When I was pregnant, I clearly remember thinking that in our ever-nearing sleep deprived future I would be at an advantage to James. You see, I’ve always been one of those people who can relentlessly burn the midnight oil and then get up at 6.30am and function to an acceptable standard the next day. Or at least I was. Regularly sleeping no more than four to six hours a night is just how I’ve forever rolled. Though don’t get me wrong, I’ve been inwardly dog-tired my entire life as a result.
James on the other hand, cannot function like that. As I’m sure most people can’t – and shouldn’t. He needs more sleep. I can really tell when James is sleep deprived. His usual bubbly, bright demeanour is dulled by the need to slumber.
So when I say I felt I’d be at an advantage when Oscar arrived, I didn’t mean it in a smug way – it just seemed like common sense that I’d be able to cope with it better. And I think on the whole, I probably did. At least initially. But one of the biggest learning curves for me in Oscar’s first year on planet earth is that lack of sleep is not a way of life. Indeed, it truly is no way to live.
Alongside the broken sleep of being up in the night with my baby, I also launched this very blog when Oscar was just four-months-old. My only time to work on content was in the evening and into the early hours, and when I returned to work when Oscar was aged 10 months, the routine became all the more consuming. I’d stay up until 3am working multiple times a week and then get up at 6.30am as usual and go about my working day. For a while I thought I was coping. Managing. Until my hair began to fall out.
Now my hair situation was down to a number of things – severe iron deficiency being at the top of the list. But when I admitted to my GP that I was barely sleeping, he gave me a look of despair and disdain that I’ll never forget.
“Only you can take care of you,” he said, shaking his head.
It was such a wake up call. No pun intended. It’s amazing what fear can do to you. But the fear that accompanied my hair loss, was real and raw. It was a curse and a blessing. Because for the very first time I saw my routine for what it was. Utter, utter madness.
I made instant changes. I limited my late night working and for the first time in my life I succumbed to my tiredness and started having early nights, and it was heaven. As my body adapted to being dosed up with more and more time in the land of nod I felt like a different person. I suddenly realised that how I usually felt in myself on an everyday level, wasn’t normal. It was as if I’d been immune to just how knackered I was. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it.
In the present, as I pen this post, I am realising I’ve slipped back into a few bad habits recently that I need to rectify – but on the whole I am much better than I was. Slumber really is so important. And now that I am getting more shut eye as a general rule of thumb – when I don’t, I feel terrible.
When the opportunity arose to collaborate, given everything I’ve said above – it felt serendipitously like it was meant to be. Our king-sized bed, at eight-years-old (a year past the recommended time frame you should have a mattress) had reached the end of its life. We were more than ready for new, and we were definitely ready for better.
As well as visiting Harrison Spinks – both their farm and factory – to see the meticulous process that goes into the making of John Lewis’s Natural collection mattress range, I have also been gifted one of my very own, plus bed frame so I could truly experience the benefits of sleeping on a handmade product – and what is the culmination of generations of bed making experience.
My verdict? It’s pretty bloody lovely. I want to say cloud like, but having never slept on one I’ll have to settle for, absolutely lush. And it goes without saying that having such a sumptuous mattress as a constant in my life has of course substantially impacted how well I sleep for the better too.
Packed to its very seams with a unique blend of hand-teased fillings including cashmere, silk, Yorkshire wool and Egyptian cotton to name a few, the mattress cradles your shape, supporting your body fully. Sleep has never felt or been this good. And while I’d addressed and thankfully combatted my hair loss issue pre bed, the quality of sleep that our new mattress brings, paired with my conscious effort to limit my late nights, gives me peace of mind that sleep deprivation will not be a contributing factor to a demise in my health going forward.
As one of Great Britain’s most established and pioneering bed-makers, it’s little wonder that John Lewis enlists Yorkshire-based Harrison Spinks to create their UK-wide Natural collection mattress range.
Back in December I had the pleasure of being invited for a tour to see first hand, the journey that their mattresses take from farm to bedroom, and it was impossible not to be impressed by their incredible attention to detail and commitment to making the very best product.
The mattresses begin their life at Hornington Manor, a beautiful 300-acre farm which is home to a flock of sheep – reared in exchange for their quality pure-grade wool, alongside alpacas and Angora goats. In addition the farm, which can also be booked as a wedding venue, grows hemp and flax fibres, both brilliant for regulating the body’s temperature when used as a natural mattress filling.
Once harvested, the materials travel just shy of 20 miles to the Harrison Spinks factory in Leeds, where they are processed and blended in-house to create the cloud-like comfort layers which can be found in my very own mattress.
It was quite amazing to see just how much craftsmanship goes into a John Lewis mattress. From the stitching to the upholstering there are so many elements undertaken by hand.
Rest? Assured. Quite literally! That has been the defining outcome of our new mattress. Now I can’t say hand-on-heart that I always go to bed at a sensible hour. Old habits die hard when you have deadlines to meet – but one thing is for certain, once I’m in that bed, not only do I sleep soundly (give or take a toddler standing at the foot of it, crying at 2am!), but without question, I sleep more comfortably than ever before.
We have the King Size John Lewis Natural collection Cashmere 16,000 Pocket Spring mattress (which as of February 1st will be updated online and in store to the Cashmere 20,000, as John Lewis launch the latest version of the mattress range).
Here is what we love about it!
- The Springs. All 16,000 of them – are designed to aid comfort and relieve pressure for tired limbs. One of the things that really sticks out in my mind from my visit to Harrison Spinks was learning how my mattress incorporates springs that respond to movement, mapping body shape as you sleep and therefore promising that comfort is king, which I can well and truly vouch for. To think there’ll be 4,000 more springs in the newest version of this mattress!
- It’s a split tension mattress which means one side is firm and the other is medium – so James and I have a custom side each so to speak.
- The fillings are 100% natural. Alongside the cashmere and other aforementioned materials, the mattress also includes linen, hemp, wool, British fleece wool and cotton – providing a truly exceptional environment for slumber.
- The craftsmanship. From farm to bed, it’s a 12 month process for a Natural collection mattress to be sleep ready. And having seen for myself how many elements are made by hand, it is a fact that my mattress along with all others in the range, have had the utmost attention to detail in every stage of their creation.
- It looks and feels like a special product. The very weight of it alone (it’s SO heavy!!) tells a story of luxury.
- It comes with a seven year guarantee. That’s the entire life-span of your mattress!
- As an aside – it was a real perk that when the mattress and bed frame were delivered to my home by John Lewis, not only was I able to choose a very specific time frame for delivery, but they also offered a recycling option for our old bed, taking both the mattress and bed frame away and off our hands. Can’t say fairer than that!!
My John Lewis Bed Edit
With the hugest, heartfelt thanks to John Lewis and Harrison Spinks, who I collaborated with for this post.
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