Something that really works for me in cold weather is putting layers on my bed, just the way I put layers on my body. I’m one of those people who’s easily chilled and very bothered by feeling cold, especially when I’m tired, so having a cozy bed is very important to me.
Daniel and I had some arguments about bedding in the early years of our relationship because he tends to be somewhat warmer than I am, and he doesn’t like synthetic blankets–he says that even if he’s not too warm, they make him too sweaty and cause him nightmares–but I was very fond of my fuzzy Vellux blankets and felt I couldn’t get warm enough without them.
Then, just as our experience with the best nest was inspiring us to experiment with our bedding assumptions, a local hippie shop went out of business and had amazing clearance prices on batik and tie-dyed cotton bedspreads. I couldn’t resist buying a lot of them, but if we only used one bedspread at a time it was pretty silly to have–gosh, I don’t even know exactly how many we have; this is just a guess–10 bedspreads. One night when I was putting clean sheets on the bed, I decided to try a new approach, and it’s so comfortable we’ve never turned back!
We now make our bed with alternating layers of thin blankets and cotton bedspreads. Most of our blankets are the cotton thermal “waffle weave” type. With solid layers on both sides, their air pockets hold warmth very well. In addition to the hippie bedspreads, I’ve bought a few patterned flannel flat sheets at thrift stores, which we use the same way.
There are several advantages to layered bedding:
- Our bedding components are interchangeable and get used about ten months out of the year. We no longer have spring/fall blankets and separate heavy winter blankets. We just use a number of layers suitable to the season.
- It’s easy to fold back a layer or two if you are too warm. (If Daniel is too warm, he can fold that layer onto me! I usually don’t mind being even cozier!)
- All of our bedding is easy to wash, unlike heavy blankets that don’t fit in the washing machine and/or take forever to dry.
- All of our bedding can be tucked in at the foot, and friction between layers holds it together, unlike a comforter which tends to slip off and may let drafts under its puffy edges.
- We have plenty of variety of patterns, within our general decorating scheme of “blue, or at least has blue on it somewhere.” We are a variety-loving family, and after changing to clean bedding I consider my bed’s new look a pleasing reward for my efforts!
The only real downside is that putting on clean bedding is kind of complicated–getting all those layers smooth! They do stay in place pretty well, but every 3 or 4 days the whole shebang has to be straightened, and if you are picky about making the bed really neatly I guess you’d have to do that every day.
Let me give two examples to clarify how this works:
Warmish weather: top sheet, then thermal blanket, then bedspread. Change all bedding every time you change sheets.
Very cold weather: top sheet (flannel), then thermal blanket, then bedspread, then another thermal blanket, then another bedspread, then a third thermal blanket, then a third bedspread. Synthetic blanket stashed nearby so I can pull it over my side if I’m still unbearably cold. And maybe a hot-water bottle on my toes! When changing sheets, put the lowest blanket and bedspread in the wash, put the other four layers on top of the clean top sheet, then put a clean blanket and clean bedspread on top. (If you do a lot of sitting on top of your bedspread, in your clothes that you’ve been wearing outdoors, then that top bedspread may get quite dirty, so you’ll want to rotate layers in the opposite direction, putting the outermost bedspread in the wash.)
There are times when these many layers make me think of “A Pail of Air” [an excellent science-fiction story by Fritz Leiber, which at the moment is available at that link, but it looks like a copyright violation to me…] and feel a little paranoid about the evil coldness coming to get me! But in general, I love the coziness and versatility of layered, all-cotton bedding!
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