Full, deep, regenerating. In its most complete expression, sleep shares a lot with design. Because, after all, just like design, sleep is also an experience not to be taken for granted and to be planned.
"From the mattress to the bed linen, up to the furniture in the room and the objects we keep on the bedside table, there is no choice that does not affect the quality of our rest. For this reason, design is a fundamental tool for sleep, also in preventing and treating disorders".
Word of Francesco Peverini, professor of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology, active for twenty years as scientific director of Foundation for Research and Treatment of Sleep Disorders. In 2016 he published for Rizzoli It's easy to sleep if you know how to do it , which after many years is still a reference in the dissemination of a culture that, unlike that of food, in our country is struggling to take root.
"In reality it seems easy: you turn on the TV and you find yourself in front of the teleshopping of a 'sleeping system' which is actually a mattress. Maybe that mattress is built according to correct principles and techniques, but certainly is not enough to intervene on the great variety of ailments which, in addition to making us live badly, represent a social cost".
You say sleep disturbances and a vertigo of pathologies and social costs as heavy as a small financial maneuver opens up. The sleep apnea alone, to make a case, impact the country's economy for six billion euros a year, explains the specialist.
A burden no less than that which weight problems put on us, yet sleep medicine is not yet a university subject and the culture of sleep is addressed more in terms of well-being than health. "And when it comes to well-being, the choices to be made seem less important, postponable".
The specialist's opinion on the efforts of Italian design to make us sleep well is positive: "My work leads me to meet companies and manufacturers that, over time, have developed interesting know-how. What is still missing is a strong and overall message, the frame in which to insert every single choice: it is not enough to focus on a bed with a good mattress, it is the entire architecture of the room which must be designed to guarantee us a good sleep, net of any pathologies that obviously must be addressed with medicine".
In 2016, Peverini has created with the Swedish company Hastens, world excellence in bed design, a vademecum that starts from the choice of mattress and reaches the any perfumes from room.
“The careful choice of sheets, blankets, duvets, pajamas is the first step for a good night's rest. It is essential that duvets and pillows have hypoallergenic properties. To choose the right mattress, one must then imagine the pressure of the body on it: the lower the plane of contact with the body, the greater the counter pressure and the more one will tend to change position, fragmenting the stages of rest.
Furthermore, some materials can trap heat, releasing it during the night, so it is better to use natural elements, avoiding supports that contain chemicals that could cause allergies and be a source of respiratory problems ".
Mattresses and pillows must obviously be replaced: how often? "Most mattresses have a lifespan of around eight years, but the time frame should be shorter if the person is over 40. The best way is to evaluate the comfort and quality of sleep, in addition to the presence of wear marks or sagging. The cushions need to be changed about every two years".
Temperature and fragrances
Regulating the temperature in the bedroom is also important: the optimal one is from 18 to 22 degrees. “Some forms of insomnia are associated with incorrect body temperature regulation. too hot could interfere with sleep and make you restless with cold, sleep disturbances result from chills andmuscular contractions".
Then there is the chapter on perfumes: "Some smells can have an effect on sleep: lavender decreases heart rate and blood pressure, helping relaxation".
Order and cleanliness
"Preparing what you need for the next day is not trivial, but free from stress of morning: putting away your keys, wallet, mobile phone and work folders helps to eliminate a cause for agitation . It is imperative that the bedroom is clean and tidy. Avoid computers and televisions, because they prevent the bedroom from being considered a refuge dedicated to rest".
The right light
"In the evening, as the light goes down, melatonin begins to rise and body temperature drops: both conditions make us less alert and more inclined to sleep. Darkness, therefore, helps you sleep better. It is important to remember that using your computer, video games or mobile phone until just before bed makes it more difficult to fall asleep, as light blue electronics sends signals to the brain, altering the day-night rhythm".
"Some foods can promote more effective sleep, but the best choice of all is to eat little, if possible two hours before bed, avoiding stimulants such as caffeine.
Sleep and food influence each other: sleep deprived people tend to eat more easily foods rich in fat, simple carbohydrates and fewer vegetables, since sleep loss alters chemical signals related to metabolism and stimuli hunger".