Like many people I have a wish list of those ultimate investment purchases and luxury items that I would one day love to have in my home if money were no object. When it comes to the bedroom, then along with a walk in wardrobe, a Hästens bed comes top of that list.
A little while ago I vsited their Chelsea showroom where I was lucky enough to try out a wide range of their beds. Although you can perhaps only fully judge a mattress by sleeping on it, this brief taster alone was enough to induce something of a Princess and the Pea moment in me when I returned home that evening and slumped into my own (perfectly adequate but considerably less luxurious) bed.
Let's make no pretence about it, this is an aspirational product. You could probably pick up a decent car for the price of the beds at the upper end of the Hästens range, the pinnacle of which is the Vividus - a contender for the title of 'world's most luxurious bed'?
So what do you get in return for splashing out such an eye watering sum of money in search of the perfect night's sleep?
Well firstly, every Hästens bed is crafted by hand and tailored to the individual from firm to soft. As Sweden's oldest bed manufacturer - the company was established in 1852 so they have now been making beds for over 160 years - Hästens has a long and distinguished heritage that can draw upon five generations experience of product development and hand craftsmanship. Multiple layers of breathable natural materials - cotton, wool, flax and horsehair - provide the ultimate in comfort and luxury to help you fall asleep easily and then sleep deeply at the right temperature. Their beds are supremely comfortable.
Secondly, achieving a good night's sleep is one of the simplest and yet most impactful ways in which we can improve our quality of life. Although I'm lucky enough to be able to sleep through practically anything most of the time, I do know from experience just how debilitating insomnia or just a lack of adequate sleep can be, and so sleep is something I've learned to prioritise as I've got older in order to take better care of myself.
According to Hästens, here are 6 of the most important reasons why it's important to get a good night's sleep:
1. You live longer and get healthier
Our immune defenses suffer, stress hormones multiply and we find it hard to concentrate when we lose out on essential hours of sleep.
2. You learn quicker
Improving the quality of your sleep is a simple natural way of also improving your ability to learn. When we sleep we go through different stages of sleep. Deep sleep and REM sleep - also known as dream sleep - are important in terms of our ability to learn. During deep sleep our knowledge is cemented and our impressions are enhanced, allowing us to remember what we have learned for longer.
3. You perform better
When it comes to athletic performance, researchers have found that athletes who slept at least 10 hours a night for a longer period of time improved their results. First because they are consolidating their newly learned skills and secondly, researchers believe that growth hormone is released while sleeping. The hormone stimulates muscle growth, bone building and helps athletes recover.
4. You wake up refreshed and energised
When you sleep, essential processes take place within your body, carrying out intensive repair and rebuilding work. The more stress and demands you place on your body and mind during the day, the more important the night's sleep is for recovery.
5. You find it easier to keep a healthy weight
Lack of sleep can affect the metabolism and eating habits. A sleepless night lowers the body's consumption of energy, and at the same time we store more energy than normal and the production of the obesity hormone ghrelin increases. What's more, the blood flow increases in the parts of the brain that influence how we relate to food. When you don't get proper sleep fattening foods seem to stimulate stronger responses in a part of the brain that governs the motivation to eat.
6. You look younger
The concept of beauty sleep is well known. Aim to get at least 8 hours to avoid red and puffy eyes. Our bodies agitate a human growth hormone as we sleep. This hormone is crucial for the body's collagen production. When we are tired, blood doesn't flow efficiently, making your face swollen and puffy.
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While I dream of owning a Hästens bed there is always the accessories range to enjoy. The brand recently launched their elegant floral Herbarium range of bed linen - the result of a collaboration with Swedish Elle's Designer of the Year Gunilla Lagerhem Ullberg, and there are also pyjamas and robes in the distinctive Hästens blue and white check.
If you can't get to one of their showrooms the website also handily has a list of hotels where you can enjoy a night's sleep in a Hästens bed!
This post was written in collaboration with Hästens.