Sheets that go PING in the night – How to choose the correct bottom sheet for your bed

fitted sheets and flat sheets from The Fine Cotton Company

Fitted and Flat Sheets from The Fine Cotton Company

Have you ever woken from a deep sleep to find your bottom sheet has come adrift leaving it creased and crumpled underneath you, making you feel really uncomfortable?

We think there’s nothing more annoying!

Make sure you choose the correct type and size of sheet by following our tips below:

Type of Sheet – Fitted or Flat?

There is a choice of fitted and flat sheets, both of which may be used as a bottom sheet.

Before fitted sheets arrived in the late 1950s, the only option was a flat sheet. Flat Sheets are folded around the mattress and tucked in using carefully folded hospital corners to keep the sheet snug to the bed. Many hotels use this type of sheet and it takes great skill at making the bed, with plenty of fabric to tuck in to keep in place.
In 1959, Bertha Berman patented a design for fitted sheets that had corners sewn in a way that would fit the sheet to the mattress. These sheets although less than perfect as they still managed to pop off the bed were the start of the fitted sheet we know today. In 1990, Gisele Jubinville patented a design for a much better fitted sheet that grabs a mattress and stays put. She sold the patent in 1993 for $1 million.

Fitted sheets now have elasticated corners which keep the sheet in place underneath the mattress.

Size of Mattress

Whether you choose a fitted or a flat style sheet, the main thing is to choose the correct size.

Fitted sheets need to have enough depth to be able to cover the mattress protector and mattress and still have enough fabric to tuck under the mattress to be held in place.

The same applies to flat sheets; there must be enough fabric to enable at least 20 cm to tuck in under the mattress.
Firstly, you need to know the size of bed you have.

The best thing to do is take a tape measure and check the size. If your bed has been made outside the UK, the chances are the mattress sizes will be different to beds made in the UK.

Check the bed size against the size chart on our website, which shows American and UK sizes.

Check the depth of the mattress and then any mattress toppers you have on top.

The fitted sheets at The Fine Cotton Company are made extra deep to allow for todays trend in deep mattresses and thick mattress enhancers. However, if your mattress is even deeper we suggest you go for a flat sheet or a bespoke fitted sheet.

If you are choosing a flat sheet and the size and depth of the mattress is a little larger than the size specification, we suggest buying the next size up.


Opt for the best quality you can afford. A sheet in 100% organic cotton is much more breathable and will absorb moisture far better than a sheet in a polycotton mix.  The weave of the fabric is really down to personal choice.

SATEEN  is a smooth, sleek and sophisticated fabric with a silky soft feel.

FLANNELETTE is beautifully brushed organic cotton with a velvety touch that is soft, warm and cosy.

PERCALE is a crisp, fresh fabric with a smooth feel.

Should you need any further information about choosing the right size and style of sheet, please do contact The Fine Cotton Company on 0845 602 9050

So Why Do You Think You Feel So Shattered?

By Lisa Artis, The Sleep Council

Are you constantly on the go? Never sitting down to rest? Feeling like your brain is bursting at the seams?

Well now there’s a new term to describe this feeling and it’s fast becoming a modern day health problem: Adrenal fatigue or to put it even more simply, adrenalin overload.  And according to experts more and more of us are suffering from it and it’s damaging our health.  It’s even been accepted as a real ailment by the World Health Organisation.

Dealing with a heavy workload, financial concerns, running around toddlers or teens can make you feel constantly under threat, triggering your ‘fight or flight’ stress reaction.  However this stress response is now switched on for far longer than it should be which is ultimately leaving us stressed and exhausted.

When we’re overly stressed we find it harder to sleep.  And then when we’re sleep deprived it increases the odds that we’ll get ‘anticipatory anxiety’ – that sense of dread you feel before a big test, presentation etc. That’s because the loss of deep sleep fires up your amygdala and insular cortex – the regions of your brain responsible for emotional processing as well as your flight or fight response.

