SLEEP DIARY

Sleep – we all do it, but nearly half of us don’t do it well. And whether you sleep well or not, it is essential to our health and wellbeing. Without it we’re not much good at doing anything else.

If you’re having trouble sleeping and can’t understand why, keeping a Sleep Diary can help identify what’s keeping you awake. Sometimes your sleep troubles are a result of bad sleep habits for example drinking too much caffeine before bedtime, not exercising or poor sleep hygiene. The diary will help to pinpoint if you’re consistently waking at a similar time, what you’ve done that day, what you’ve eaten etc to see if there is any pattern.

Start keeping a sleep diary as soon as you begin to recognise a problem and complete over a two week period. If you need to see a GP or healthcare professional about your sleep issues you will have evidence of your sleep-wake pattern which can help with a diagnosis and treatment.

A big thank you to the Sleep Council for producing this

SLEEP CALCULATOR

n an ideal world you would wake up naturally and at the end of a sleep cycle.

Unfortunately with work, school runs or other commitments it’s not always possible to wake naturally and often an alarm. It can be hard to get out of  bed when the alarm goes off but rather than you feeling tired because of lack of sleep, it could be because you’ve woken mid sleep cycle.

When you wake mid cycle, you are more likely to feel groggy and disorientated. The best way to make sure you wake at the end of a cycle is to work back from when you want to get up to get your ideal bedtime. Sleep cycles are around 90 minutes and we tend to go through around five a night.

HOW TO WORK OUT THE IDEAL BEDTIME

Multiply 90 minutes (each cycle time) by five (the number of sleep cycles per night) to get 450 minutes or 7.5 hours of sleep. (Four sleep cycles would give just six hours of sleep, six sleep cycles would give 9 hours of sleep per night)

If you need to wake up by 7am then count back 7.5 hours to find that bedtime is around 11.30pm. Make sure you’re in bed before then so you’re relaxed ready for sleep and allow yourself 15 minutes to drop off.  You can use the sleep calculator to find the ideal bedtime for you.

It’s important to remember that the sleep calculator is just a guide to help you understand your sleep routine and to help you wake more refreshed. Always work on the knowledge on how you feel the next day after being asleep – if you wake feeling refreshed and ready to tackle, chances are you are sleeping just fine. If you wake feeling tired then it’s likely you need more sleep, or better-quality sleep.

SLEEP CYCLES

When we first fall asleep we enter non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM). This is divided into three stages, with each becoming progressively deeper. NREM1 and NREM2 are light phases of sleep, from which we can be easily roused. NREM3 becomes deeper, and if woken up, we can feel disorientated. Following on from this is rapid eye movement sleep (REM), the stage at which we dream.

Each sleep cycle lasts around one and a half hours, and in order to feel fully rested and refreshed when we wake up, we must experience all four stages. A full night’s sleep will include five or six cycles, while a disturbed, restless night consists of fewer.

If you feel like four cycles is too little (six hours of sleep) but five cycles is too much (7.5 hours of sleep) then try to make sure you wake up in stage 1 or 2 of sleep which are lighter phases of sleep. These two stages will last no more than 30 minutes altogether.

Sleep Calculator
bed bedroom blanket comfort

7 STEPS TO A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP

Sleep. We all do it, but many of us don’t do it well. A good night’s rest is essential to a healthy existence, protecting you physically and mentally as well as boosting your quality of life. Unfortunately, many of us struggle to fall asleep, have bad dreams, can’t wake up in the morning and then feel constantly tired!

Sleep plays a significant role in healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels. It helps us maintain a healthy weight and a good balance of hormones, as well as controlling sugar levels. In terms of mental health, a great night’s sleep makes the brain work properly. It helps us to learn, remember, solve problems and make decisions, as well as safeguarding against stress, mood swings and depression. It’s rather worrying that the majority of people don’t sleep very well!

Fortunately, there are many practical ways to improve your sleeping habits. Find out our advice on sleep with the following seven steps.

1. Your Bedroom

If you’re having trouble sleeping, one of the first things to consider is your bedroom. In order to get a restful night’s sleep you need the right setting, which means a clean, peaceful and welcoming room. Many of us are unknowingly sleeping in a bedroom that’s simply not fit for purpose, and that environment could be the key cause of a restless night.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to transform your bedroom into a space that encourages a peaceful night’s sleep. Here are our top tips:

  • When it’s time for bed, make your room completely dark. This can be achieved with a blackout blind or curtains, an additional window dressing, or even an eye mask.
  • Maintain an ambient temperature in your room. If you’re too hot or too cold, you won’t sleep soundly. We recommend a cool temperature of around 16-18° C (60-65° F).
  • A tidy room makes for a tidy mind… and a restful night’s sleep! De-clutter your bedroom and create a space that’s clean, neat and simple. Even just relocating the laundry basket, stacking up some books or blitzing your bedside table can make a real difference.
  • Say no to technology in the bedroom! That means avoiding televisions and computers. Having access to these will urge you to switch on when you can’t drift off, which in turn can lead to even more disturbed sleep.
  • LED displays are particularly troublesome when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. When it’s time to snooze, switch off your mobile phone, tablet, and any alarm clocks with a digital display.
  • Avoid treating your bedroom like an extension of the rest of your house. That means you shouldn’t use it for work, watching TV, eating, and even talking on the phone. Save the bedroom for sleep and sex.
  • Add special touches to the space, which will help you feel more connected and peaceful. Family photographs, plants, flowers and ornaments will help to create a room that’s pleasant and relaxing.
  • Avoid using certain colours when decorating. Remember that bright reds, yellows and oranges are jarring, while browns and whites are boring and drab. Instead, choose soft, muted tones that will make you feel calm.
  • Certain smells can affect your mood, helping you to feel more calm and relaxed. Lavender and germanium are naturally calming, so invest in some essential oils to help you drift off. Remember, these should not be used in pregnancy or children’s rooms.
  • Take the time to really consider your bedroom. Realise that you have a duty of care to yourself, and should therefore create a sleep area that’s as effective as possible. Boost your wellbeing by making your bedroom more sleep-friendly – you’re worth it! For more information, on how to create the perfect sleep environment

2. Your Bed

The foundation of a great night’s sleep is a comfortable bed. The right mattress can make a huge difference between a restful and restless night, saving you from fatigue and irritability for the rest of the day. An unsupportive mattress will encourage a poor sleeping posture, which prevents you from good sleep. If you regularly wake up with aches and pains, it’s probably time to change your mattress.

