The early years of sleep
It is not only people themselves and their bodies that change with the years. Sleep too and people’s individual needs are also subject to changes, as we move from cradle to grave. And beds grow to keep pace – not only in the literal sense, reminding us of childhood, when one grows out of one’s cot oh so quickly! It also goes for the way things look. Children, who were still keen on bright colours and playful designs at the age of ten, begin to ask, by the time they reach twelve or fourteen, how their parents could possibly have done it to them and imposed such bed linen on them.
It soon becomes clear to young parents that beds with the springing under the mattress are no good for small children. The slatted frames from most suppliers are pretty unyielding. The reason for this is simple: small children are light in weight and a flexible slatted base, wouldn’t have any effect. Because children don’t weigh a lot, it is more relevant if the mattress is soft (whilst heavy people need a rather harder mattress later on). The RÖWA offshoot, Selecta, offers a good solution with their children’s mattress K2 that “grows with them”. Once the child has reached a given body size, you turn it over; it is designed precisely to adapt to the growing body of the child.
We ought, also, to pay some attention to materials that have been tested and shown to have very few hazardous chemicals – for the bed frame, just as much as for the duvets, pillows and covers. Because little children are inclined to explore their environment with their tongue and their teeth as well! The German manufacturer Kindertraum – who are exhibiting, amongst other things, cotton duvet covers at Heimtextil – place great value on their cosy, breathable material, which receives annual Ökotex 100 certification as suitable for nursery items.
Children’s beds also provide opportunities for play – they come, for instance, complete with a slide or with a climbing frame, look like cars, tree houses, caves etc. Anything and everything that is fun for children is possible – even individually manufactured creations. When it comes to the little ones in the family, the Oberbadische Bettfedernfabrik (OBB) from Lörrach in Baden-Württemberg has opted for down-filled duvets and pillows, with high-quality, fluffy fibre filling and playful visual effects, details and embroidery, all aimed at children’s tastes. TAVO, from the Upper Palatinate, will also be back again at Heimtextil 2016. In its production process, which takes place exclusively in Germany, this medium-sized company places great value on sustainability and offers products for small children through to young adults.
At the very latest, by the time they get into their teenager’s bedroom, where school friends come to visit, puberty brings with it a sense of a developing individual taste. Whilst the bed and the bedding are still paid for by the parents, the younger generation will have, at least, some say in the matter and often know exactly what they want. When it comes to the mattress, the bedstead and the materials, parents at least ought to insist – and above all, make sure they are aware of it themselves – that the bed is good quality, that the mattress supports the spine and that the pillows are the right height and density, depending on whether their son or daughter sleeps on their back or their side. People shouldn’t hesitate to ask their children now and then: “Do you get hot or cold during the night?” “Do you find it easy to get to sleep and to sleep through the night?” Are the youngsters in the family bright and cheerful in the morning or still very tired? All these things might – though not necessarily – indicate that there are problems with the bed. If health-related issues or stress (from school, for instance) can be ruled out as a cause of sleeping problems, then it might well be about a mattress that is too hard or too soft, an unsuitable pillow or a duvet that is too thick or too thin. You will find all sorts of stimulating suggestions in January 2016 at Heimtextil in Frankfurt – where the Campaign for Sleep in Galleria 0 will take you through the years of ‘Sleep as we grow older’.