The cradle is a bed where people can find tranquillity, be cradled or can swing back and forth by themselves. It connects the one who sleeps with the one who rocks. Even during the last stage of life, this unique bed offers as much comfort as possible to everyone involved.
The present bed
Since its origin, Huis Perrekes has always envisioned to design a bed tailored to the needs of people in the last stage of their life, and specifically for people with dementia. Therefore, together with our former architect, Gerard Cools, we designed a bed closely attuned to the requirements of the residents. Thanks to its steep, wooden bed frames, this design offers warmth, shelter and safety, all the while preventing falls as well as ensuring free movement. The mattress at seat height and the semicircular carving at one side of the bed enables the persons with dementia to pull themselves up to get out of bed. The bed can be placed in the bedroom as well as in the living room, so the user stays in the vicinity of the fellow residents and staff. Moreover, ergonomics and occupational therapy are integrated in the daily routine.
A new bed
As adults, we have forgotten the feeling of being cradled, as we are too tall to lie in someone’s arms with our entire body. However, we believe that the act of rocking has a wholesome and comforting effect. The person rocking passes on his presence and nearness by means of the gentle rocking movement of the bed. The cradling gives meaning to the act of watching over someone. The person asleep or resting feels the soft rocking and knows he is not alone. The rhythmic movement creates a calm and peaceful atmosphere, encouraging the person to rest. Additionally, the body moves slightly, allowing the pressure points to shift. Cradling together.
With this knowledge, the architectural office NU developed the Cradle. Atelier Modest supported the development and made several prototypes. The social enterprise Levanto from Antwerp is responsible for the final implementation. In the autumn of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, seven beds will be placed in several living- and care settings to ensure its lasting use in the various sectors.
Cradles rock adults to sleep as well
The act of rocking does not only ease babies to sleep, but adults as well. Scientific research proves that people sleep better when they are cradled. Twelve men, who described themselves as good sleepers, participated in the study. They were asked to take two naps of 45 minutes in a dark and quiet room. The first time they slept in a standard bed and the second time in a rocking bed. All volunteers fell asleep more quickly when being rocked and their sleep was also more profound. When taking a nap in a slightly rocking bed, people fall asleep 3,5 minutes sooner than when laying in a standard bed. These results explain why parents instinctively rock their babies to sleep and why we fall asleep so easily in a rocking chair.
The study, which was published in the magazine Current Biology, was conducted by Laurence Bayer et al, from the University of Geneva.