There’s a huge amount of choice on the bed market, which can make selecting the right one difficult. It’s always worth doing your research! Here are some of the factors you should consider when selecting the best bed for you:

  • Always put quality above price. Of course, there are some perfectly acceptable low-priced mattresses available, but when it comes to your bed, spend as much as you can afford.
  • The right support is crucial. If your bed is too hard or soft, it will be uncomfortable and unsupportive. Your mattress should be firm enough to support your spine in the correct alignment while conforming to your body’s contours.
  • Always try before you buy! Lay down on each bed that you’re seriously considering, spending a good 10-15 minutes realising its comfort and support levels. Try several different positions (we all move 40-60 times per night), and remember that if two people will be sleeping on this mattress, test it out together.
  • Avoid waiting until your bed has ‘worn out’ completely. Research shows that sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress can rob you of up to one hour’s sleep per night, which adds up to a full night’s sleep over the course of a week! You should consider changing your bed after seven years.

3. Your Lifestyle

The 21st century lifestyle is typically fast paced, chaotic and jam-packed with technology. From the moment we wake up we switch on our brains with smart phones, and as our day progresses, we’re presented with even more triggers. The continuous content that’s fed from TV and radio, real time social feeds and our constant checking of emails all make for a non-stop stimulation… It’s no wonder that many of us can’t switch off or fall asleep, then struggle to wake up in the morning and spend a lot of time complaining “I can’t sleep!”

There are simple ways to adjust your lifestyle to promote a better night’s sleep. These minor changes will help you to wind down and relax, removing you from the hectic, technology-crammed world that we live in.

  • Reduce the intensity of artificial light in your home by using dimmer switches or low wattage bulbs.
  • Maintain a regular bedtime routine and sleep pattern.
  • Use a hot water bottle if you get cold.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed.
  • Switch off your tech a couple of hours before bedtime – that includes your phone!
  • Empty your bladder before bed, and try not to consume too many liquids before you sleep.
  • Don’t nap during the day.

4. Stress and Worry

Scientists have found a direct correlation between anxiety and rhythm of sleep. When a person is anxious, their heart rate increases, which causes the brain to ‘race’, too. An alert mind produces beta waves, making you far too stimulated to sleep. To make matters worse, an active brain triggers other worries, so it’s even harder to achieve sleep.

Once this pattern sets in, bedtime can become a thing of anxiety. So how can you combat the stress of sleeping?

There are several techniques to banish anxiety and calm your heart rate. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one of them, helping people to ‘unlearn’ thought processes through psychological treatment.

You can also manage your heart rate by placing your hand on your heart and listen for the beating. Breathe in deeply for four seconds, and then breathe out slowly. Repeat this until you can feel your heart rate slowing, which in turn slows down your busy brain activity.

Eliminate your anxious thoughts by practising the speaking technique. This means voicing the thoughts that would otherwise live in your head. Speaking aloud overrides thinking, which stops your negative thoughts in their tracks. Practise by thinking the alphabet in your head, and when you reach ‘J’, start speaking out loud. What happened to the alphabet? Well, you stopped thinking it in your head, because speaking overrode those thoughts. Use this technique when you start worrying in bed: instead of thinking ‘the mortgage is due and I don’t have the money to pay it’, say aloud ‘we will find a way to pay the mortgage this month.’

5. Diet

They say you are what you eat, and when it comes to getting a restful night’s sleep, the food and drink you consume has a drastic effect. The best foods for sleep include milk, cherries, chicken and rice, while fatty meat, curry and alcohol are some of the worst. Some people choose not to eat after 6pm, as late meals can make it difficult to sleep. However, if you are eating before bed, remember that there three main chemicals that promote good sleep: tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin. Here’s how you can include them in your diet.

TRYPTOPHAN

All proteins involve amino acids, and tryptophan is one of them. It is, however, the rarest amino acid, but it can still be found in turkey and chicken, as well as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts and beans. Milk also involves a small amount of tryptophan. When this chemical reaches the brain, it converts into serotonin.

SEROTONIN

You may be most familiar with this sleep-promoting chemical, which is connected to drugs like Prozac. Serotonin carries messages between neurones and other cells, and when levels are decreased, individuals can feel anxious, depressed and crave carbohydrates. At night time, serotonin undergoes metabolic changes to become melatonin, the chemical that induces sleep.

MELATONIN

Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, promoting a restful sleep. The best way to ensure optimal melatonin production is to sleep in a dark environment. Even low amounts of light can suppress the production of melatonin, which not only affects sleep, but has other health consequences too.

The Sleep Council can offer plenty of dietary advice to help you sleep better:

  • Always combine a protein food with a low to medium glycaemic index carbohydrate, which optimises tryptophan levels.
  • Don’t buy melatonin supplements online. They are only available on prescription in the UK. Taking prescribed melatonin will disrupt your own natural melatonin production, potentially suppressing your ability to generate this important hormone.
  • Don’t stop taking sleep medication suddenly. The best course of action is to speak to a doctor and develop a strategy to slowly wean yourself off in a healthy manner.
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine and cigarettes.
  • Avoid sedatives, such as sleeping pills and alcohol, to help you sleep. They have short term benefits and long term counter effects, such as dependency.
  • Changing your diet can help you sleep, but it takes time. Start a sleep diary to keep track of your progress, and don’t give up if you see no sudden improvement – sleeping soundly takes practice!

6. Exercise

Sports and exercise can help you to enjoy a better quality of sleep. Working out effectively can tire your body out gently, promoting a better night’s sleep. Releasing pent up tension through exercise is also highly beneficial, helping to banish stress before bedtime. Exercising also lowers your body’s temperature, which induces better sleep. However, there are several things to keep in mind when exercising to improve your sleeping habits.

  • Don’t overdo it. Contrary to popular belief, wearing yourself out physically is not likely to induce sleepiness. In fact, it can often be counter productive, leading to additional alertness when trying to sleep.
  • It’s believed that exercising close to bedtime can disturb sleep, however there is no evidence to back this argument. As such, exercising in the evening is much better than not exercising at all!
  • When it comes to exercise, the most important thing is to feel fitter and healthier. If you are experiencing sleeping problems, try to exercise a little more or change the type of activities you do. Yoga is renowned for its relaxation and sleep benefits, while moderate-aerobic exercise like walking has been found to help people fall asleep more quickly.

7. Relaxation and other Therapies

Many of us lead stressful lives. Demanding jobs, long hours and active families all contribute to a hectic lifestyle, and that’s not helped by the intense media that surrounds us. These elements make it very difficult to wind down, but fortunately there are a few relaxation techniques that can help promote a deep, restful sleep.

RELAX YOUR BODY

This method is best done in bed, though it can also be can be practised throughout the day if you’re in the right environment. By relaxing separate groups of muscles, you become more aware of your body and able to wind down mindfully.

  1. Tense a muscle, for example your bicep, by contracting for 7-10 seconds. Flex it gently – do not strain.
  2. At the same time, visualise the muscle being tensed, consciously feeling the build up of tension.
  3. Release the muscle abruptly and then relax, allowing the body to go limp. Take a few moments before moving on to the next muscle.
  4. Remember to keep the rest of your body relaxed whilst working on a particular muscle.

COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)

CBT is commonly prescribed for depression, but clinical trials have shown it is the most effective long-term solution for insomniacs. CBT helps you identify the negative attitudes and beliefs that hinder your sleep, then replaces them with positive thoughts, effectively ‘unlearning’ the negative beliefs.

A typical exercise is to set aside 30 minutes per day, in which you do your day’s worth of worrying. During this worry period you keep a diary of your worries and anxious thoughts, writing them down in order to reduce the weight in your mind. Once this task is complete, you are banned from worrying at any other point in the day.

Before you go to sleep, you can also write down the worries that you think may keep you awake. Once you are in bed with your eyes closed, you should imagine those thoughts floating away, leaving your mind free, peaceful, and ready to sleep.

STIMULUS CONTROL – THE 20 MINUTE RULE

We should all go to bed when we’re tired, but if you’re not asleep after twenty minutes, it’s recommended that you get up and find another activity to do. This should be quiet and peaceful, and not involve your phone or other digital displays. Listening to music, reading or doing yoga are all recommended as great 20 Minute Rule activities.

When you feel sleepy again, you should return to bed. The idea of this is method is to build a strong association between bed and sleeping, and eventually you’ll be able to fall asleep quickly.

SLEEP RESTRICTION

This technique involves only spending the amount of time in bed that equates to the average number of hours that you sleep. For example, you might only get five hours of sleep per night, even though you spend seven hours in bed. By using the Sleep Restriction method, you limit yourself to only five hours in bed per night.

This technique might make you more tired at first, but it can help you fall asleep faster and wake up fewer times. However, it’s not suitable if you’re only getting a couple of hours sleep per night, and should be supervised by a qualified CBT Sleep Practitioner.

woman sleeping

SLEEP HYGIENE

TIME TO SLEEP BETTER WITH THE NEW SLEEP HYGIENE GUIDELINES

The definitive advice on getting a good night’s sleep comes recommended by one of Britain’s top sleep gurus, Professor Jason Ellis of Northumbria University. The guidelines are aimed at increasing or maintaining good sleep health and are not for the management of sleep disorders. Sleep health takes into account quality, quantity and timing – including its regularity – of sleep in addition to vulnerability towards poor sleep and the impact of sleep on daytime functioning.

With the wealth of studies, surveys and expert opinions, it has led to a lot of conflicting messages. By looking at the different advice and scientific evidence, it’s been possible to create a simple, best practice guide for achieving a healthy night’s sleep.

The guidelines are simple to follow and shows how making a few changes to your routine over a 24 hour period can make a huge difference to your wellbeing.

MORNING

KEEP A REGULAR SLEEP/WAKE SCHEDULE

Keeping regular hours helps the body’s sleep system stay in harmony and promotes feelings of sleepiness and drowsiness when your body is ready for sleep. Therefore, where possible, wake up at the same time each morning and go to bed at the same time every night.

GET OUT INTO NATURAL LIGHT AS SOON AS IS PRACTICAL IN THE MORNING, PREFERABLY AROUND THE SAME TIME EVERY DAY

Natural light, which can still be effective on a cloudy or grey day, helps reset our internal body clock. It helps us get over feeling groggy when we have just woken up and makes us more alert.

woman girl silhouette jogger

DAY

ENGAGE IN DAYTIME EXERCISE

Exercise promotes the quantity and quality of your sleep, making it deeper and more refreshing. However, a few studies have shown that exercising too close to bedtime can prevent sleep so we suggest leaving a window of at least 2 hours before bedtime without exercise.

AVOID STIMULANTS THAT CONTAIN CAFFEINE 8 HOURS BEFORE BEDTIME

Although there are significant individual differences in how caffeine affects each of us, give yourself enough time between your last caffeine intake and your sleep time to make sure that it does not interfere with your ability to get off to sleep.

woman sleeping

EVENING

DON’T GO TO BED FULL, HUNGRY OR THIRSTY

Eating at regular times helps strengthen our internal body clock. However, eating a heavy meal before bedtime can make it challenging to sleep at night. Drinking lots of liquid before bed will also increase the chances that we have to go to the bathroom during the night. Conversely, being hungry or thirsty at night can increase the chances of waking up. A balance should be struck between being sated but not full up before we go to bed.

REDUCE ELECTRONIC USE BEFORE BEDTIME AND AVOID ELECTRONIC USE IN THE BEDROOM

Using electronics just before bed and in the bedroom can keep us awake for longer as the blue light from these devices has the capacity to prevent the hormones that make us sleepy from being produced. Importantly, it is not just the light that can affect our sleep but most activities that we use our devices for can keep us awake and alert which we don’t want to do at bedtime.

DON’T USE ALCOHOL TO SLEEP

Although alcohol is a sedative, it can have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of your sleep. Our sleep tends to become fragile and light when we have a lot of alcohol in the evening and can lead to lots of awakenings in the latter part of the night and feelings of being unrefreshed during the day.

photo of person holding alarm clock

NIGHT

AVOID NICOTINE BEFORE BED

Nicotine is a short-acting stimulant that can keep you awake and so should be avoided in the later part of the evening and during the night if you happen to wake up.

ENSURE THE BEDROOM IS COOL, DARK AND QUIET BEFORE BED

Heat, light and noise can impact on our ability to get off to sleep and increase the chances that we wake in the night. Even if we don’t realise that is the reason for us being awake. Making sure the bedroom is cool, dark and quiet can improve the quality of our sleep as can sleeping on a comfortable, supportive bed.

ENSURE THAT BEDROOM CLOCKS ARE NOT VISIBLE

It is common to watch the clock when we are awake at night. For some of us, this can increase our anxiety levels and further prevent us from being able to fall asleep. It is not necessary to remove the clock, as, for example, some people rely upon their alarm clocks to get them up in the morning, but having the clock face out of sight will help reduce any sleep anxiety.

FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

Be mindful of any abrupt, unexplained changes in your usual sleep pattern. By pattern, this could be the quality, quantity and/or timing of your sleep. An unexplained abrupt shift could indicate that your sleep health is worsening and may need attention.

Completing a Sleep Diary may help identify any changes. By managing your sleep hygiene, using the above guidelines, may be beneficial in getting your sleep back on track and/or lessening the impact of a brief period of poor sleep. If your sleep does not improve you must consult your GP.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

These new sleep hygiene guidelines do not include elements such as leaving the bedroom if not tired, only using the bedroom for sleep, napping, and restricting the amount of time in bed, keeping a worry diary and defining a relaxation period before bedtime.

While these are sometimes seen in sleep hygiene guidelines, these are active elements used in other treatment protocols – most notably; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). In each case, the directions for that particular technique need to be tailored to the individuals’ particular circumstances. For example, prescribed napping is useful and required in some circumstances such as chronic illness but should be assessed and managed with the support of a healthcare professional, preferably one with a working knowledge of sleep medicine.

