Research shows fresh sheets improve sleep (and even our romantic lives)

There is something more comforting than luxury spa trips, or even indulgent massages. Something that soothes bones, costs (almost) no money, boosts the mood and makes the nights softer and the mornings lighter. Fresh bedding: clean, taut sheets, plumped pillows, the crinkle of a rejuvenated duvet cover.

As an insomniac, I look to any possible positive source of influence for a good night’s sleep. Exercise often doesn’t cut it; neither does banishing caffeine. And I cannot tell you the number of lavender-scented candles I’ve bought. The one thing that does, occasionally, seem to help is a ceremonial changing of the bedding.

This isn’t reward without effort. In the winter months, drying sheets slide from too-small radiators, or hang like bright-coloured ghosts from racks. Before I change my duvet cover, I am tempted to text friends to warn them that, if they don’t hear from me for three days, they must send help. (Sometimes I have to clamber in; I have learned that I would be good at caving.) I am also not convinced one qualifies as an adult while still using fitted sheets. Pillow cases, meanwhile, are origami.

But, my God, it’s worth it. There is nothing better than the satisfaction of smoothing the top sheet until wrinkle-free – an experience I imagine akin to a painter shrinking their canvas or a labourer pushing a trowel across wet concrete.

Don’t just take my word for it. Research shows – even that not commissioned by publicists for homeware companies – that clean bedding improves your sleep. A 2012 study by the US National Sleep Foundation found that 73% of us sleep better on fresh sheets. (And also that our romantic lives improve.)