Do you have any decorating tips for creating a fresh bedroom come spring?
Start with a full spring clean, include your bedding and give your mattress a good air. De-clutter your room, using storage solutions to organise your belongings.
A new set of bed linen in cotton, linen or silk will create a fresh feeling. Choosing from our spring collection will bring the emotions and happiness from a day at the beach into the home.
Soft, airy pastel greens and nautical-inspired blues are teamed with delicate and fresh whites for a cooling and calm coastal feel. It’s amazing what difference a fresh set of bed linen can make to the whole room!
8. Do you have any tips for relaxing and unwinding before you sleep?
Everything leading up to the moment you close your eyes will affect how well you sleep – from the day you’ve had to what you’ve eaten. I am all about reclaiming the 5 to 9. Whilst you can’t always control how stressful your day is, everything from the moment you walk through the door in the evening is within your control. Try to spend the evening doing whatever relaxes you. For ultimate relaxation wash off the day and snuggle into some comfortable loungewear (or better yet – straight into your PJs!) and focus on being as relaxed as possible.
An hour before bed you should try to switch off from all technology and get into the ultimate wind down mode – something we all struggle with in this day and age of social media, electronics and connectivity.
9. Would you recommend taking a bath to unwind prior to bedtime?
Absolutely! Taking a moment to relax, be warm and wash off the day’s stress and activities is an incredible way to get the body and mind ready to switch off for the night. Essential oils are a wonderful addition to the ritual – either through scented candles or bath oils and salts – with a host of varieties to allow you to tailor the experience. Low lighting, relaxing music and beautiful scents help to get the senses calm and relaxed.
10. How do you decide which products to stock at Soak&Sleep?
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We have a wonderful team that works incredibly hard to develop the best products, using the best materials from around the globe. We have goose down from Canada, Linen flax from France and so on; starting with the finest ingredients and working from the inside out to create the best products that support a great night of sleep. We really focus on creating a focused collection, ensuring to offer choice to suit different sleep needs, across a variety of budgets. Our aim is to help our customers get the best night’s sleep they can – this means providing the best options for all without presenting an overwhelming choice.