We’re all expected to be able to juggle lots of balls in the air these days but if we don’t make the time to relax and indulge in some ‘me’ time then those balls will come tumbling down.

Here’s our top tips for relaxing:

– Make sure your bedroom is a place of peace and tranquility – a perfect escape from the toils and troubles of everyday life. Keep it cool, quiet and dark.

– Devote half an hour to an hour every day to do something you find enjoyable – whether it’s reading, having a bath, listening to some music or even going for a walk.

– Take small time-outs to consciously slow down and re-balance.

– Regular exercise helps you to cope with stress. If you’re exhausted don’t over-do it, try a yoga class instead.

– Put down those gadgets before bed. Leave mobile phones and tablets downstairs out of reach and try to refrain from using them a couple of hours before bedtime.


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Can Holistic Therapies Help You Overcome Insomnia?

Do you suffer from insomnia?  If so you are not alone, because it is estimated that as many as one in three Britons will have problems sleeping at some point in their lives. Have you tried every method you can think of to get a good night’s sleep?  Maybe you have even started taking sleep pills and would like to come off them and go back to being able to sleep more naturally?  Well, if you have had no success in beating your insomnia then maybe it is time to do something different and try some holistic therapy?

So how could a holistic therapist help you where traditional medicine cannot?  One of the big differences is that holistic, or complementary, therapists treat the whole body instead of just the symptoms you are currently suffering from. Everybody is different.  We are all unique individuals, so the reasons why you are not sleeping properly are likely to be totally different to why another person suffers from insomnia.  When you have your first holistic therapy session the therapist will probably take a detailed case history; looking at when your sleep problems began, what your current sleep pattern is, the state of your overall physical and emotional health and your lifestyle before starting any treatments, giving you advice or exercises to do.  It maybe that you only need to make a few small changes to your lifestyle in order to enjoy that deep, refreshing night’s sleep that you so crave.

But there are so many different complementary therapies out there, how can I possibly choose which would be the best one for me?  Take some time to do some research.  The internet is a great resource for information on complementary therapies and you will soon be able to put together a great list of practitioners in your area.  Referrals and recommendations are also a great way to go.  If you have a friend or family member who has also suffered from insomnia and is raving about the results they got from a course of treatment they had with a particular holistic therapist, then why not check them out?

It is also good to go with what you are drawn to.  So do you feel that you would prefer to have a more body based treatment such as aromatherapy massage or reflexology or would you be more comfortable with therapy that works on the mental and emotional level such as hypnotherapy, NLP or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)?  Or even invest in several different holistic therapies to achieve the best possible results?


Seven Steps to Sleep – be a good time manager

Too much to do?  Papers… papers everywhere? Disorganised? A cluttered mind? No wonder you find it hard to sleep. Follow these steps:

Leave a tidy desk and a tidy place before retiring to bed. Knowing you have to get up to chaos will play on your mind. It is said that turmoil on your desk produces turmoil in your mind, hardly conducive to sleep.

Make a plan for tomorrow at the end of each day. A mental record is not enough. Write down all the tasks you can realistically do tomorrow & put them in priority order. Place your list where you can see it when you get up. You won’t want to waste time searching for it!

Do the most important tasks first. Don’t opt for the easiest or shortest tasks first just to reduce the list. Do what matters & you’ll get a sense of achievement at the end of each day.

Build patterns into your working day.  First check your to-do-list & your mails/texts. Next do the most important task on your list, then the second & so on. Have regular breaks, morning, lunch & afternoon – real breaks for a walk, a drink, a chat. Finally write tomorrow’s to-do-list and tidy your desk.

Build patterns into your week. Apply your daily pattern across the week, adding in other regular events. How about regular meeting on a Wednesday morning, report writing on Thursday mornings for example? Don’t forget times for family, to see friends, see a film or catch up on reading. Patterns give you control of your time & are a great counter to stressful situations. You know where you are and when – and so do others.