Update on current Covid-19 situation in the Furniture & Flooring Industry

 

As our suppliers come back to some form of the new normality they are dealing with things such as staff and stock shortages. As you are probably
aware this has increased to shortages across the country and has a knock-on affect to our delivery times.

Deliveries that were usually deliver within days from our suppliers is now about 4 weeks. These are changes are out with our control and is affecting all
retailers in the area. Also factories are taking their planned summer holidays is also having an effect on ordering times.

Whilst we have a large number of items in stock which is available for  immediate delivery it is always best to visit us in store but for our extended
choice we may need to send for a special order.

Xmas may seem far away however given the delays we are urging customers to shop early so that we can get deliveries in time for the big day.

family-dinner

How to Throw A Virtual Dinner Party

How to Throw A Virtual Dinner Party

Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, connecting with friends and family via video calling is now more accessible than ever. So why not take advantage of these amazing tools and set up a virtual dinner party? 

 

Our tips and tricks will have you throwing a successful digital soiree in no time. Because let’s face it, social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t still be social – online at least.

Virtual Dinner Party

Set the Scene

A virtual dinner party presents the perfect opportunity to spruce up a vignette. Choose a spot which allows for good lighting and dress your background in your favourite decor. A bunch of flowers (artificial also optional), a range of your most-loved novels or a pretty wall art print will inject some personality and all with minimal effort. With no pesky guests busying up your abode, now’s the time to dust off your ‘best’ glassware and crockery – so you can say ‘Cheers!’ without the fear of any breakage.

Mindful Menus

While pre-set menus might seem like your usual ideal, taking a more mindful approach to your dish choices could be a responsible route. Raid your cupboards to get creative with the ingredients you already have, and eat each course in unison to your online guests to reflect an authentic dinner party experience. If you’re lucky enough to be a stone’s throw from any restaurants and cafes, check if they offer take away delivery. This means you can dig into some quality cooking whilst also supporting local businesses.

family-dinner

Dress to Impress

Although staying home all day means pjs and sweatpants on repeat, at a virtual dinner party, getting dolled up is a must. Resurfacing your finery and spritzing your favourite scent can provide a much-needed mood lift and get you in the spirit for socialising. If you have time to tidy, giving your place a once over will stand you in good stead if any suggestions for a virtual home tour crops up.

Test the Tech

There are no greater convo-killers than wobbly wifi and muted mics, so be sure to test the tech before the virtual dinner party kicks off. With a huge range of video conversation apps available, there’s sure to be something that works for even the most technophobic amongst us. P.S. Muting yourself whilst munching away on crisps is the ultimate in virtual dinner party etiquette.

What’s for Afters?

When conversations start to dwindle, you’ll find that there are an abundance of activities to keep the night in full swing. Platforms such as House Party include multiplayer games to keep the chat varied, or you can transition from dinner to dancing by jumping on a joint playlist during the call. If it’s time to wind down, head to your favourite streaming site and watch a film together. Bonus points for popcorn!

However you to choose to enjoy your virtual dinner party, there’s really no better way to feel connected to your family and friends. And remember, the more guests who virtually sit down to dinner, the less washing up left for you to do afterwards.

bed buyers guide

Bed Buying Guide

Thinking of buying a bed? How handy blog has it all covered from bases to pillows. To head to a particular section just click on the hyperlink belows.

1 Do you need a new bed?
2 Shopping for a new bed
3 Buying that bed
4 Sleep on this: types of mattress
5 Bed bases explained
6 Pillow Talk
7 To top it off
8 Caring for your bed
9 Your questions answered

Do you need a new bed?

You can’t beat a good night’s sleep – it leaves you feeling fit, thinking sharply and happy!

The foundation of good sleep is a comfortable bed and the right mattress. It can be the difference between a restorative night’s sleep and poor quality sleep that results in tiredness and fatigue.

Research shows that sleeping on an uncomfortable bed could rob you of up to an hour’s sleep – yet the deterioration may be so gradual and invisible that many people fail to make the connection between an uncomfortable bed and poor sleep.

You may need a new mattress if…

Beds don’t last forever. Even if it looks okay, it may not be giving you the support or comfort you need for a good night’s sleep. A mattress’s life span is affected by several factors such as the quality, care and amount you use it (e.g. reading, watching TV and sleeping each night versus occasional use of a spare bed).
Changes in lifestyle (marriage, new home) and in our bodies (losing or gaining weight, ageing, etc) can also necessitate a change of bed.

Here’s a few things to consider:

• Have you had your mattress more than seven years?
• Do you wake up with stiffness and/or aches and pains?
• Are you sleeping as well as you did a year ago?
• Have you had a better night’s sleep in a bed other than yours?
• Does your mattress show signs of visible wear and tear (it sags, is lumpy etc)?

There are literally thousands of beds from which to choose and there’s no such thing as the perfect type of bed for a particular condition or situation (e.g. one ideal bed for a back pain sufferer). Although a good retailer – and this booklet – will arm you with lots of information to make the process simpler, only you can make the final, important decision – so take your time and make it wisely.

Shopping for a new bed

Before you go shopping for a new bed, think about what you want from your bed. Here are a few general points to consider:

Type. What sort of style do you prefer? What do you like or dislike about your current bed? Do you prefer a firmer or softer feel?
The price is right. Always shop for the best value not the lowest price. Of course, there are some perfectly acceptable, lower priced beds available (far preferable to an unhygienic second hand bed shaped to someone else’s body) but the better the construction, the better the support and comfort and the longer the bed will last.
Size matters. With a larger bed you are less likely to disturb your partner. You should be able to lie side by side, with your arms behind your head and your elbows out, without touching. Your bed should also be 4-6in (10-15cm) longer than the tallest partner. Many manufacturers make beds up to 7ft square as a matter of course; others will make special sizes. Also consider the bed’s height – many contemporary styles are low, while those with storage drawers may be much higher.

Buy base and mattress together. At the very least, make sure you try mattresses on a similar type of base. The two are designed to work together and a change of base will affect the feel and performance of the mattress.
Access all areas. If you are worried about getting the bed upstairs, remember most divans have split bases; while many bedsteads are actually delivered in pieces for assembly in situ. To avoid problems with delivery, you should tell the retailer
about potential access problems (narrow staircases, tight corners etc) before you buy. Check the retailer’s terms and conditions.
After sales service. Can’t decide between two or three equally suitable products?
Think about the retailer’s service – e.g. quick delivery; guarantee or warranty
offered; free disposal of your old bed; special offers; or even just the chemistry
between yourself and the salesman.
Buy it now. If you need a new mattress NOW most retailers keep a limited stock of mattresses for same or next day delivery. A recent development has been the introduction
of vacuum packing and rolling which enables suppliers to compress foam (and some spring) mattresses into compact, portable rolls ups. Usually packed in a smart kit or zip bag, they are literally ‘takeaway’.

