ELLE Decoration Editor-at-large
Michelle Ogundehin tests out a Hilary Devey ‘Duvalay’ mattress to see if she can upgrade her sleep
It is a fact that without sufficient sleep, our bodies fail to function as they should – our immune system is weakened, our learning, memory and decision making all impaired. Also, sleeping well begets good mornings, and having a solid start can ease you into having a clear- minded, active and productive day. As Aristotle once said, ‘It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth and wisdom’. However, neither sleep nor jolly mornings are possible without a good mattress. And yet in the UK, we are reputedly not changing our mattresses every five to seven years, as is the customary recommendation, opting instead for something more like every 12–15 years. And forget about rotating the mattress every six months, too – it’s largely not happening! Personally, I must admit to being put off by the sheer schlep of getting a new mattress up the stairs to my bedroom – not to forget the perceived hassle of disposing of the old one.
An uncomfortable bed, though, can rob you of up to an hour of sleep each night, and that’s before we even talk about the important hygiene aspect – we typically shed a pound of skin a year, and lose half a pint of moisture each night. The state of our beds after seven years doesn’t bear thinking about.
A good mattress can literally be the foundation on which your wellbeing depends. As American sleep clinician Terry Cralle puts it, ‘Your mattress is critically important to sleep quality. It’s a performance tool’. One of the latest people to leap into this competitive market is Hilary Devey, former Dragons’ Den star and serial entrepreneur. If she seems an unlikely newcomer to the sleep scene, then that is to underestimate her understanding of an industry that’s absolutely booming. From JP Morgan to Uber, companies are now employing sleep experts to coach their staff, and sales of snooze-improving technology, from tracking devices to goggles designed to reset your body clock, are also on the rise. As she says: ‘Ensuring a good night’s sleep forms the basis on which to have productive days, which ultimately turn goals into reality.’
Handmade in Yorkshire, the Hilary Devey ‘Duvalay’ collection of five luxury mattresses purports to use only the finest materials – wool, silk, cotton and cashmere. And with its Good Housekeeping Institute- approved ‘Diamond’ mattress costing £880 for a double (roughly 34p a night if divided over seven years), I decided to put it to the test. I ordered a ‘Diamond Luxe’ (£1,029), which takes all of the elements of the ‘Diamond’, adding a lambswool- based filling to offer maximum breathability and temperature control. In short, from the moment I sank into its plump softness, I’ve been wondering why on earth it took me so long to invest this way in my health. I’ve never particularly had a problem falling asleep, but now it feels as if I sleep deeper, and for longer. And they’ll even take away your old mattress for £30 (hilarydeveycollection.co.uk).