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How to choose the right bed

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Even though we spend around a third of our lives sleeping, many people do not put much thought into buying the perfect bed for their needs, and the quality of their sleep can suffer as a result.

Getting a good night’s rest not only ensures we feel fresh and ready to take on the next day, but is also integral to the body’s rest and recuperation process.

As quality sleep forms part of a healthy lifestyle, choosing the right bed for the needs of yourself and your partner can help you to get a good night’s sleep every night of the week and make sure you get out of the right side of the bed every morning.


Before going bed shopping, first try to make a list of all the things that you are not willing to compromise on, to avoid getting carried away.

There are several considerations that need to be taken into account, with price just one of them. Remember that the mattress will need to fit inside the bedroom and be carried through the house, and will also need to be flipped regularly, so ample space is needed.

Storage is another consideration for many, with divan beds generally having drawers for bed sheets and other materials, and some beds having room underneath to conceal boxes if space is at a premium in your bedroom.

If you have health issues, particularly something musculoskeletal, then the mattress you choose may also have to be a specific firmness or composition to accommodate your condition.


While most people know that double beds are larger than single beds and king-size are larger still, bed sizes are not standardised, so there can be a difference of a few centimetres between mattresses and bases, especially if they are not produced by the same manufacturer.

It is always best to go by the exact measurements, which will ensure compliance and avoid any unwanted gaps or overhanging. Duvet covers and flat sheets should be fine, but with fitted sheets it may again be wise to check the measurements before purchasing to avoid them being baggy or stretched.

The benefit of choosing a large bed is that disturbance will be kept to a minimum - particularly if you sleep with a partner - and there will generally be more space to find the most comfortable position.

Testing it out

Nobody would buy a car without taking it for a test drive first, and we only spend an hour or two a day driving. The average adult spends 6-8 hours sleeping, and so the same philosophy should be adopted when choosing a bed to ensure optimum sleep quality.

If you are testing the mattress out in a furniture store or dedicated bed shop, then remove any outdoor or bulky clothing and lay on the bed, to most closely replicate how you would normally sleep.

If possible, spend a good ten minutes laying down in your usual sleeping position; if this feels uncomfortable after a short period of time, then chances are it would be much worse after 7 hours, so move on and try the next mattress.

If you sleep with a partner, their considerations may also need to be taken into account, and sometimes a compromise will need to be made on firmness. Providing the mattress is not overly hard or too soft, it should be possible to meet in the middle.

When choosing a new bed, bear in mind that you will spend around 20,000 hours sleeping over the average lifespan of the bed, which is seven years. Putting in a little effort at this stage can be hugely beneficial in the long run and ensure that you and your partner get a great night’s sleep, every night.

The Sleep Council was founded by the National Bed Federation, the trade association for British bed manufacturers, and aims to raise awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing. For more information, visit


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