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We are constantly told that we need to get 8 hours sleep, but do we really ever think about the quality of the sleep we have? Falling asleep rapidly when you’re ready and waking up when you want to, feeling refreshed and ready for the day; and remaining bright, alert and happy until you next want to sleep constitutes a good sleep.

The quality of our dreaming hours depends on many factors, but one dominant influence is the type of mattress and bed we have. If you can answer ‘yes’ to five or more of the questions below then you definitely need a new mattress:

Is it seven years old or more?

  • Would it be embarrassing if the neighbours saw it without the covers?
  • Does it make suspicious noises in the night?
  • Did you have your best recent night’s sleep in a bed other than yours?
  • Are you waking up more frequently unrefreshed and aching?
  • Do you and your partner roll towards each other unintentionally?
  • Do you have enough space to sleep comfortably?
  • Is it sagging?
  • Are the legs worn out?
  • Does it appear fresh?
  • Does it feel lumpy in the night?

How did you score? Did you answer “yes” to 5 or more? Then read on or if you would like to know more about getting a good night’s sleep then you might find the contents of this article interesting anyway.

Two-year research by sleep expert Dr Chris Idzikowski found that those with uncomfortable beds slept on average one hour less each night than those with comfortable beds, but how do you choose a comfortable bed?

The first thing you need to ask yourself is what type do you prefer. What is it that you like or dislike about your current bed? Do you prefer a softer or firmer feel? Then there is the question of how much should you pay and how much can you afford? The simple answer to these questions is you need to go for value for money as opposed to the lowest price. The better the construction of the bed, the better the support and comfort and the longer the bed will last. It can also be false economy to change only the mattress and keep the original base, especially if you are buying a divan. The old base could reduce the effectiveness of the new mattress in terms of the comfort and support it can offer.It could also invalidate manufacturers’ warranties or guarantees.

The other important factor in choosing a bed is to select the right size as being disturbed by a sleeping partner is one of the most common obstacles in achieving a good night’s rest. If you buy a larger bed you are less likely to disturb one another. You should be able to lie side by side, with your arms behind your head and your elbows out, without touching. Your bed should be 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) longer than the tallest partner – which means anyone over 6 foot (1.8 m) should consider a bed longer than the standard.

Then there is the process of trying different mattresses and beds before you select the one you want to buy. Research has shown that 80% of bed shoppers spend less than two minutes trying out beds on which they are likely to be spending around 3,000 hours – over 120 full days – in one year!



Beds come in a range of spring tensions, fillings and sizes. Try a few to determine which one is the perfect option for you.


Finding your ideal level of support and cushioning takes time. Test each bed for at least 10 minutes, with your partner if you share a bed. Lie in the position that you usually sleep in and turn over a few times.


If the mattress is too firm, you will be able to slide your hand easily between the mattress and the hollow of your back. If the mattress is too soft, you will not be able to slide your hand beneath your back.


Buying the largest bed you can accommodate will reduce sleep disturbance. Some bed manufacturers, such as Vi-Spring can make divans in sections to negotiate small entrances and tight staircases.


You will spend a third of your life in bed and a good night’s sleep will contribute to your long-term well-being, so its worth investing in the best bed possible.