Given that we all spend a third of our lives asleep, your bed is a key purchase for your home and a good bed should last you for 10 years. Essentially your bed should be the first thing you purchase when you move in to your new home, as sleeping well will ensure you have the energy to go to work during the day. The secret of having a good night’s sleep is the mattress and bed base you choose, don’t forget that the two work together.
Comfort and support are the main factors to look for but these are highly personal choices and decisions should not be made lightly. If you share a bed with your partner you should always test the bed and make the decision together to ensure maximum comfort for you both.
Over a third of the UK population suffer from back pain and for many this is needlessly endured due to the poor condition of their bed. After ten years, your mattress will have experienced 30,000 long hours of hard labour and is likely to have deteriorated up to 70% from its original state. But it’s not just those who suffer from bad backs who need to ensure their beds are up to scratch, having a comfortable, supportive bed is something everyone needs.
The seven factors to consider when choosing a new bed
Are you looking to replace a complete bed or just the mattress? If it’s a complete bed the two main choices are a divan set (mattress & divan base) or a bed frame and mattress. Always remember that a ‘bed’ is a mattress and a base working together – you should not consider them in isolation and should ideally try them together.
Given how long you spend in bed and how key a good night’s sleep is to your general health and wellbeing, you should spend as much as you can afford on a bed, particularly on the mattress. A bed frame may make a great fashion statement, but that’s not the part of the bed you sleep on, your choice of mattress is key. As with everything else, you get what you pay for.
A comfortable bed is a bed offering the right support. You will need to make your own assessment, guided by factors such as weight, height, build and even preferred sleeping position. Too soft and you’ll slouch, leading to problems with your back and posture, too firm and it’ll cause pain in your hips and shoulders. If you and your partner are very different in size and weight then getting two separate mattresses may be the ideal solution. You can make double beds out of two singles zipped together, and sometimes it’s possible to combine different levels of firmness in one mattress. If you suffer from a bad back then check with your doctor or osteopath as to what’s best for you, an ultra-firm mattress is not automatically the best solution.
Being disturbed by a sleeping partner is one of the most common complaints. With a larger bed you are less likely to disturb one another. You should be able to lay side by side, with your arms behind your head and your elbows out, without touching.
Your bed should be 4 to 6” (10 to 15cm) longer than the tallest partner, anyone taller than 6ft (1.8m) tall should consider a bed longer than standard. Many manufacturers make beds up to 7ft square as a matter of course, others will make special sizes.
When choosing your bed, remember that you will have it for a number of years so it is wise to consider the height as you may find it difficult in the future to get in or out of a bed that is either too low or too high. Most beds now a day are higher than they were 10 years ago. Most bases today with the castors in are 40cm or 15” tall, add that to a mattress where the panel sides are usually 8 or 9 “ deep (20 to 23cm tall) which makes the overall bed before you put your bed linen on approximately 25” or 66cm high or higher.
Bed frames will always be larger than the mattresses, as the mattress sits within the side rails. Always check the external size of the frame to make sure that it will fit into your bedroom.
Existing Bed Frames
It is worth remembering that If you purchase a mattress to fit on to an existing bed frame, be it wooden or metal, the slats should be no wider than the recommended 5cm apart , As this will most certainly affect how the mattress will wear. To help the mattress you could purchase more slats to fill the gaps or purchase a sheet of ply or hardboard to fit over the entire slatted base. Failure to give the mattress an even surface will probably cause problems within the mattress and may affect the mattress guarantee.
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