Be assertive: protect your time. Say ‘no’ to unwelcome intrusions on your time. “I’m not able to meet tomorrow, but Friday afternoon is fine”. Having patterns will make this easier.

Set boundaries on meetings, conversations & phone calls: “I have ten minutes now” or “the meeting starts at 10 am and finishes at 11 am”.

Use a year planner. Buy a planner with the months shown horizontally. Use different colour sticky dots for your events, meetings, holidays and your goals. Don’t forget to give yourself an occasional Me-Day spread across the year. This visual planner will show you at a second’s glance what is happening this week, this month & this year.

Lucy Seifert Life Coach London

Lucy Seifert is a Life & Executive Coach & Author and a specialist in assertiveness, time & stress management, communication, public speaking & confident self-presentation.

Can Aromatherapy help you Sleep?

One of these holistic therapies that may help you to not only stay asleep longer, but also to fall asleep faster is aromatherapy.

So what is aromatherapy?  Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy that uses aromatic essential oils to improve your physical health, uplift your mood and release stress.  These essential oils are extracts taken from different parts of plants, flowers, trees and herbs and they each have different therapeutic properties.  Aromatic oils and herbs have been used by healers since antiquity, long before the development of modern medicine. There are now lots of different essential oils that have been discovered and extracted over the centuries, each of them with their own rich fragrance and healing properties. You can choose to use just one essential oil or create your own personal blend of different oils to help ease a specific ailment or condition.

The reasons why you cannot sleep are different for everybody, but some of the more common causes are stress, anxiety, an inability to stop worrying at bedtime, not getting enough exercise and taking too many stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and cigarettes.  Aromatherapy and using essential oils cannot cure insomnia or its root causes, but it can help to relieve stress and induce relaxation which does lead to falling asleep more rapidly and enjoying a longer, better quality sleep when you do drop off.  Essential oils work either by being absorbed by the skin or being inhaled into the lungs where the oil molecules can be absorbed into the bloodstream. These very tiny amounts oil that are absorbed by the body are then thought to beneficially interact with your body chemistry to help improve your physical symptoms, relax you and give your immune system a boost.

You can successfully use essential oils at home, but if you really want to beat your insomnia it would be a good investment of your time and money to book an appointment with a qualified aromatherapist.  Ask around to see if any of your friends or family can recommend a therapist that they have used or check on the internet to find a local practitioner.  By seeing a qualified aromatherapist you will know that the essential oil or blend of oils that they are using and have recommended for you are the best to help improve your own particular poor sleeping pattern. Holistic therapists look at the whole person, so they will discover any underlying conditions or reasons for your insomnia when they do their case study and create a set of treatments geared specifically to help you.

If you do want to try using essential oils at home, there are some ‘dos and don’ts’ to consider. Some essential oils are toxic, so should never be used by anyone who is not a fully trained professional.  Also, although essential oils can be taken internally as a medicine, this must never be done except under the supervision of a qualified aromatherapist.  It is also important that you do not use undiluted aromatherapy oils on your skin, as they can be very strong and cause irritation.  They should be blended with carrier oil before you massage them onto your skin and always do a patch test if you are planning on using an essential oil that you have never used before.  You must exercise extreme caution if you are planning to use aromatherapy oils on children, as they have very delicate skin.  Get some expert advice before you do so and only use the mildest oils and make sure that they are very well diluted.

To banish your insomnia and get a good night’s rest, there are various ways in which you can use these aromatic oils.

1)      Aromatherapy massage –  massage on its own is very relaxing, but when an expert blend of relaxing, sedative essential oils is incorporated into a massage it can really help you to chill out and get a good night’s sleep.  You can book an appointment with a qualified aromatherapy massage practitioner or, if you want to try it at home, you can put together your own chosen blends of oils and enlist the help of your partner or a friend.  You can also massage parts of your body with aromatic oil yourself on a daily basis, especially after bathing and just before you plan to go to sleep.

