Guest Blog: Sleep & Bed Buying Tips
1st March 2014
It’s National Bed Month - and no, that doesn’t mean you can stay in bed for a month - but it does mean there’s no better time to be taking a look at what you’re sleeping on and how well you sleep.
A good night’s sleep makes us all feel so much better and a comfortable, supportive bed is essential for getting it. A bed with the correct support, comfort and space will ensure you wake less, move about less, are less disturbed by your partner and are less likely to wake up feeling tired or aching. Our own research a few years back found that when replacing an uncomfortable bed, a new bed was associated with an increase of 42 minutes sleep – who wouldn’t want that?
Here’s a handy checklist for bed buying:
- Decide your priorities and concerns in advance. For example, is it :- price, storage, access to bedroom, turning the mattress, getting in and out of bed, overall size or shape, a health issue, etc.
- If possible, try a selection of beds for comparison before you buy.
- Buy for correct support and comfort for your weight and build - not just firmness.
- Lie down in your normal sleeping position and make some turns, too. Wear comfortable clothing and remove any outdoor gear.
- Try it together, if the bed’s for two.
- Don’t forget a bed is a mattress and a base working together - don’t consider them in isolation.
- Think big - larger beds are more comfortable.
- You get what you pay for - both in product and service - so spend as much as you can afford.
Remember, you’re going to spend over 20,000 hours on your bed during its seven year lifespan so it’s worth taking a little time and effort in the beginning to make sure you make the right choice. While the right bed will play a crucial part in getting a good night’s sleep, if you’re not getting as much rest as you need, try following our simple tips to help yourself to get a better night’s sleep.
- Keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time, will programme your body to sleep better.
- Create a restful sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep and it should be neither too hot, nor too cold; and as quiet and dark as possible. Make sure your bed is comfortable. It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that’s too soft, too hard, too small or too old.
- Take more exercise. Regular, moderate exercise such as swimming or walking can help relieve the day’s stresses and strains. But not too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake!
- Don’t end up compensating for lack of sleep by going too heavy on stimulants such as caffeine in tea, coffee or cola - especially in the evening. They interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.
- Don’t over-indulge. Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, just before bedtime, can play havoc with sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will interrupt your sleep later on in the night.
- Don’t smoke. Yes, it’s bad for sleep, too: smokers take longer to fall asleep, wake more often and often experience more sleep disruption.
- Try to relax and insist on some ‘me time’ before going to bed. Have a warm bath, listen to some quiet music, do some yoga – all help to relax both the mind and body. Your doctor may be able to recommend a helpful relaxation tape, too.
- Deal with worries or a heavy workload by making lists of things to be tackled the next day.
- Resolve arguments before bed. Ongoing conflicts are not conducive to putting you in the right frame of mind for sleep!
- If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again – then go back to be.
If you want any further sleep tips or bed advice, visit www.sleepcouncil.org.uk or request one of our free leaflets – Bed Buyers Guide and Sleep Good Feel Good Guide – on 0800 018 7923.