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Sweet dreams are made of this.

Byline: VALERIE HILL

TO SLEEP, perchance to dream, has always been one of the goals in my life, as opposed to sleep perchance to be woken up by a child with a tummy ache or a snoring husband.

The greatest invention is bed, and I'm for staying in it for as long and as undisturbed as possible. If I didn't wake up, I'd still be sleeping.

If technology is our servant, then in this day and age, there is no reason why life shouldn't come to your bedside rather than having to go through the tedious business of engaging with it outside.

So you can imagine my matchless joy on hearing that the boffins have at last turned their imaginations to something more sensible than designing bigger and more efficient intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Instead, they've "rethought" the bed as a complete lifestyle, as the pounds 25,000 Starry Night "sleeping centre". I need hardly tell you this is an American idea and nothing to do with Vincent Van Gogh, as portrayed in Don McLean's haunting song Starry, Starry Night.

Speaking of which, however, there's a surround-sound music system, an iPod docking station (natch) and a hard disc storage system capable of playing back up to 400,000 songs or 2,000 hours of video.

Then there's a TV projector in the headboard capable of beaming images 10ft across on to a facing wall. Not forgetting a computer, internet connection and wireless keypad. Well, let's forget that. As for Princess Fogeyana types like myself, whose real interest is just wanting to sleep, the bed will heat or cool the mattress before you get in.

Recalling Don's Starry, Starry Night lyrics "catch the breeze and the winter chills, in colour on the snowy linen land" it's as if he's in our bedroom. Spooky, spooky night.

Some of the Starry Night bed's features, in fact, are based on military technology, including a vibration detection system that is designed to eliminate snoring.

No, it doesn't involve eliminating your partner with a noise-seeking missile. When it senses a snore, a motor (not a mortar) in the mattress lifts the sleeping portion forward by seven degrees.

Apparently, this means that the snorer's nasal passages will open and stop the offensive noise. Mission complete, the bed then returns to its original position.

However, given my husband's industrial level of snoring, it could mean a very busy night for the bed. He's not heard of Anthony Burgess's aphorism that "laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone".

Not to mention that all this mattress motion would mean I'm enduring a night on the ocean wave, rather than dreaming 'neath the starry night in some Illyrian bower.

Or, as McLean perceptively wrote: "How you suffered for your sanity, how you tried to set them free.

"How you tried to set them free. They would not listen, they did not know how. Perhaps they'll listen now."

Some hope.

There is also a vibration sensor (ooh, err, missus) and a mattress pressure system which measure how much you toss and turn and get out of bed during the night.

Given my proclivities for nipping back and forth to the loo during the night, I'm just thankful there is no voice box giving a running commentary on this. Even McLean's soothing voice wouldn't be welcome "with eyes that watch the world and never forget".

You can just imagine the judgmental tone creeping into this, as you tip-toe back to the bed, hoping it hasn't noticed, because it's dozed off itself.

Perhaps the Starry Night's nerve centre gives you a print-out at the end of the week. With percentage increases or decreases in your loo nocturnal visiting, it could demand you meet performance targets.

As the bed's computer has a 1,500-gigabyte memory (which is more than me and I never forget anything) there's every danger it's storing up information to use against us.

Seriously, though, these facilities would be redundant as my husband takes that commentating role on for himself. True, this usually occurs after I've woken him up for the umpteenth time to stop his own tuneless Phil Spector wall of sound.

"It's time our bed becomes our sleep counsellor," pontificates Mark Quinn, of Leggett & Platt bedmakers, as only an American salesman can.

"The bed is a place for reading, watching movies spending time with the kids, listening to music and even folding laundry."

Yes, quite. But there is a deep flaw in Starry Night sleeping centre (isn't there always with technology?) which makes it a complete no-no for me.

Incredibly, in spite of all this hitech jiggery-pokery, the one facility it doesn't have is a Teasmade. I mean, pounds 25,000 and no Teasmade? You must be joking - off your bed and on your bikey-bike, Mr Starry, Starry Night.

It's time our bed becomes our sleep counsellor

CAPTION(S):

Marjorie couldn't afford the space-age bed so, instead, resorted to the age-old snoring remedy of shoving a pack of chocolate digestives into Albert's mouth at bedtime
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 18, 2008
Words:839
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