Permanently tired? Suffering from pains and aches all over your body? Could be that your bed is the culprit, especially if it’s older than seven years. Even the best bed can deteriorate by as much as 70% within 10 years of being bought, yet it would seem that the majority of Brits hold on for about 15 years before they go bed shopping. That’s bad news for anyone looking for a good night’s sleep, and even worse news for anyone valuing their health (research shows that we leave behind about a pint of fluid every night, and approximately a pound of skin annually on our beds).
But enough scary talk – time to dish out advice for choosing the best bed (and, why not, a new memory foam mattress)!
In a perfect world, we’d all have at least 45cm of free space on either side of our beds to adequately vacuum and change the sheets. But, of course, space is fast being put on the endangered species list, which means we can’t all go out and pick up King-size designs for our bedrooms.
Fortunately, we have options. Divan beds are available in the same sizes as standard mattresses, or can be made to order in bespoke sizes. But should you order one with drawers (keeping bedroom storage in mind), allow enough space for them to open.
When it comes to bedsteads, they take up more room than divans, especially the plump, upholstered type and wooden sleigh beds. However, both divans and bedsteads usually come in sections, making it easier to get them around corners or up the stairs.
Two adults sharing a bed will undoubtedly be treating themselves to a comfier night’s sleep by picking a king size design instead of a standard double bed. At the very least, both parties should be able to lie on the bed with hands behind their heads and elbows out, without touching. And the bed should ideally be 10—15cm longer than the tallest person sleeping in it.
In terms of mattress sizes, the average dimensions are:
• Single: 90cm x 190cm
• Small double: 120cm x 190cm
• Double: 135cm x 190cm
• King size: 150cm x 200cm
• Super king size: 180cm x 200cm.
Of course it makes sense to buy the best mattress that fits in with your budget. A supportive and flexible option is the luxurious pocket sprung mattress. A mid-price option is continuous springing, a woven mesh of coils. For lower budgets, look at open-spring mattresses, with individual hourglass springs.
Should you not be keen on springs, consider a visco-elastic or memory foam mattress. These are designed to respond to your body weight and then return to its original shape once you get up.
Modern designs also treat us to hybrids – sprung mattresses can have a memory foam top, while cushion-top or pillow-top mattresses ensure an extra layer for a softer, more luxurious bed.
At the end of the day, personal preference plays a big role when choosing between bed styles. Both a divan and bedstead can be fitted with the mattress of your choice. However, if you want to make a dramatic statement with your bed, think about a bedstead upholstered in luxurious velvet or linen, for instance.
Or how about an elegant four-poster bed, complementing your room’s modern and linear style? A divan might be the plainer choice, but these beds are pro when it comes to additional storage possibilities.
Should your budget be on the smaller side, go with a basic divan, then add a fitting headboard to make a style statement of your choosing.
Does your idea of the perfect bed include lounging in it and watching movies? Or just napping as often as you can? Then an adjustable bed could be the answer.
In double versions, each side can be adjusted individually, with various options for raising your head, legs and body. But purchase the mattress simultaneously, since these are specially made. And always check that electrical parts come with a guarantee and are compatible with UK systems.
By all means, stretch out on those beds in the store. Try laying on it for up to 10 minutes, changing position regularly to see how it accommodates your body. Also slip your hand underneath the small of your back: if you can move it easily, the mattress is too hard, and if you can’t, it’s too soft.
Roll over on the bed: if too soft, it will take a lot of effort; if too hard, you’ll feel pressure on your hips and shoulders.
If you’re buying a bed for both you and your partner, lie on it together. You’re less likely to roll together with a pocket spring mattress. But if there’s a significant difference in your weights, you may want to consider a zip and link bed with two mattresses.
Cots come in various options, yet those options multiply once your child moves on to the next stage: toddler beds. We recommend one with side rails for safety. Or consider an extendable bed that starts short, at around 140cm, then can be pulled out to a full-size bed as they grow.
And seeing as those toys will accumulate as they grow older, consider one with built-in storage, like a cabin bed or mid-sleeper with drawers and shelves. Or one that has roll-out storage units beneath the mattress.
Many high-sleeper designs provide adequate space underneath for a desk, a daybed, shelving or even a wardrobe. And virtually every child staring school thinks bunk beds are fun. Just make sure those bunks are securely joined: check that internal wooden dowelling with cross-fitting screws or metal dowels with intersecting bolts are used, and that the ladder is secure.
As it can be an effort getting your bed into the house (and out again if you don’t like it), you don’t really want to test drive too many options before settling on the final one. Thus, never go bed shopping on a whim. Schedule in a few hours to shop – if you have enough time, you’re not forcing yourself to rush and make too-quick decisions.
And don’t try choosing the best bed when you’re tired, because then all of them will feel perfect! And remember to dress sensibly and comfortably, as it will help lying down on those mattresses in the store.
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