2)      Aromatic cotton wool balls – put a few drops of your favourite soothing essential oil onto a cotton wool ball and then place it close to your bed or under your pillow.  This way you will be gaining the benefit of inhaling the relaxing fragrance all night as you sleep.  In the winter months, you can also place one of these cotton wool balls on or near a radiator to amplify the wonderful scent.

3)      Create a bed linen spray – this is similar to the cotton wool ball, but instead you lightly spray your bed linen with your favourite blend of relaxing aromatherapy oils. To make this you will need a clean spray bottle with a fine mist setting that has not been used before for hair or cleaning products. Put 3 oz of distilled water into the bottle, add 30-40 drops of your chosen essential oils and lightly spritz your pillows, sheets and duvet cover.  Again you will be enjoying the relaxing fragrance all night long and much more likely to have a deep, restful sleep.

4)      Adding relaxing essential oil to your bath or shower – if you have trouble dropping off to sleep, then you might find it very helpful to take a long, warm bath or shower about half an hour before bedtime.  You can add a few drops of your chosen oils straight into the warm water to create an aromatic, soothing fragrance or you can add a blend in carrier oil.  Just be careful if you use a carrier oil blend that you do not slip, as it will make the surface of your bath or shower tray slick.

5)      Aromatherapy Oil Burner – if you want to relax and unwind in the evening, set up an aromatherapy burner so that you can enjoy the fragrance and receive the benefits of your favourite blend of oils. There are many different types of burners that you can choose from, but the simplest just require a tea light to be lit under a bowl containing some water that you then put a few drops of aromatherapy oil into.  As the water and oil mixture heats up, wafts of relaxing scent infuse the room.  As you are using an open flame and the liquid itself can get hot, ensure that you place the burner on a flat, sturdy surface and well out of the way of children or pets.  Also, never go to sleep with the aromatherapy burner still lit in your bedroom as this is a fire hazard.

There are many different essential oils to choose from if you want to relax more and alleviate the stresses and strains of your day, so here is an overview of some of the more popular ones:

1)      Lavender – lavender oil is perhaps the best known and most popular of the aromatherapy oils. Lavender oil has a wonderful fragrance which is very calming and relaxing.  It is also a natural antiseptic and can be used to clean up cuts and grazes.  It can also be used when you have a cold or flu and it helps prevent scarring of the skin.  Well-diluted it is one of the oils that can be used on children when they get cuts and bruises and it can also be used to soothe fractious babies and toddlers.

2)      Roman Chamomile – this oil is regarded as a natural sedative, so is a great one to use in your relaxing bath at bedtime. It helps you unwind when you are feeling stressed, tired and irritable.  Roman chamomile can help if you suffer from PMS as it is very calming. It also has anti-inflammatory properties so it can be used to combat the pain of arthritis and help alleviate sprains and muscle aches.

3)      Clary Sage – clary sage can help to boost your mood, making you feel more cheerful and optimistic.  It also acts as a great relaxant, helping you to release stress and tension. It can also be used to alleviate period pains and menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes which, as they can disrupt your sleep, can also help you sleep better.

4)      Bergamot – bergamot can be used if you cannot sleep because you are feeling depressed, tense or anxious.  It also has antiseptic properties, so bergamot can be used to help alleviate the pain of cystitis and soothe skin complaints such as eczema and acne.

5)      Melissa – melissa oil is calming, relaxing and has a natural sedative effect.  It is a very good essential oil to use if you suffer from panic attacks as it can help to slow the heartbeat down and calm your breathing. It can also help you to overcome depression and stress.

6)      Neroli – neroli is extracted from orange blossom and has a very calming, sweet fragrance. It is a great help if you are suffering from insomnia as it has a very powerful sedative effect and is very relaxing.  Indeed it is so relaxing that it not a good idea to use neroli if you are intending to drive or perform any complex task.

