I haven’t had a really good night’s sleep in 18 years—basically, since my children were born. I’m a fully-functioning happy person. But I’m anxious. I have a child or two with the same affliction. Needless to say, it all adds up to a lot of lost sleep. When I received an invitation to visit the workshop of the world’s best-made, most meticulous handcrafted luxurious mattresses, I thought, yes, please and thank you! Soon after I was on an overnight flight (don’t ask how I slept) to Köping, Sweden, to visit Hästens, Sweden’s oldest and most luxurious handmade bedding company (which happens to have a store right here in Greenwich, CT).
Hästens has been hand making bespoke, all-natural beds of horsehair—literally with a needle and thread—since 1852. The company has a rich history of handcrafting beds for royals and celebrities alike and is known for making one of the most expensive mattresses in the world—the jaw dropping $149,000 Vividus.
The factory is an hour and a half outside of Stockholm. I was surprised to see burly, tattooed men handstitching mattresses with a needle and thread. The delicate, exacting work did not seem possible from them, but when I was given a chance to try doing it myself I realized it takes incredible strength to make even one stitch through the layers in the mattress. Many of the craftsmen we met represented multiple generations of families that have worked on the beds in a tradition that has been passed down.
Every mattress for every person with every possible sleep situation is made-to-order. I could customize a mattress to be firmer on one side for my husband and softer on my side. Even more, these skilled craftsmen could tailor the mattress to our exact body compositions and temperature choices. Because as we all know, someone in a relationship always runs hot and the other one cold. Each bed takes about 320 working hours by four certified craftsmen to create.
After lunch with sixth generation owner and chairman Jan Ryde, we were brought to their flagship store where we were encouraged to get under the covers and try out the different beds. Like Goldilocks, we sampled bed after bed. Yes, the $150,000 Vividus was sublime, but the less expensive models were equally heavenly. Why? It probably had something to do with the fact that the newest Vividus features increased pliability to contour to the body better. As it releases tension points, it also pinpoints every part of the body in order to keep the spine completely straight while sleeping. The bed’s construction features an improved spring system in the base and a new layer of hand-teased horsehair to ensure higher springiness that also absorbs moisture. Absorbing moisture helps keep the body cool to reduce tossing and turning.
Basically, you sleep more soundly and wake up pain-free—sounds like a dream, right? To my utter delight, the hotel we stayed in had Hästens mattresses in each room. Lying on a Hastens mattress felt like I was being held and that my entire body was evenly supported. Because of that I did not have my usual urge to toss and turn. No exaggeration: the night’s sleep I had was one of the best I’ve experienced in 18 years.