Buying that bed

You spend a third of your life in bed, so it’s vital that you make the right choice.
Shop smarter by following these helpful tips:
• Try, try and try it again! There is no substitute for lying on mattresses when selecting the right one for you. You wouldn’t buy a new car without taking it for a test drive first – and you’ll be spending even more time in your bed! So wear comfortable clothes, remove your coat and shoes and lie on the bed for quite a long time – at least 10 minutes (preferably more). Adopt your normal sleeping position and lie on your side as well as your back.
• Always shop together if the bed’s for two, to ensure you are both happy with your choice.
• Set aside enough time to do the job properly. Don’t shop when you’re tired or rushed – you run the risk that the beds will all feel wonderful.
• Correct support depends on your weight, height, build and even preferred sleeping position. Ideally the mattress should mould to the shape of your body while remaining supportive. When you lie on your side your spine should be horizontal.

You should be able to turn fairly easily. As a general rule, the heavier you are, the firmer the tension you will need. You don’t necessarily need a hard bed if you have a bad back
• Comfort is very subjective. Some people like the sensation of being cocooned in a bed; others prefer to lie on top of them. Back sleepers may like a firmer feel than people who sleep on their sides. There are lots of different ‘feels’ around – you can choose what works best for you.
• Most manufacturers will offer mattresses in firm, medium and soft options. Try different options to be sure which is best for you. Remember there is no industry wide standard to
compare firmness ratings from one manufacturer to the other.
• For partners of widely differing size and weight (3 stones/18kgs or more), different mattresses may be required. Some manufacturers make double beds from two single mattresses zipped together, which can be of differing tension. Others can
combine different degrees of firmness in one mattress.

Top Tip A good way to check if the bed you are lying on is too soft, too hard, or just right is to lie on your back, and slide your hand in the hollow of your back. If it slides in too easily, the bed may be too hard for you (leading to pressure on your hips and shoulders); if it’s a struggle to slide your hand in, then the bed is probably too soft. If you can move your hand
with just a little resistance, the bed may be just right for you. Another useful test is to pop a set of keys behind your back. You shouldn’t be able to feel them!

Buying Online?
Shopping online has become a part of our everyday lives and it’s certainly here to stay. It’s often more convenient than shopping on your local high street, easier to compare prices and you may also find some products online which are not available in the shops.

However make sure you check delivery costs as online retailers can have different rules on returning goods so establish their terms and conditions before starting your shopping.
If you are going to buy a bed online, then here’s our top tips for shopping securely online:
• Choose reputable shopping sites like us.
• Check the website has full contact details, phone numbers etc.
• Ensure you are satisfied that the product descriptions you are given are true and accurate – you can’t look inside a mattress!
• Is there any indication of country of origin?
• Ensure the website is secure before entering payment details.
• Check sellers’ privacy policy and returns policy.
• Buying a mattress online may be cheaper and more convenient but there are drawbacks to not being able to see and touch items.
•Remember a really cheap offer is cheap for a reason and you might not get what you bargained for!

Sleep on this…

Mattresses may look similar, but the differences within are vast. This blog gives a brief guide to some of the main options.

From the outside

The first thing you’ll notice about a mattress is its cover –known in the trade as ticking. Manufacturers spend a lot of time choosing attractive colours and designs so their mattresses will look good – but remember that 99% of the time it will be covered up with bed clothes!

The ticking is not just there for its good looks: it also needs to be tough and tear resistant. Better quality cloths are woven or knitted in high quality viscose or cotton yarns. Cheaper
cloths in polyester or polypropylene are often printed. At the budget end of the market are bonded or stitchbond fabrics and some cheaper knits.

Ticking with special qualities is now also increasingly being used by mattress manufacturers. Some of the options include antidust mite/anti-allergy, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-static, breathable, water resistant, stain resistant, highly absorbent,
naturally fire retardant etc.

But one of the most popular options are tickings that offer effective thermal regulation through moisture wicking and evaporation technology. There are now quite a few companies offering performance fabrics that move perspiration away from the body and through the fabric where it can evaporate quickly allowing you to feel cooler and more comfortable.

Quilting or tufting
Most mattresses are finished by either quilting or tufting. Quilting is a decorative effect
attaching the outer fabric to the surface fillings; these mattresses tend to have a
smoother, flatter surface.

Tufting – where tapes are passed right through the mattress at regular intervals
and secured each side by tags or washers – prevents loose fillings from being dislodged.
The side panels of some higher quality mattresses, particularly traditionally pocket sprung mattresses, are hand side stitched. This traditional skill and lengthy process improves mattress edge support and extends the sleeping area to the very edge of the mattress.

Inside a mattress
There are essentially two main types of mattress construction – those with and those without springs.

SPRING INTERIOR MATTRESSES
The majority of mattresses in the UK have spring interiors, which provide the ‘core’ support. Changing the spring construction, thickness (gauge) of the wire, the number of coils, height of each spring and the quantity alters the tension, feel and weight distribution properties of each mattress.

Spring interior mattresses can be ‘zoned’ – across the middle to give extra support for heavier hips and shoulders; half and half, to provide different tensions on each side of the bed; or round the edge of the mattress to give it extra rigidity. Different tensions can be achieved within the same mattress. Some units also allow the user to adjust the mattress tension themselves.

There are three main types of spring interiors:
Open coil or open sprung

  • Most widely used option, also known as the Bonnell spring.
  • Springs are arranged in rows and connected to one another, top and bottom, by a spiral helical wire with an outer rod strengthening the perimeter.
  • There are usually a minimum of 325 coils in a 5ft/150cm size – but some mattresses may have more.
  • Come in a choice of tensions, starting from a very firm 12.5 gauge wire.
  • Priced from budget to mid range

Continuous spring

  • The continuous spring unit is made from a single length of wire ‘knitted’ into a series of interwoven springs which usually run up and down the bed and are linked vertically rather than horizontally.
  • The gauge of wires used is softer and the size of the ‘coils’ smaller than open coil, giving a higher spring count and a more responsive feel.
  • Priced from mid market to premium.

Pocket spring

  • Small, softer springs that work independently from each other.
  • Conforms and adjusts to body contours.
  • Helps eliminate roll together.
  • Spring counts typically vary from 600-800 up to 2,500 but can go up to 3 or even 4,000. Like other types they are made in a range of tensions.
  • Often more expensive and used mainly in higher quality products.
  • Better quality pocket springs are encased in calico pockets, hand nested in a honeycomb pattern and hand centre tied with linen cord.
  • Less expensive pocket springs are encased in fibretex or stitchbond fabrics and are lightly glued together in linear rows.

A relatively new development in spring is the extra low profile, mini spring – which can have a height under 3cm (1in). These units offer an alternative to fillings in providing a highly resilient comfort layer. They can also be stacked together to form a very soft, high
spring count mattress core.