As you can see, aromatherapy can really help you to relax and help you sleep.  If it is a natural way to beat your insomnia that you are looking for either book an appointment with a qualified aromatherapist or mix your own blends at home.  As you relax and enjoy the soothing, soporific fragrances of these wonderful essential oils, you will soon discover that you are finding it a lot easier to drop off to sleep and slumber peacefully throughout the night.


Disclaimer:  Please be aware that any information given in this article should in no way be used to replace advice given to you by your medical practitioner.  Anybody suffering from a medical condition or is at all concerned should always consult their doctor or a fully qualified aromatherapist before starting to use essential oils. Also a patch test should also be undertaken before you use any aromatherapy oil for the first time and essential oils are never to be taken internally.

A good night’s sleep with Homeopathy

by Danielle Abramov, BSc (Hons) RSHom

You’ve tried all the previous ‘Tips for Sleeping Soundly’, yet sleep still eludes you, or you wake up un-refreshed or, even more frustrating, you are wide awake much too early and cannot get back to sleep.

Try a homeopathic remedy: Homeopathy is a form of holistic medicine that works on the principle of treating ‘like with like’ and is administered in minute doses. It is gentle, non-addictive, side effect free and can be used safely and effectively at any life stage.

Each human being is unique and homeopathic remedies are prescribed according to each individual’s symptoms.

Thus when treating chronic insomnia, it is recommended to treat the whole person, rather than just the specific symptom of sleeplessness. These are the most commonly used remedies and their indications:

Arsenicum album (Ars): sleeplessness from worry and anxiety (especially about one’s health) with a fear of dying. Wakefulness after midnight, especially 1-2 A.M. Restless, gets out of bed. Can only sleep with head raised. Hard to fall asleep after waking.

Coffea cruda (Coff): Coffee is well known for producing sleeplessness but because of homeopathy’s ‘like treats like’ effect, it will relieve insomnia when given in crude, or especially homeopathic form. The types of symptoms it relieves are those produced by coffee. Wide eyed at 3 A.M. with overactive mind, excessive joy, feeling excited. Worse for suprises; strong emotions; narcotics.

Ignatia Amara (Ign): Sleeplessness from a recent disappointment or grief.  Waking easily from sleep. Waking from the jerking of a limb. Itching of arms with yawning. Child wakes from sleep with screaming and trembling after being reprimanded before bedtime. Worse for: Coffee.

Kali Phos (Kali p.): Sleepless after worry, excitement or from nervous causes. Constant dreaming of fire, robbers, ghosts, falling. Twitching of muscles on falling asleep. Awakens with a fright.

Nux Vomica (Nux-v): insomnia from worries about business, too much stress. Irritability from loss of sleep. Falling asleep before normal bedtime and then waking at 3–4am. Waking at 3-4am with alert and active mind and then falling asleep as daylight approaches only to then wake with difficulty, feeling tired, weak, and not wanting to get up. Worse for: stimulants and narcotics

Passiflora Incarnata (Pass): A very useful remedy for sleeplessness, but it should be given in mother tincture, i.e. 10 to 30 drops a dose. Restlessness, exhaustion, and sleeplessness.

Sulphur (Sulph): Waking between 2 – 5am and unable to go back to sleep. Difficulty in falling asleep from itchiness of skin or perspiration. Drowsy by day and sleepless at night. Worse for: becoming hot; atmospheric changes.

Method:  About 1 hour before going to bed, take 1 pill of the remedy in a 30c potency (strength) that most closely resembles your individual symptoms by letting it dissolve under the tongue. Homeopathic remedies are highly sensitive so avoid handling the pills and store them in a cool place and away from strong smelling substances.

If you are experiencing other (un)related symptoms and the remedy matching your particular symptoms does not alleviate your sleep problem, please consult a professional homeopath who will take your case history and treat you holistically.

Danielle Abramov, BSc (Hons) RSHom – Restoring health naturally

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