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German Sleeping Habits – Fun or Function??

The Brits have managed not to conform to many European standardizations, e.g. have kept the pound, miles per hour and driving on the left. But I wonder how long can they keep their imperial bed measurements i.e. the classic 4ft 6 ins by 6ft 3 ins double bed???

When I moved to Germany, my bedding moved with me. However, none of it fitted my new bed!! British doubles are 135x190 cm (or 4ft 6 inches x 6 ft 3 inches :-)), German ones are 140x200cm. I guess this is because they are a bit taller on the Continent. No idea of the historical reason for this, but this was really not a problem since I am happy to have bigger bed! However I did need to adjust to German bed making habits…. It doesn’t matter where you go, be it a Gästehaus (B&B), or in the bedroom where you lay your coat on a bed at a party, the Germans consistently make their beds in exactly the same way. They take the duvet and fold it in half, short side to short side…and lay the duvet in the middle of the bed….How strange!! I remember when I first came to Germany on my school exchange, I was determined to be a "braves Mädchen" (good girl) and made my bed every day. Laying the duvet out in full, covering the entirety of the mattress, the only way I had ever known. But every night when I came back from my day of visiting South German landmarks, the laid out duvet had mysteriously metamorphosized into a folded one laid precisely in the middle of the bed and the pillow had changed ends!! I always felt my hosts were aggrieved by my sloppy bedmaking skills, even though I was trying my best. I asked one of my friends once: Why do you make your beds like this, and he said “They fit on the bed better this away and look tidier" - Apparently the whole of Germany agrees!!

They also don’t like sharing duvets, the Germans. Typically, most couples will have a 180 cm x 200 cm bed….But there is not just one mattress but two, directly lying side by side, and then instead of a large double duvet, you get two separate duvets…..

So you may as well go sleep on the sofa for all the intimacy this affords!! Isn’t it nice to cuddle up under one duvet with a cup of tea in the morning??? Apparently, it is far more important to be practical about it… I mean, now I think about it, there are advantages of not sharing a duvet, you don’t have the dead of night duvet tug-of-war, and there can be no arguments about who hogs the bed if there are clearly defined sleeping zones, i.e. you have your mattress and duvet, I have my mattress and duvet!!! I can see the logic. I just find it a bit weird that I never encountered this in Britain ….Germans even sleep in Ordnung and efficiency, sleeping must be functional!!

So I accept new bed dimensions, and I accept two mattresses and two duvets….but I am dreading the day the EU standardises bedding. Why?? Because I don’t like square pillows!!!

It’s a crazy aversion. But in my opinion a highly justified one.

Square pillows…the most silly invention ever. Why? Because:

  • Sometimes they are often lumpy, feel like they are filled with roughly cut bits of foam

  • When you lay down on them, you leave a head imprint and the pillow doesn't spring back. the imprint just remains...forever

  • They are not fluffy enough to use as a reading pillow, and are completely limp

  • If you lay your head on the lower edge, they provide no neck support whatsoever, because all the filling has migrated to the other side, if you try and lay your head in the middle, you get the aforementioned "oasis" effect, if you try to lay with your head at the upper end, you are practically sleeping horizontally, which defeats the point of a pillow.

  • If you try to fold it in half, it is way too thick, and if you move, it springs open, unless you have tried to stuff it like a calzone pizza into your British dimensioned pillow case. If you lie on the side with the two folded edges, they won’t stay put, unless you don’t move at all all night, if you sleep on the folded over end, you feel like you’re going to choke cos your head is propped up at an alarming angle, and giving you several unflattering double chins!!

Luckily in France they sell rectangular pillows, albeit ones too narrow for my British pillow cases…but beggars can’t be choosers…

Any excuse to pop over the border to the hypermarché…

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