Fillings
Interior sprung mattresses use a wide variety of fillings to create different properties and comfort options, as well as affecting price. Fillings are chosen for their resilience, durability, flexibility and ability to absorb body moisture. In cheaper mattresses,
fillings usually come in compact pads; in better quality models, layers of loose fillings in greater volumes are often preferred.

FILLING & THEIR FUNCTION

Cotton – Often used near the surface for its soft feel and its ability to breathe, and to absorb moisture.
Wool – Naturally resilient fibre, creating a luxurious feel with good fire retardancy properties, it is also breathable.
Foam – Different types of foam are used for their cushioning effect. They include latex, polyurethane and visco-elastic (memory foam).
Polyester – A synthetic material with good recovery properties.
Hair Highly resilient fibre, often described as “nature’s spring”. – Available in pads or loose for high luxury.
Coir fibre – Made from coconut fibre are generally used pads next to the spring to insulate and prevent the spring being felt or penetrating.

Alternatives include compressed wool or synthetic pads. Silk, Used for additional luxury and insulation properties. cashmere, mohair and other fine, natural fibres

NON SPRUNG MATTRESSES
There are four main types: foam, gel, floatation and futons.

Foam
Most foam mattresses are made from layers of different densities of foam. By varying their density and depth, it’s possible to achieve different levels of comfort and support. They are particularly suitable for use with slatted bases and adjustable beds.

There are three main types of foam in use:

Latex

  • A premium quality material, the natural type is derived from the sap of the rubber tree.
  • Has a distinctive, resilient feel, is very durable and has anti-microbial properties that offer benefits to many allergy sufferers.
  • Its natural elasticity means it recovers its shape immediately when pressure is removed.
  • It also has very good point elasticity resulting in even distribution of pressure for independent support.

Visco elastic/Memory foam

  • Responds to individual shape and pressure.
  • Has good pressure relieving properties.
  • Available in a variety of qualities and densities.

Polyurethane (PU) foam

  • A synthetic, petroleum based foam with performance and price varying according to density and quality.
  • It is widely used and very versatile.

Gel

  • A new filling that is taking the bed market by storm.
  • Can be combined with other materials eg foam.
  • Ground-breaking technology known for its cooling thermo -regulating properties.
  • Delivers benefits such as breathability, pressure relief and body support.

Floatation beds

  • Support is determined by the amount of water used and the level of motion can also be varied.
  • Known for their pressure free support and also good for allergy sufferers.
  • Variable temperature heaters keep the bed warm and cosy.

Futons

  • Made from layers of cotton or fibre wadding, which moulds itself to the shape of the body.
  • In Japan they are used on the floor with a mat underneath and rolled away during the day.
  • In the UK, they are more often sold as budget priced sofa beds with slatted convertible frames.

Bed bases explained

Most mattresses are used in combination with one of various choices of bed base such as divans, bedsteads, adjustable beds and bunk beds. Remember to ensure that mattress and base are suitable for use together, especially if you are buying them separately.

  • Divans
    Divans are still the most popular style of base in the UK. They are essentially an upholstered box, fitted with castors for mobility or on legs to create space beneath. These days there are many beautifully tailored and upholstered bases with
    matching headboards offered in a range of colours and fabrics.
    There are three main types of divan:
  • Sprung edge divans are the most luxurious option and feature a complete open coil or pocket spring unit mounted on a frame which acts like a giant shock absorber, increasing the mattress’s durability.
  • Solid or platform top divans have a rigid, non-sprung top panel, often made from hardboard. Beds with these bases are generally firmer, as well as cheaper than beds with sprung bases.
  • Firm edge divans generally feature a smaller number of larger, heavy duty springs within a rigid, wooden sided frame. A divan is useful if you’re tight on space as most are available with drawers or lift-up storage, known as ottomans. Storage need not affect the comfort or quality of the bed – but it does cost a little more.
  1. Slatted bases
    Slatted bases are mostly used with bedsteads. These can be either rigid (with no give) or flexible. Flexible slats are made from laminated soft woods mounted in a frame creating a modest level of springiness from their bowed shape. The tension of some slats can be adjusted to suit individual requirements. The space between slats
    on most, cheaper, rigid bases is usually wider than on flexible slatted models
    but it is advisable to ensure the gap is no greater than 7.5cm (3 inches). Wear and
    tear on a mattress will be greater the wider the gaps. Most manufacturers make their own recommendations for slat spacing to suit their own mattresses so check these before buying as they do vary.Bedsteads
  2. Bedsteads come in a vast array of styles from traditional classics to more modern designs and are available in wood, metal, plastics, upholstered or any combination of these. Your choice will largely be an aesthetic one but bear in mind mattress support. This could be fixed or sprung slats or a metal grid or rigid woven wire. It is also possible to have a fully sprung bed base (with the same benefits as a divan) inside. A number of manufacturers make these to order. Always make sure you try mattresses on the type of base your chosen bedstead has. As many bedsteads are imported or antique they may not conform to current UK standard sizes so take care to ensure your mattress and bedstead are the same size!
  3. Adjustable Bases – Adjustable beds are becoming increasingly popular as the bedroom evolves into a multi-functional space. As well as reading or having breakfast in bed, people now watch TV from their beds and spend time on their laptops and mobile devices (although we don’t recommend this if you’re a poor sleeper!). Of course, adjustable beds still offer many benefits for a range of medical complaints requiring a raised sleeping position or raised legs or aid getting in and out of bed. Styling choices range from a traditional divan look right through to contemporary bedstead designs. Some even incorporate massage units as an optional extra. Available as single beds or as doubles with individually adjustable halves, these beds either feature flexible laminated slats or fully sprung upholstered sections. Some models have five or more individually adjusting sections – for neck, head, upper body legs and feet; other models might just adjust the head and feet; or even just the upper body. Some models are designed to slide backwards as the head end comes up, thus keeping you in more convenient contact with your bedside table! Others fit side table which can be moved along side rails. Mattresses are specially made for adjustable beds so ideally the base and mattress should be bought together. It’s a good idea to make sure that any electrical parts are separately guaranteed and fully compatible with UK systems.
  4. Bunk Beds – Bunk beds and cabin beds are a popular option for parents and children. They are fun as well as practical and space-saving.
  5. Headboards – Headboards have grown in popularity and can create a focal point in any bedroom. They are usually an optional extra to give you more choice but these days often coordinate with the divan base. Like most things in the bedroom, your headboard acts as a style statement and will be a dominant feature, so it’s worth doing a bit of research before you buy one. You should think what fabric you like, whether you want a simple rectangular design or a more lavish padded design and how the colour choice or pattern will blend in with the rest of the room. All of the different materials and designs have their own merits. For example, upholstered headboards give you more comfort where wooden headboards can give you sturdiness.

Pillow Talk

If you suffer with neck and shoulder pain, you may find your pillow’s the culprit. They come in a range of different shapes and sizes, including pre-shaped ones that support your head and neck, as well as a choice of fillings – goosedown, duckdown, feather,
fibre filled, and visco-elastic, latex or polyurethane foam – and any number of combinations of these.

