Heimtextil, an international trade fair for home and contract textiles to be held Jan 8-11 in Germany, will bring together about 800 producers of bedding textiles. Of these, 140 will be represented in the “smart bedding” section, which will present the latest sleep systems, mattresses, bedding, and smart sleep technology. What’s more, a new “Sleep! The Future Forum” in the foyer of hall 11.0 will provide a platform for knowledge transfer, exchange of experiences, and networking relating to a good night’s sleep. International experts will provide an overview of the current state of research and the latest findings on the future of sleep in the subject areas of digital, sport, hotels, and sustainability.

“We Sleep Too Little”

“You don’t always notice sleep deprivation straightaway but you do become less attentive,” says says Ingo Fietze, MD, a professor and head of the Interdisciplinary Sleep Medicine Centre at the Berliner Charité and chair of the German Sleep Foundation. At Sleep! The Future Forum, Fietze will talk about “the power engine of sleep.” “From a scientific point of view, we already know a great deal about our night’s sleep. The big problem is that we don’t sleep enough and don’t give sleep the importance it deserves,” says Fietze in a release.

Smart gadgets are available, such as intelligent pillows, noise-reducing high-tech earplugs, and sleep trackers, and are designed to help banish bad sleeping habits and consolidate healthy ones. Given that consumers can quickly get lost in this maze, the Schlafonauten, who call themselves Germany’s biggest YouTube channel on the topic of sleep, are ready to help. “We test products that promise a calmer night to see how effective they are,” says Schlafonaut Fabian Dittrich. He will present the latest test results in the knowledge forum as part of an interview (“Smart innovations – the practical test”).

Sleep Like a (Sports) Professional

Another speaker knows the sleeping habits of professional athletes very well: Nick Littlehales, sleep coach of five-time World Cup player Cristiano Ronaldo and four-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, will present his findings from his 22 years as a sleep coach for top athletes (“Redefining Sleep in Elite Sport”). “Athletes and professionals in world sports are facing the growing demands of a globalized 24-hour society,” says Littlehales. This is also increasingly true for non-athletes, says Littlehales, who is certain that his sleep tips for professionals will also be useful for regular people..

The Night’s Rest as an Experience

Sleeperoo founder Karen Löhnert will show that you can sleep comfortably in the most unusual places during her lecture “Sleeperoo – The Night, The Place and You” at the Sleep! forum. She will be introducing a “design sleep cube” (pictured). The sleeping capsule, known from the start-up TV show Höhle des Löwen, is nominated for the German Innovation Award 2019. It allows the user to spend the night in exotic places such as a museum, a bunker, or a pier in the Baltic Sea. “I’m a big fan of adventure nights, from tree houses to tepees; but unfortunately I’ve only been able to find a few local accommodation offers of this type and they don’t come with quality guarantees,” says Löhnert. In the Sleep Cube, the user lies on a 1.60 m wide and 2 m long mattress, while three large panoramic windows and the roof provide a view of the surroundings and the sky.

Even classic hotel stays have now become a focus of research. Vanessa Borkmann from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO will talk about the importance of sleep in hotels in Frankfurt am Main in January (“The importance of sleep during a hotel stay – a special experience thanks to innovation”). “Healthy sleep is particularly important in hotels,” says Borkmann, who wants to show how the effect of rest in the hotel bed can be improved, for example through the design of the sleeping environment, the behavior of the guest themselves, or technical innovations.

Sustainable Sleep

More and more people are using natural materials and sustainably produced textiles in their bedrooms. The lecture block “Sleep & Sustainability” is dedicated to the material properties of textiles and the quality of their processing as well as the auditability of sustainable procurement and production standards. This is how Hendrik Albers, buyer of home and household textiles, bedding & mattresses at OTTO, and Dr Juliane Hedderich, managing director of the Down and Feather Associations in Mainz, describe the growing importance of nature conservation, environmental protection and animal welfare in the bedroom (“Sustainable good advice – Convincing with the right arguments when it comes to animal welfare and quality”). “In the past, criteria such as weight, moisture wicking, and filling power has played an almost exclusive role in the choice of bedding, but now the ethical component is increasingly coming into play,” says Hedderich. Consumers are placing ever greater importance on certificates and seals which prove that the processed down and feathers did not originate from live plucking or foie gras production. Hedderich and OTTO buyer Albers present the quality seal “DOWNPASS 2017,” which indicates controlled animal husbandry and adherence to animal protection criteria.