Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cool And Comfy Nights

When I was a kid we had cotton sheets in the summer and flannelet sheets in the winter. We'd top the summer sheet with a lightweight blanket and that was enough to keep us warm. When the weather started getting cooler in late September, we'd switch to flannelet sheets and gradually add more blankets as the winter set in and the nights got colder. On the coldest nights of the year, it wasn't unusual to have the weight of five blankets on top of me. I've always been very sensitive to wool and had to be very careful that if I used a wool blanket, that I could never let it touch my skin. It wasn't exactly comfortable having that much weight on top of me, but I didn't really have any other choice.

The farm house was originally built in 1909. It was remodeled a couple of times and re-insulated but it was still a bit drafty on really windy and cold nights. Mom and dad always turned down the heat at night as well, so I got used to sleeping in cool rooms with a ton of blankets on top.

I got so used to sleeping in a cool room, that now I can't sleep if the room is warm or if the air is not circulating a bit! I had a roommate once, who couldn't sleep in a cold room and it made sharing our two bedroom apartment a bit of a battle ground at times. I finally ended up leaving my window open a crack even in the winter just so I wouldn't wake up with a massive headache from the warm stuffiness of the air!

Living by myself isn't always great, but at least I don't have to argue with anyone about the room being too warm! For the last twenty years or so, I have actually been turning the heat completely off at night. My apartment faces north and unless there is a cold north wind, I leave the window open all the way or at least a crack every night. If the wind is from the north and too cold to leave it open even a bit, I turn on the ceiling fan so that I at least keep the air moving. It's either that or a rotten nights sleep and a nasty headache in the morning!

Unless the apartment is bitterly cold, I generally wait until after I've done my workout to turn on the heat in the morning. The cool air is very invigorating for exercise!

I'm one of those people who needs at least 8-9 hours of sleep every night or I'm not much good to anyone! Over the years I've figured out a lot about beds and bedding - what keeps me warm/cool and comfortable. I need a really firm mattress. Pillow top mattresses are a waste of money as they will eventually flatten out and loose any support they did give you. You are better off buying a high quality mattress and box spring. If you want something softer, invest in a good quality feather bed to place on top of the mattress. That will also add years of life to your mattress and box spring.

I love my bed. I've had it for just over ten years, but I've taken good care of it. I use a high quality mattress pad that helps to keep the mattress clean and prevents those nasty dust mites from getting into the bedding. Every spring and fall I flip the mattress. Every summer and winter I turn it. Using mattress pads and regular rotation of the mattress can add years to the life of your bed.

As important as room temperature and the bed are, they are only a part of what makes for a good nights sleep.
Tomorrow: Bedding 101!

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