Here’s what to look for:
• A good one should hold your head in the correct alignment – that is, in the same relation
to your shoulders and spine as if you were standing upright with the correct posture – and be tucked well into the neck and shoulder to support your head fully.
• The thickness and number you need depends on your body shape and your preferred sleeping position. You will need a thicker pillow (or two thinner ones) if you sleep on your side rather than if you sleep on your back.
• It is a good idea to invest in quality pillows and replace them at least every two or three years. When they have lost their ‘loft’ (height) and become lumpy, discoloured or misshapen they should be replaced.

To top it off

Overlays and toppers are mostly used to soften the feel of a mattress, by adding extra layers of cushioning. Generally nonsprung, they may be made of a variety of materials – polyester fibre, latex, visco-elastic or other foams or even feathers. The choice is entirely subjective. Toppers are not a substitute for correct support – you’ll need a mattress of the right tension. Nor are they a substitute for replacing an old, worn out bed – any impression of improved comfort will probably be short lived. Some modern mattresses styles include a fixed topper – often on styles which have been designed to eliminate the need for turning.

An old, unwashed pillow could also contain as much as 10% of its weight in skin scale,
mould, dead and living dust mites and their allergen laden droppings!

Caring for your bed/mattress

However, like most new products, useful life-span depends on the amount of tender loving care the bed receives throughout its life.

  • Do not bend or roll your new mattress. It will permanently damage the spring unit and invalidate any warranties or guarantees.
  • Let the mattress breathe. Like a new car, a new bed may initially have a ‘new’ smell about it. This will eventually disperse if well aired.
  • Turn your mattress regularly. Unless you have bought a nonturn (which has been specifically designed not be turned but must still be rotated), it is important that you turn your mattress from end to end and side to side every week for the first few months and thereafter about every three months. This will prolong the life-span of your mattress and minimise impression marks.
  • Body shaped impressions are normal. Impression marks – sometimes known as settlement – are a normal characteristic of quality mattresses working as intended to conform to the shape of your body. These will be minimised with regular turning.
  • Getting used to your new bed. Your body will take a while to adjust to sleeping on a new surface, so don’t worry if your new bed doesn’t immediately meet your expectations. Give it time – it could take a few weeks.
  • Use a washable mattress and pillow protector to prolong the life of the mattress and pillow.

Your questions answered

What sort of bed should I choose if I have a bad back?
For a long time, it was believed that a hard bed was good for a bad back. Nowadays it’s generally accepted that this is not necessarily the case – and could in fact cause more damage. A supportive and comfortable mattress is the best option – it doesn’t matter what type of construction it is. Any reference to beds being orthopaedic – or similar medical sounding terms – does not automatically mean that the bed has been professionally assessed or recommended – it is a term loosely used by manufacturers to refer to extra firm models in their range.

What sort of bed is best for asthma sufferers or other types of allergy?
Almost all beds will, in time, attract house dust mites, whose droppings are highly allergenic. Regular cleaning, airing and the use of protective covers will reduce the effect. Some manufacturers are now using anti-dust mite treated fabrics for tickings. Always check details of construction and materials if you suffer from any other allergies. Manufacturers will be able to supply you with details.

Are foam mattresses hot?
Mattresses don’t create the heat and people can get hot on beds of all constructions – and remember that age, health and medications can all affect your body’s heat control mechanisms. But foam is a good insulator and the higher the density (i.e. the better the quality) the greater the potential heat retention. Manufacturers are coming up with various novel solutions for climate control – from the cellular construction or the
composition of the foam itself to aid breathability; to specially constructed ventilation layers; special springs to enhance air circulation; to warm sides and cool sides; to covers with the sort of technology you see in high performance clothing: fast drying and capable of allowing moisture to evaporate quickly.

Why are two similar mattresses so widely different in price?
Chances are they are not as similar as they seem. They might both claim to be predominantly of the same construction – but further investigation will probably reveal different material qualities; densities; amounts; etc. If you want to comparative
shop you will need quite a lot of detail to make sure you are comparing like for like.

What should I pay for a good mattress?
Prices for beds range from well under £100 to several thousands. As a general rule you get what you pay for. Remember that every £100 you spend on a new bed, actually represents an investment of just 2.7p a night (assuming a lifespan of seven years). A bargain bed is no bargain if you don’t sleep well in it.

Which is better – tufted or quilted?
Better quality tufts are well protected by wool or felt pompoms but some more sensitive people may be more aware of them than others. A good mattress protector can help. Otherwise, choose a quilted style instead.

Will I notice any difference between rigid and flexible slats?
Not only are they likely to feel different – rigid slats will give a bed a firmer feel – but they will affect the durability of the mattress – rigid slats have no give and work against the
mattress, leaving it to do all the work; sprung slats work with the mattress and will prolong its life and improve comfort levels.

My mattress is not the same size as the base?
There could be two reasons for this. You may not have bought the same size mattress as base. There are so many different sizes on the market these days, it is important to check actual dimensions, in the same scale (metric or imperial) to be sure of a size match. Don’t go by names alone – one shop’s king size may not be the same another’s! The other reason might be because of the construction. In transit or storage, mattress springs can sometimes nestle into each other temporarily reducing with the length or width. During use, the mattress should recover its original dimension. The effect is likely to be more pronounced if the spring unit does not have a perimeter frame or the mattress is not fully hand side stitched – ideally a mattress should have one or the other feature to ensure it keeps its shape.

Useful Contacts

Allergy UK
Planwell House, LEFA Business Park, Edington Way, Sidcup, Kent DA14 5BH
Allergy Helpline: 01322 619898
www.allergyuk.org
email: info@allergyuk.org

BackCare
The Charity for Healthier Backs – 16 Elmtree Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 8ST
Helpline: 0845 130 2704
www.backcare.org.uk
email: info@backcare.org.uk

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
14 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4ED
020 7306 6666
www.csp.org.uk
email: enquiries@csp.org.uk

The Furniture Ombudsman
Maxwell Road, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2EW
0845 653 2064
www.thefurnitureombudsman.org
email: info@thefurnitureombudsman.org

Osteopathic Information Service
General Osteopathic Council, Osteopathy House, 176 Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 3LU
020 7357 6655
www.osteopathy.org.uk
email: info@osteopathy.org.uk

The Sleep Council
High Corn Mill, Chapel Hill, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 1NL
Freephone leaflet line: 0800 018 7923
www.sleepcouncil.org.uk
email: info@sleepcouncil.org.uk

Blind Safety

Blind Safety Guide

There are child safe alternatives for every blind style available so always consider these first when looking for your new blinds.

Blinds can now be simply moved into position by hand with spring assisted operation.Wands can be used to operate vertical blinds and Venetian blinds to open and close the blinds and tilt the slats. Motorisation offers child safe operation and ease of use, with some linking to home automation and smartphones and tablets.

