Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for May? Sleep better.
I like to sleep. That’s not exactly an earth-shattering revelation, but for years, I resisted owning that sentiment. I thought it was a dull, stupid thing to say, akin to saying that I enjoy eating food or seeing friends. Of course I like to sleep. Who doesn’t?
Loving sleep is not the same as getting good sleep. I’ve slept with my fair share of blanket hogs and been one myself. I’ve argued with boyfriends about whether to sleep with lightweight blankets or an overstuffed duvet and felt lucky that at least I could pick my own pillow without their input.
When I met my now-partner five years ago, he introduced me to several aspects of everyday life in his native Denmark. “Try this marzipan” or “You can totally commute on your bike” are just two of the life-enhancing suggestions he made early in our relationship. But one of his best proposals was more of a cultural bonus than an overt attempt to convert me to his Scandinavian ways.
In the weeks before we moved in together, I offhandedly mentioned that we should look for a bigger comforter to match the bed we’d recently purchased. “We’ve got to buy a full-size duvet,” I told him. “Wait, what?” he asked, confused. “No we don’t. I’ll just use my own.”
He meant that we’d both be using our own comforters. If you’re a light sleeper, not having the covers yanked off can help you stay asleep longer. If you struggle to stay the right temperature throughout the night, being in charge of your own bedding might minimize your discomfort.
The idea blew my mind in that way obvious epiphanies tend to. The lifestyle I soon enthusiastically adopted is a common sense solution for millions of people. During the three years I lived in Copenhagen, most everyone I met had twin blankets on their larger-size beds. Traveling around the Nordic countries and central Europe, we stayed in hotels that offered dual comforters as the default. Even my in-laws, married more than 40 years, sleep on two adjacent twin mattresses with their own individuals duvets. When I emailed my father-in-law Egon to ask why, he replied that they’d always done it that way.
Not everyone embraces the concept of the single-use duvet. A European friend now living in the States recently got into an argument at a bedding store when the clerk insisted that he couldn’t buy a twin duvet for a queen bed. “The bed is bigger!” the American salesman insisted. “But I do not get bigger!” my Danish friend replied, totally baffled.
My partner and I live in the States now too, but we still use separate duvets and probably always will. When a couple came to visit last month, we gave them our bed with a warning about the unusual bedding arrangement. (We don’t even own full-size blankets, except for a few heritage quilts passed down from my great-grandmothers.) Still, one pal did a double take once he saw our bed. “Wait, what is this?” he asked. “I thought you were joking about the blankets.” I have no idea what he thought the punch line would have been. But it didn’t matter. The next morning, he confessed that he hadn’t slept that well in years.