Sleep is a terribly scarce resource: people crave it, obsess about it, brag about how much they’re getting, keep running numerical tallies of their experiences, quietly seek instruction on how to get better at it, and secretly cannot manage to get enough of it to satisfy themselves. The number of nightly hours of sleep one can achieve has become a “thing,” and a good night’s sleep has become a luxury item, to be lusted after and fetishized.
The amount of literature published on this topic is daunting. Here’s just a tiny subset of the recently-published books on the subject: The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It by W. Chris Winter M.D.; Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker PhD. And Arianna Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.
This deluge of alarming books actually makes us more anxious, and less likely to be able to sleep.
Doctors tell us that when we’re sleep-deprived our cortisol and epinephrine levels rise, which can lead to an increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and higher blood sugar. But wait, there’s more: the bad chemicals that are supposed to be excreted from our brains while we sleep accumulate when we don’t get enough shut-eye, and that leads to brain sludge.
An extensive sleep study conducted in the UK by the University of Oxford and the Royal Society for Public Health found that a lack of sleep affects the body the same way drinking alcohol does. On a related note, we heard last week that soon devices will be installed on vehicles that don’t allow ignition if the driver is insufficiently rested.
As if that’s not enough, too little sleep can also makes us gain weight. A doctor at the NYU Langone Sleep Center notes that when we have insufficient sleep, “leptin and ghrelin hormones go up and that makes you want to eat more.” A study published last year in the journal SLEEP suggests that the brain receptors that can lead the sleep-deprived to crave unnecessary food were the same as those activated by marijuana.
Yikes! No wonder sloth is the new industriousness. Despite the perfectly legitimate admonition to Stay Woke, many people around the world are focused on falling asleep. It turns out that living the dream requires sleeping deeply enough to have actual dreams.
It’s reported that up to 20 percent of Americans suffer from sleep or wakefulness disorders. Fifty to 70 million U.S. adults have a chronic sleep disorder and one in three adults get less than seven hours of sleep a night according to the CDC.
So what should we do? Is this a problem at which money can be thrown?
Absolutely, dear reader. You can build the bed of your dreams, and sleep in it in chic and luxurious p.j.s, with the best sleep tech monitoring your every breath. As long as you have enough dough.
Based on that, here’s our round-up of the top-of-the-line elements for the best night’s sleep if money is no object:
The Rolls Royce of mattresses comes in the iconic blue check pattern of Swedish brand Hästens. The brand’s rich history runs through six generations – from its roots as a master saddler to its appointment as Royal Purveyors for the Swedish Court. Each mattress is crafted by hand, and and takes 150 to 160 hours to build, using all-natural materials such as cotton, flax and horsehair. The company employs proprietary techniques, such as the “10-turn pocket spring system.” As every mattress is completed, the final craftsman signs a brass plaque and attaches it to the bed. A basic King-sized Hästens starts at $9,000 and can go up to almost $200,000 for the top-of-the-line Vividus model, which is considered by many to be the world’s most luxurious bed.
Few brands are more synonymous with luxurious bedding than Frette. Founded in 1860, this storied brand is the way to go if you want to be able to name-drop your luxurious bedding to all your friends and guests. Joking aside, Frette has the design heritage and chops to back up its reputation. You’ll find their sheets on the beds throughout the Ritz Carlton collection, at The Carlyle in New York City, and at the prestigious Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Italy. Frette has a variety of collections to suit whatever high-end aesthetic you’re dreaming of—from their crisp, clean Hotel Collection ($370 and up) to the smooth and lustrous Ultimate Collection ($2,800 and up).
The world is full of wonderful sleepwear. But if you want the ne plus ultra, this season you’d have to go with Prada. The brand’s women’s line features a pair of stylish silk printed pajamas with the same lipstick print as its runway looks ($1,980).
The Somnox Sleep Robot ($549) is a cuddly robotic pillow designed to simulate breathing and play soothing music to help you fall asleep. The pillow expands and contracts in a breathing pattern that helps to lower stress – users can synchronize their own breath with the machine, and as a result fall asleep sooner. The pillow also plays lullabies, white noise, and audio books – it also leads guided meditation. And once you fall asleep, the pillow goes to sleep too. Awww.
THE SLEEP TRACKER
SleepScore Max ($149.99) is a bedside sleep tracker that only requires proximity to track data, not contact – so no need to wear a device to bed. It looks like a tiny speaker and sends waves that reflects off the skin’s perspiration and it picks up movement to one tenth of a millimeter, monitoring both your breathing and sleep patterns. It also provides personalized, actionable advice about what you can do to improve your sleep, keeping in mind your daytime personal habits (exercise level, coffee and alcohol intake, self reported stress level, etc.). Best of all, you don’t need to bring your smartphone to bed.
Add all of these up, throw in a mattress topper, a spare set of sheets, some shams and decorative pillows, a duvet and duvet cover, a blanket or two, and a fluffy pair of slippers, and your sweet dreams could easily run you over $300,000. But hey – you’re worth it! We’re talking about boss sleep here.
Of course there are many other options for help drifting off to sleep that cost far less money: hot milk, a great book (even better if a kind person will read it aloud to you), pillow spray, an eye mask, a friendly dog, a noise machine, even a small house on the beach where the roar of the surf can lull you into dreamland.
We close with a word from the Bard, to remind us that the quest to enter the Land of Nod is a timeless dilemma. In the immortal words of Hamlet: “To sleep, perchance to dream- ay, there’s the rub.”
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