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A sleep expert’s essential advice for getting a good night’s rest

Hongkongers are notoriously hardworking, meaning we’re likely all in dire need of more sleep than we’re currently getting. Sleep has been an increasingly studied topic of late, with National Napping Day in the US having occurred earlier this week, and today marking World Sleep Day (so make sure you get plenty of ZZZ’s tonight). 

With these events calling to attention the dangers of sleep deprivation and poor-quality sleep, we decided to get some tips for good sleep from Ramon van de Nobelen, mattress expert at London’s Savoir Beds — a brand that started out making beds for the famed Savoy Hotel, and has been making some of the world’s finest luxury beds since 1905.

What are three essential things needed for quality sleep?
Temperature, a correct bed system, and bespoke support. An optimal climate in bed is key, and it applies to both snowy European winters or warm, humid Asian summers. For that, you’d want to go with materials from yak, camel and horses — animals that easily function in the most hostile environments and climates. When sleeping, you want to feel as if you’re floating on a cloud, too; so you need the right support on your back and joints. This is where the highest quality materials and best craftsmanship will help achieve beautiful sleep.

What goes into a Savoir bed that sets it apart from the rest?
At Savoir, all of our beds are made by hand by artisans in London, and use natural materials such as hand-teased Argentinian horsetail hair, cashmere and lambswool. There are four types of mattresses: the No. 1 (the most extravagant), for example, features taller springs, lavish layers, a deeper mattress and base, a hand-tied cane edge, hardwood beech frame, mountains of hand-teased Argentinian horsetail hair as a filling and a cashmere topper. It’s made in London with over 120 skilled production hours.

How are ways you’ll know if your bed isn’t giving you enough support?
Consider your sleep posture and how your body reacts with the mattress. If the mattress is too hard, the hip and shoulder can be pushed up; ideally you are looking to be as straight as possible, so make sure the mattress is soft enough for you. If you are a back sleeper, push your hand under your back to see if the mattress is meeting the lower back, if not then there isn’t enough support. Savoir Beds can zone several different mattress tensions on each side of the bed, so that couples don’t have to compromise. It’s important to have a bed fitted for your body, just like you would a Savile Row suit.

Savoir Beds was first established in 1905, what do you find challenging about helping a heritage brand stay modern?
It’s difficult to draw from a pool of traditional upholsterers, as the craft is dying. We therefore have our own training scheme to ensure that the skills are passed on and kept alive. Savoir Beds had just two full-time and one part-time craftsmen in 1997 when we became independent from the Savoy. Today we have over 60 skilled craftsmen and women. The key is not to have a museum, but a workshop that creates something that people actually want and aspire to own. Savoir now have showrooms around the world, from New York to Hong Kong, Paris to Seoul, and of course London. Over 50% of what Savoir’s craftspeople produce goes overseas, so we must be doing something right!

We hear a lot of current celebrities are also happy customers of Savoir Beds, can you share a few?
Plenty, from actors such as Sir Michael Caine to star musicians such as Madonna and Elton John to Chris Martin and Oprah Winfrey.

What kind of bed do you sleep in?
Me and my wife, we love the size of our mattress: 210 x 210cm — it is huge! It’s a No.2 bed made of two individual mattresses, soft and standard and two linked boxsprings. We float into the night and get up in the morning totally energised!

Can you give us five top tips for what to look for when choosing the perfect bed?

1. Consider your partner: Your mattress should allow you both enough space. It should also accommodate your different requirements.

2. Make yourself comfortable: Always test mattresses before buying, and take your time to lie down in the positions you tend to sleep in. Take off coats and jackets to get a better feel. Don’t be embarrassed — it’s well worth taking your time over it.

3. Look for natural materials: The best mattress result is achieved with pocket springs in association with the right natural springs, loose curled tail hair being among the best of these. Hair can provide a spring which is much smaller and provides much more subtle support than any metal spring. For example, a five-foot Savoir mattress and divan uses 29kg of either curled horse or cattle tail.

4. Look after your mattress: The majority of mattresses require regular turning to ensure the material settles evenly and that it is properly aired. Without turning, the life of your mattress will be significantly reduced. Typically, you need to turn every month or so.

5. Don’t assume that a hard mattress means it’s better: When selecting a mattress, keep in mind that your body should be able to relax, with your spine supported in its natural curve. Otherwise, your muscles work all night and you wake up feeling stiff and sore. In theory, the lighter you are, the softer the mattress you should require. However, do not confuse soft with saggy. A high quality mattress will still provide support when soft, with the springs and other upholstery allowing hips and shoulders to sink, but the material rises to fill the gaps and provide support.

Savoir Beds are available at Noblesse Lifestyle Group’s Luxury Bed Studio, Shop 2, G/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong, +852 2836 6600, noblesse-lifestyle.com

Evelyn Lok
Managing Editor
When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. At Lifestyle Asia she covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.
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