Some window sizes or shapes may not lend themselves to cordless window blinds or you may specifically wish to co-ordinate with your existing blinds – if this is the case there are still safe options:

In-built safety systems

In-built safety systems are those that are built into the product and so do not require additional installation or operation in use. These include chain break connectors where the chain is designed to separate under any undue pressure. Breakaway tassels at the bottom of cords work in the same way.

Separate safety systems

Separate safety systems are those that require additional installation or operation in use. If cordless options or those with in-built safety devices are not suitable for your specific situation, then the only safe alternative is to use a blind with a separate safety device such as a tensioning device on a chain loop or an accumulation device such as a cleat so the cord can be stored out of reach of children. Make sure the device is securely fitted and always used.

If you already have blinds installed and without safety devices fitted what this video on how to make your existing blinds safer.

Blinds

Easy guide to accurately measuring for our blinds

Option 1 – Fitting the blind inside a recess

Measure inside the recess at the top (A) the
position as to where you want your blind to
fit. Then at the bottom (B) in several places
recording the smallest measurement. This
will allow for obstacles such as dado rails
and protruding tiles.
• Measure inside drop in several places (C),
again recording the smallest measurement.
• Upon receiving these sizes, we will make the
necessary allowances to ensure a snug
fit. Measuring and ordering window
blinds in this method is termed as “Recess
Size”.

Option 2 – Fitting a blind outside a recess

If you would like your blinds to hang on the
outside of your window recess, you will need to
decide on the finished size that you prefer. We
suggest that a blind should project at least
75mm over the whole recess e.g. 37.5mm on
either side.
• Measure and record the finished width
and drop that you require including
the additional 75mm minimum.
• This method can also be used for measuring
for Curtains when there isn’t a curtain pole
/ track already fitted.
• Upon receiving these sizes, we will make
your blinds exactly to it. Measuring
and ordering window blinds in this
method is termed as “Blind Size”.

Option 3 – Covering windows on doors

If you would like a Roller Blind to cover a door
with a window within it, for example a kitchen
or conservatory door, then an ‘exact’ fabric width
is required (A).
• Measure and record the finished fabric
width and drop that you require
including any additional fabric overlap of
the glass that you desire.
• Note: You must allow an extra 36mm of width
beyond your fabric size to accommodate
the Roller Blind controls and brackets (B)
(18mm either side). Most door frames have
enough width to be able to allow for this.
• Upon receiving these sizes, we will make
your blinds exactly to it. Measuring
and ordering Roller Blinds in this
method is termed as “Cloth Width Size”.

Snoring Husband

Are separate beds the secret to a successful relationship?

Whether it’s snoring, conflicting bedtime routines or different sleeping preferences, sharing a bed can give rise to all sorts of problems. There has been plenty of research to suggest that many couples are not happy sleeping in the same bed, with around 50 per cent of sleep disturbances reported to be caused by partners. Over time, these constant night time niggles can have a negative effect on your relationship and individual health. So, could separate beds the secret to a successful relationship? Here’s a closer look at some of most common reasons why couples seek alternative sleeping spaces – and alternative suggestions on how to tackle these problems.

Snoring

Snoring is one of the most common gripes among those sharing a bed. If you or your partner snores regularly, sleeping separately may seem like the best option if you want to get a full night’s rest and maintain a healthy relationship. However, you may not have to assign yourself to different beds just yet. There are a variety of anti-snoring devices which may be worth trying first, such as mouth guards and nasal strips that are designed to stop the airways from being blocked and reduce the noise caused by snoring. Many couples also find that using ear plugs or white noise machines can drown out the sound of snoring and help them enjoy a more peaceful slumber. Snoring could also be a sign of a more serious medical condition, such as sleep apnoea, which will need treating by a medical professional.

A lack of space

Another common problem for sleeping couples is not having enough space. If your other half shifts their position or stretches out during the night, it can affect your ability to fall into a deep sleep, especially if you are woken up easily. Lying too close to someone else can also cause your body to overheat and reduce your quality of sleep. If you find yourself tossing and turning until the early hours and wake up feeling exhausted and irritable, it might be time for a change. While having two beds is one solution, if you want to retain the intimacy of sleeping together, you may want to consider investing in a bigger bed. Most couples find that a king size bed is spacious enough for them to rest comfortably without being disturbed by their partner during the night. You’ll be surprised at how much more refreshed and energised you’ll feel the following day by simply upgrading from a double to a king size.

Different night time preferences

One of you prefers to be warm and curl up under the duvet, while the other likes to stay cool with a light cover at night. Sound familiar? We all have our own preferences when it comes to how we sleep, and while these differences may cause you to opt for separate beds, there are a variety of other ways to accommodate both of your needs while still sharing bed. For example, having individual duvets and blankets is a great option as it can allow you to keep your preferred sleeping style and have more control over your temperature. It can also help to prevent any irksome duvet-hogging that can keep you awake at night.

Buying the right mattress

If you and your other half are suffering from countless restless nights, it could be that your mattress is to blame. There are some mattresses that are better suited to couples than others and can solve a variety of sleep incompatibility issues. For example, memory foam versions are a popular choice, as these products mould to the shape of your body and move with you to reduce the chances that your partner will wake you up. Try to avoid open coil or continuous coil versions, as the springs move together and make it more likely that you will feel body movements during the night.

Bedtime schedules and lifestyle choices

Conflicting bedtime schedules and lifestyle choices can easily knock people’s sleeping patterns out of sync and put added strain on their relationships, leading many couples to choose different bedrooms. For example, perhaps one of you is an early bird who likes to turn the lights off as soon as you hit the pillow, while the other is a night owl who likes to stay up and read. However, there are simple things you can do to solve these problems, such as wearing an eye mask or establishing a bedtime routine that causes minimal disturbance to each other. If this fails, there are other options you can try, such as double adjustable beds. These beds are designed to allow you to control each side of the bed separately and can be manoeuvred into a range of different positions. This means that while one of you can be sitting up reading in bed, the other can be lying down sleeping, allowing you to continue with your routines while remaining side by side.

So, are separate beds a good idea?

For many couples, having separate beds can help them to enjoy a more peaceful night’s sleep, improve their health and make them happier in their relationship. However, it can also have negative effects and reduce intimacy. It’s worth bearing in mind that a study by The Sleep Council found that 82 per cent of couples who reported to have slept well shared a bed. Many couples also find that having a double bed helps to improve romance and strengthen their bond as a couple. With that in mind, it may be worth making some simple changes to your bedtime routine and habits before making the switch to separate beds.

By trying out some of the practical suggestions listed above, you might be able to overcome the trials and tribulations that come with sharing a bed and ensure that both of you get the rest you need to maintain a happy and successful relationship. Whichever way you try to bring harmony back to the bedroom, what is important is that you and your partner achieve a sound night’s sleep on a regular basis.