First seen in the November 2016 edition of SLOAN!, we asked Toby Walzer, co-founder of RESTED, the UK’s most innovative sleep specialist, to explain what it takes to sleep in luxury. Toby is an expert on luxury and performance sleep and RESTED offers discerning customers a wide range of high-end sleep goods which are all exclusive to the UK from their London showroom and online retail platform.
As specialist luxury sleep engineers, an obvious question that we face is what is the difference between a bed that costs £500 and a bed that costs £50,000? And will spending more on my bed buy me better sleep? In advising upon that question, one has to draw the distinction between different types of luxury, and what it takes to sleep well.
Aesthetic luxury is often what people consider first (the other factors are more important but the aesthetics are always what you encounter first). Beautiful and unique beds, particularly with large headboards or ornate detailing raise the cost substantially. As indeed will seeking out beds made of the highest grade or rare woods. Handcrafting, and therefore man hours, costs money as a skill, and often bed manufacturers are quick to justify their high price points based on exactly that. What we find interesting as sleep engineers, is whether a hand crafting process can produce a better product than a precision engineered one? Invariably the answer is no.
Equally, does the rarity of the woods used to make my bed mean that it will last longer or make you sleep better? Again, the answer is normally not. On the plus side though, aesthetics are a very important part of the philosophy of good sleep. Your bedroom environment and how it makes you feel dramatically influence your process of falling asleep. We encourage people to define their bedroom as a sanctuary that positively contributes to the sleep process, and naturally the bed is the dominant feature of your bedroom.
Therefore, your bed should represent you aesthetic ideal of your perfect sleep ‘sanctuary’. A grandiose feel with a large impressive upholstered bed? Or perhaps the fresh feeling and clean lines of minimalist modernity. We find increasingly that metals and minimalist beds fit much more into creating an interior vibe of calmness and freshness for refreshing hygienic sleep. Sleep is largely about clearing your mind and by design your bedroom should help you do that.
Comfort Luxury is the next part of the equation. It generally follows that the more comfortable you are, the better sleep you can achieve. Being truly comfortable means that you can fall asleep more quickly and should wake up less during the night. Thus providing better sleep quality, which is the principle determinant of how you feel the next day (and a very important element of your overall daily wellbeing).
Comfort luxury in a bed is generally made up of three things. Pressure relief (particularly for your shoulders and hips), support (normally provided through ‘lift’ and the ability to be supported in the right places and contour to your body), and finally your very personal and individual definition of what comfort feels like. We see it all the time that some people love the comfort of a bouncy bed whilst others do not. Likewise some revel in the cushioning effect of memory foams but others hate it. It’s all very personal.
The most important point is that true comfort luxury can only be achieved by a comparative process. In order to find truly optimized comfort you have to contrast different constructions, and find what is right for you as an individual. A really critical element to comfort and long term wellbeing, is your spinal alignment whilst you sleep. For long term back care your spine needs to be straight. We always like to recommend that people look at mattresses that are specifically zoned for the differing contours of their body zones, their weight, and their sleep position.
There is no reason at all, that you and your partner would have the same requirements in a mattress and it’s really important not to compromise. Otherwise you will both end up with ‘average’. Bi-comfort mattresses where the tensioning or construction is created for each side individually are a very important tool so that you and your partner both get individually tailored sleep luxury.
The final element of sleep luxury is ‘performance’. There are many functional performance factors that can be optimized for better sleep. Of most relevance are thermoregulation, moisture control, hygiene, and longevity. These are all things that can be engineered into a bed and mattress. Airflow is something that contributes to all of the above, and is traditionally completely overlooked when it comes to beds and mattresses. Having a strong pass through of air, allows your bed to thermoregulate, allows moisture to dissipate, and keeps your sleep environment hygienic and allergen/organism free.
Modern luxury mattresses will always have a removable outer cover so you can truly keep a clean environment. We find that many mattresses typically perceived as the height of luxury are made of materials and constructions that either don’t perform well in these categories, or at the least are no way near as good as that which modern engineering and materials can achieve. It’s important to understand that a single artisan could spend years handcrafting a mattress, and filling it with the rarest of materials; but what is more important is whether those materials and that construction are going to make you sleep better. It’s the end result in terms of comfort and performance luxury that are really worth spending the money on.
We find that many northern European brands have focused more directly on producing beds distinguished by the individualism and theory of sleep. It comes from the fact that they prioritise sleep and are keen to ensure that good sleep be a positive factor in their wellbeing. Engineering products that have the required performance and comfort luxury elements, combined with aesthetic designs that really reflect the tranquility of the bedroom sanctuary.
Royal Auping – The King of Beds
Royal Auping for example have been producing unique metal frame contemporary beds for more than 120 years. Beds that are directly focused on ventilation and hygienic sleep, and optimized for perfect spinal alignment and comfort for the individual. Many of their beds also incorporate adjustability, as it is this functionality that transforms the bed into a true item of modern luxury. Allowing oneself to sleep effectively, but also to utilize the bed as a place to relax, read, and watch in total comfort.
The Royal Bed by Royal Auping incorporates five motors for total body ergonomics, integrated bedsides tables and reading lights. An automatic shoulder zone that adapts during the night. Even touchdown lights that guide you back to bed without waking your partner, and an integrated morning wake up sunrise alarm clock.
Based on our knowledge of sleep engineering it’s hard for us to justify spending either £500 or £50,000 on a bed. Those figures are both too extreme relative to the materials, technology and theory available to sleep engineering. The truth is that there are plenty of fantastically well engineered high quality luxury beds that can deliver all the required elements of total sleep luxury within the range of £2,000 – £15,000. For the product that you will use more than any other and so directly affects your daily wellbeing, we feel that at that level it is a ‘luxury’ worth having. What remains most critical is to compare and contrast, be properly advised on what matters, and invest your own time in obtaining a bed and mattress that is right for you as an individual.
Double sized Royal Auping beds are available from £2,400 to £9,750, depending on customised options (excluding mattresses). For more information, go to www.rested.com or call 0208 960 1754 to visit the Sleep Loft showroom (by appointment only).
RESTED Sleep Engineering
Unit 3, Westmoreland House, Scrubs Lane, London, NW10 6RE
0208 960 1754