/ Home & Energy, Technology

What price are you willing to pay for a good night’s sleep?


Would you be prepared to pay thousands for smart beds, duvets, pillows or sheets? And could doing so mean you’re likely to end up spending the night with more creepy-crawlies than others would?

While researching all things pillows and duvets for this month’s issue of Which?, I came across a multitude of information, ranging from the interesting to the shocking to the downright disgusting.


Smart and connected technology is being applied to beds and bedding with the aim of making your sleeping experience better.

The ZEEQ smart pillow can stop your snoring, stream music and analyse your sleep. It also uses the information it gathers about how you sleep to wake you up in the right part of your sleep cycle.

The Sleep Number 360 smart mattress uses smart technology to adjust, in real time, the firmness heat and incline of your mattress. The aim of this is to help you (or your partner) to stop snoring and to make sure you’re getting the best night’s sleep possible.

And finally, there is the Smartduvet, which is still being developed and funded through a kick-starter. This fits inside your duvet cover with your duvet and uses air to get your duvet back into place in the morning; saving you the trouble of making your bed.

While I think it’s great that there are more solutions available to help people get a better night’s sleep, I have to wonder about the necessity of these items. The Smartduvet, in particular, seems a bit over the top to me. My duvet ends up on the floor most nights anyhow and do I really want wires and cables trailing into my bed?


I, for one, was shocked to discover how expensive some bedding can be.

On trolling through the crème de la crème of bedding, I came across an eiderdown duvet that would cost you £10,500. Eiderdown duvets were something that I thought had been consigned to the annals of Victorian times and now only existed in novels.

Surely eider ducks need their feathers more than we do since the invention of central heating? However, the makers of this particular eiderdown duvet say that these precious down feathers are hand-picked from eider nests once the ducks have migrated away for the year. I guess this explains, in part, the exorbitant price?

Silk pillows and duvets can run upwards of £100. Apparently, silk keeps you cooler at night. However, these pillows come with the instructions: ‘Do not wash. Do not bleach. Do not tumble dry. Do not dry clean.’ This leads me nicely to the next bits of information I came across in my research….

Downright disgusting

I’ve been looking at my bed in a whole new way since finding out the following:

In 2011, a study being conducted by Dr Arthur Tucker, who was then a clinical scientist at Barts and the London NHS Trust, had found as much of a third of the weight of your pillow could be made up by bugs, dead skin, dust mites and dust mite faeces.

Another study, carried out by the University of Worcester, found that duvets can contain up to 20,000 live dust mites.

So if you opted for the ‘clean under no circumstances’ silk pillows and duvets, be prepared to share your bed with an enormous amount of creepy-crawlies.

What price are you willing to pay for a good night’s sleep? Is it possible that smart technology can help you sleep better? And how do you feel about things living in your bed?


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I enjoyed the line “The Smartduvet, in particular, seems a bit over the top to me.” I also enjoyed Duncan’s unintentional double entendre about the neighbours. But seriously, we seem to have cupboards full of bedding, enough to last a century, so it’s unlikely we shall be looking for any of these sybaritic sleep enhancers. We sleep quite well already and keep a window open so there is no need for anyone to tune in their listening devices to see if Mr Ward is snoring, they can probably hear it from the road.

I have to admit I agree with Duncan. I’m well aware that Russians are in the field near us. They communicate stealthily, attempting to emulate the calls of sheep and cows, but I know what’s going on. And that’s not all. Pravda recently ran an almost identical recipe for boiled turnips to the one my better half was suggesting the other day. How else would they have got that information? It’s clear we’re all at risk.

I know our bathwater is being diverted and measured because the other week I was using some Latvian bath salts and, sure enough, there was a knock at the door barely three days later with someone claiming to be selling perfume products. But I know what’s happening.

But there’s more. My better half happened to mention to her sister (on the ‘phone) that we were thinking of taking a trip to Berlin. Ha! Only three weeks later a holiday brochure arrived, offering trips to Europe. And where’s Berlin, eh? That’s right.

To cap it all there was a helicopter flying over us the other day – ostensibly to rescue someone – but we know what they were doing. Our garden gnomes, that’s what. They wanted to collect data about our garden accoutrements. Filthy creatures.

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I read that bit about the South Yorks chopper bobbies. Let’s hope they throw the thinly covered book at them.

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Go for a three mile run, followed by three double vodkas & fruit juice, you’ll get a great sleep without the retailers baloney

Nicholas Brereton says:
23 July 2017

Pay £4,350 for a double duvet and change it every two years? I wouldn’t do that even if it only cost £35. These things end up in landfill, so changing one every two years seems over indulgent and wasteful.
4.5 tog duvet is too hot even for an English summer. Instead, I use a sheet and lightly padded throw. No wonder people complain about sleeping problems once the thermometer hits 20C at night. Hotels are culprits for using the same heavyweight duvets throughout the year.
I use a 2 tog during spring and autumn which I then put on the guest bed during the summer as most people don’t like to “make a bed”

Sorry, Mannette, but “you should replace pillows and duvets every two years” is appallingly irresponsible advice. Particularly if they are synthetic.

Why shouldn’t they last the best part of a lifetime like ours are doing ? Which? should be discouraging the throwaway economy.

And floppy pillows are a good answer if you toss and turn: You can bunch them up to the appropriate firmness and height whether you are on your stomach, back, or side.

I entirely agree about floppy pillows, Patrick. Most new pillows are grossly overstuffed and more like bolsters. There needs to be quite a bit of room for the feathers or down to mix and mingle and get the air to them [over-tight ticking being another problem]. That way you can create the perfect support for your head and neck and re-form it for a change of position during the night.

what is a bolster a new word or does it come from Russia i don’t think you could buy one not even from j lewis j putin must be behind it

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David says:
25 August 2018

I’ve been using a duvet I’ve had 30 years. I refuse to listen to the nonsense about replacing it regularly. As it happens, it is being to tear and will need replacing soon.

I also used a feather pillow that was decades old. It was so comfortable that I didn’t mind all the bugs and skin that must have made up virtually all its weight. Sadly it burst last year and had to go to the big bed in the sky.

Use whatever makes you comfortable, and ignore those who preach regular replacement.