Over the years I've stayed in a few extraordinarily fancy five-star hotels (not to mention many more less salubrious hostelries), and there's nothing quite like slipping into sumptuous hotel bedding to take your mind off the fact that you're not settling down in your own comfy bed. Personally I'm not great at adjusting to a new bed, so whatever magic these high-end hotels do make their beds to utterly slumber-inducing is an absolute godsend to me.
But hang on a minute; could I do whatever it is that five-star hotels do, in order to make my own bed even more comfortable? It's a risky proposition; what if I end up with a bed that's so comfy that I can't bear to ever spend a night away from it ever again? Although come to think of it, I've spent exactly one night away from home since March 2020, and that was in a very poor quality hotel room in Buxton, so maybe there's nothing to lose.
And wouldn't you just know it? MattressNextDay (opens in new tab) has just got in touch with seven hacks from its CEO, sleep expert Martin Seeley, that you can use on your own bed to give it a five-star hotel-approved feel. If your own bed isn't quite delivering all the ZZZs you feel you deserve, and you're not quite ready to upgrade it with the best mattress and best pillow, why not give them a go?
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1. Use a flat sheet instead of a fitted sheet
Personally I don't really have a problem with fitted sheets, apart from the fact that they tend to ruck up a bit after a few nights. But, says Martin, if you find that your fitted sheet is never deep enough or you're breaking nails trying to fit it over your mattress, you should definitely consider switching to a flat sheet (if you need recommendations, head to our best bed sheets guide).
"Hotels prefer this kind," he explains, "as they're less likely to shrink, easier to fit and look more inviting overall. If you've not used a flat sheet before, all you need to do is lay out the sheet, tuck the edges and sides - pulling tight - and leave the corners untucked. Then, you need to lift the sheet at a 45-degree angle and tuck the corners in tightly. To make it easier, we'd recommend buying a bigger size than your bed as it'll make it easier to tuck the corners."
2. Tuck the corners of your duvet in
This one's not for me, at least not right now. My duvet's not much bigger than the mattress, and there's absolutely no way I could tuck it in underneath, especially now that I have to pull the duvet up over the pillows during the day, ever since one of our cats discovered the delights of sleeping on my pillow. However, according to Martin, if you do this you can prolong the life of your mattress.
He says that a tightly-tucked hotel duvet not only makes the bed look tidy, it also helps the sheet stay on the bed so that you're never touching the mattress itself, which can result in stains that shorten the mattress's life. So, he suggests, "when putting a fresh duvet cover on, always make sure to tuck the corners. Lay the duvet flat on the bed, smooth out any wrinkles with your arm and place the top two corners at the top of the bed. Then, smooth your arm along with the duvet and tuck the end and the sides as you do this."
3. Use water and vodka to eliminate wrinkles from your sheets
Suffering from wrinkled sheets? Water can help, and vodka can help even more. "When making your bed," says Martin, "you should always keep a bottle of water with a spray top. If you see a wrinkle, spray the water and pull the sheet until the wrinkle disappears. Alternatively, you can add a shot of vodka into the spray bottle. Vodka is known to be a natural cleaner due to its high alcohol content so when it's left to evaporate into the fabric, it can eliminate any lingering odours. This, therefore, makes it an ideal addition to a homemade spray for spritzing your bedsheets in-between washes."
4. Use a smaller duvet cover
This sounds terribly counter-intuitive to me, but according to Martin it's just one of the tricks that hotels use to make their beds feel as luxurious as possible, and which you can try at home. "Firstly," he reveals, "they tend to use bedding with a high thread count as the higher, the softer. With this in mind, you should never buy bedding with less than a 250 to 300-thread-count mark. Secondly, you should opt for Egyptian cotton as this is one of the most breathable bedding materials so will stop you from sweating at night which could disrupt your sleep.
"And finally, you should consider buying a different site duvet cover for your duvet insert. If you place a King-size duvet inside a Queen-size duvet cover, it'll create a much fluffier bedscape. Similarly, pillowcases should be 1 to 2 inches smaller than the pillow insert."
5. Use a tennis ball and sock to revitalise lumpy pillows
I'll admit that I'm terrible when it comes to keeping pillows fluffed up, but Martin says that for a five-star feel you should do it every day: pick the pillow up and hold the left and right sides, and compress then decompress. Easy! And if you're suffering from lumpy pillows, he has a hack for that too: "Simply place it in the dryer with a tennis ball or two inside a clean sock. Turn the dryer on to the lowest setting possible and turn it on for 30 minutes. The tennis balls should beat the lumps out of the pillow, and the sock will prevent the dye of the tennis ball from appearing on your pillows."
6. Wash your bedding weekly for optimum freshness
We've all occasionally left washing the bedding for a bit longer than we maybe should have. But for that luxury hotel bed experience you need to raise your game. "One of the secrets to crisp bedding is to wash it weekly," says Martin. "If you want to feel like you are sleeping in a hotel, you need to clean well. Washing at 60 degrees is, usually, recommended for cleaning bedding and towels to kill bacteria. But you will need a strong detergent as well, as the temperature alone does not kill bacteria." (Washing at 60C or above is also essential if you want to get rid of dust mites.)
7. Air dry your sheets outside
I'm completely down with this, mainly because I don't have a dryer. I find them generally awful, and they make ironing a whole load more difficult. So I feel gratified that Martin recommends drying your sheets on the washing line: "Not only does using a tumble dyer make your bedding more wrinkly but it's more expensive too. As one of the most energy-intensive appliances in your home, the costliest dryer can cost owners £175 per year.
"With this in mind, always hang your sheets outside and the creases should naturally fall out plus the ultra-violet rays of the sunlight will remove any bacteria and bleach your sheets, which is extra beneficial for those with white sheets."