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Choosing the Right Bed

Statistics reveal that we spend one third of our lives in bed, which is why it's so important that your bed gives you a good night's sleep. Of all the furniture in your house, your bed gets the most use and has the greatest impact on your quality of life.

From relaxing after a stressful day to relieving a bad back, your bed should enable you to rest sufficiently and soothe your aches and pains. Sleep deprivation has been connected to many health issues from depression to obesity; it is essential for our mind and bodies to rest and repair. Sleep expert Chris Idzikowski conducted a study at the Edinburgh Sleep Centre and found that replacing an old bed with a new one was four times more effective than prescription sleeping drugs.

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When to replace your Mattress?

A good quality mattress has an average life span of 10 years, but some may need replacing sooner than others. If you're thinking about buying a new bed and mattress then these three points will be worth consideration:

Loss of comfort:

As the natural qualities of your mattress fillings reduce over time it will become less comfortable. For instance, in a sprung mattress you may find that the springs come out of position; if you awake feeling stiff or unrested then it's likely your mattress is responsible.

Wear and tear:

After ten years of use your mattress will have been used for far more than just sleeping. Check for visible signs of sagging especially where your hips and shoulders rest. If you find indents then your mattress is no longer able to support the points where most pressure is applied and therefore needs replacing.

Hygiene:

Even with a mattress protector, a mattress that has been slept on every night for 10 years will have accumulated susbtantial debris. If you suffer with asthma or allergies, sleeping in an old bed can adversely affect your condition. Hypo-allergenic and anti-dustmite mattresses are available that could help you get a better night's sleep and give your mattress a longer life expectancy.

A bed is a 10 year investment into your physical and mental wellbeing and you will see the benefits of spending as much as you can afford. An expertly constructed bed made from high quality materials will provide extensive comfort and support and last considerably longer than one of lower quality.



Things to Consider

There are many options to bear in mind when buying a mattress. Firstly, it is important that your mattress and bed base are suitable for each other, or you will find that your mattress isn't correctly supported and its quality will deplete rapidly. Secondly you should decide what qualities you are looking for in your mattress. Things to consider are:

Heat:

One of the biggest causes of sleepless nights is fluctuation in body temperature. Consider whether you run the risk of getting too hot at night. If so, you may want to choose a hybrid of natural and synthetic fillings rather than a pure memory foam mattress, which reacts to your body heat.

Size:

Sharing a standard double bed gives each person 70cm in width; the equivalent of less than a single bed. Being disturbed by your partner is the most likely cause of a broken night's sleep, so if you share your bed, it may be worth considering upgrading to a King-size for uninterrupted slumber. When testing out a bed with your partner you should be able to lie side by side with your hands behind your head and elbows out without touching each other.

Firmness:

Most mattresses come with a firmness rating, though if you suffer from a bad back the firmest option is not necessarily the best. Often mattresses advertised as orthopaedic are simply firm, they lack any additional medical specifications. If you suffer from serious back pain your doctor will be able to offer you advice on the right bed for you.

Weight:

Firmness ratings are based on average weights. So it may be useful if you are above average weight to consider a firmer option, whilst if of a lower than average weight a softer option will be more suitable.

Allergies:

If you suffer with allergies or asthma then some mattress materials could aggravate your condition; a mattress with natural fillings could help alleviate these issues and a slatted bed base will give your mattress the chance to air, reducing the effect of dust mites.



Mattress Types

Open coil:

This is a traditional sprung option, where single springs are connected by wires to form a single unit with fillings added to cushion them. This type of mattress is ideal if you and your partner are of a similar size. Its simple construction also makes it a very cost effective choice.

Pocket spring:

Springs are sown into individual fabric pockets so that each coil absorbs weight individually. Whereas open coil springs need your body to contour to them, pocket sprung mattresses contour to your body and can adjust support to areas of pressure. Each spring gives individual support that follows the contours of your body ensuring your spine is correctly aligned. Pocket sprung mattresses are great if you and your partner are of different sizes as they effectively prevent 'roll together' (where one person's sleep movement directly disturbs the other by rolling to the middle of the bed).

Reflex foam:

Often used to cushion pocket sprung mattresses and is the most cost effective type of foam available. It is ideal for those who prefer a softer mattress and want the sensation of sinking into their bed. It offers a competitive level of shape retention and durability. Similarly to memory foam, as a synthetic material, it traps heat and therefore encourages moisture, making this a very warm sleeping alternative.

Memory foam:

Memory foam has many benefits for people who suffer with acute joint pain. By responding to your body's heat, the memory foam moulds to your shape and relieves the points where most pressure is applied; most substantially at the hip and shoulder areas. The majority of memory foam mattresses consist of a top and bottom layer of memory foam with springs or reflex foam in the middle. As memory foam reacts to the heat emitted from your body it can get very hot, especially in summer. Mattresses combining pocket springs with memory foam allow air to move through the springs underneath, cooling the mattress significantly. Additionally, a wooden slatted base will allow the air to pass through increasing the cooling effect of the pocket springs.

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