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.
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.
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.
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.
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 TipA 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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
• 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”.
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 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.
The best adjustable beds don’t just help alleviate your back pain, or manage other medical conditions – they can significantly improve your lifestyle. The problem is knowing what adjustable bed to buy.
Step 1: What type of adjustable bed do I need?
Before you start to think about the added features you might like with your adjustable bed, you need to consider which type is best suited to your needs. Generally, adjustable beds can be divided into two categories: lifestyle and profiling.
Lifestyle beds usually just have a moveable function at the head end, making things such as watching television or reading more comfortable. However, they are unlikely to offer different sleeping positions or adjustable height options. As a result, this type of bed is more suited to people who want an adjustable bed for comfort and luxury, rather than to help with health conditions.
Profiling – or ‘variable posture’ – beds offer greater flexibility and increased postural support, with a variety of positions and features available. Although some can be adjusted manually, typically adjustable beds for the home are adjusted electronically via a handset – so you can make adjustments even while in the bed.
Step 2: What size adjustable bed is best?
It may be obvious, but one of the first things to consider is how big you require your adjustable bed to be.Larger beds, for example, are often more comfortable and obviously give you more space – but you need to measure the space you have available first. Bed sizes are not standardised for adjustable beds, however, so the size can vary between suppliers.
Height is just as important as width and length
Width and length are obvious measurements to take for any piece of furniture, but it’s also vital that you think about the how tall the bed needs to be. Making sure it’s at the right level for you to get in and out of bed with ease can make a huge difference to your lifestyle. Adding a few inches to the height of your adjustable bed could easily stifle that early morning groan as you have to push yourself up and out of bed – making mornings that little bit easier. If this is something you’re looking for, then make sure you choose a bed that can alter its height too.
Are you sleeping alone, or with a partner?
Many assume that having an adjustable bed is a solitary experience because it’s designed to suit your specific needs. But the options available are actually very flexible – with options such as a split or ‘dual’ mattress meaning you can enjoy the benefits of adjusting your side of the bed without disturbing your partner.
Single bed – good for carers to reach you and often the cheapest option
Double bed – if you prefer sleeping with more space
Split or ‘dual’ — two mattresses independently controlled but built in one frame. Designed to let the users independently adjust how they sleep throughout the night without disturbing their partner
Two singles hooked together
Pay attention to weight limits
Do you require a bed that is sturdier than traditional ones? Many adjustable beds can be built to support and lift heavier loads. Our beds typically take weights up to 28 stone as standard.
Step 3: What added features are you looking for?
Once you’ve decided on the size and specification of your bed, it’s well worth looking into what features are available. This will enable you to get the most value from your bed by tailoring it to your needs.
As the bed adjusts and moves higher, the mattress glides back (towards the wall) so the head of the bed always stays in convenient contact with your bedside table. Also known as ‘wall hugging’ because the frame of the bed can sit right against the bedroom wall even as the bed adjusts.
Massage and heat pad technology
Adjustable beds can now be packed full of innovative technology for a relaxing and invigorating night’s sleep. They can even provide medical benefits, such as to aid pain relief and reduce swelling through massage and heat pad technology. Some of these adjustable beds may even classify as Class IIa medical devices.
Battery back-up system
Most electric adjustable beds rely on mains power to power their adjustable functionality. Operated via a handset, this makes them highly convenient and stops you having to get out of bed to make any adjustments – providing you don’t suffer a power cut. A battery back-up system provides you with many hours of functionality in the event of a power cut, saving you hassle and stress.
Most electric adjustable beds rely on mains power to power their adjustable functionality. Operated via a handset, this makes them highly convenient and stops you having to get out of bed to make any adjustments – providing you don’t suffer a power cut. A battery back-up system provides you with many hours of functionality in the event of a power cut, saving you hassle and stress.
Step 4: Does an adjustable bed need a special mattress?
The nature of an adjustable frame means you will need a special mattress for an adjustable bed. This is because most mattresses have different zonal structures that correspond with the bed’s adjusting zones to enable free movement and prevent damage to the mattress. There is a lot of variety, however, including foam, pocket sprung, firm, medium and soft.
Where can I buy a mattress for an adjustable bed?
Usually sold separately to the frame, the best mattress for an adjustable bed is usually one from the same retailer as the bed. The manufacturer will recommend the most appropriate mattress for your purchase, but most are size and type compatible. We recommend pairing our adjustable beds with one of our Airflow® Orthopaedic Mattresses to maximise your comfort.
Step 5: What styles and designs are available?
Although the functionality of your bed should always come first, it’s also important to consider the look and feel of your adjustable bed. Once you’re happy that it meets your needs, what headboard and décor options are available? Will the provider provide swatches to help you decide?
The comfort and health benefits of an adjustable bed have pushed manufacturers to revamp the traditional look. Our adjustable beds are available in styles that will blend into any room’s décor – with a wide selection of luxury fabrics, woods, headboards and storage designs to suit your tastes.
Are there choices of headboards available for my adjustable bed?
Since we build each of our adjustable beds specifically for you, you’re free to choose a headboard that suits you. Currently we have 8 headboard design options available, with a selection of fabric covers to choose from too.
Step 6: How to buy an adjustable bed
When you’ve chosen the size, specification and features that you want, the next step vis to look at actually buying your adjustable bed. You should think of this as a long-term investment that will guarantee comfort, and last you many years.
How do I know I’m getting quality?
The first thing to look for is a reputable supplier, to instil some confidence that the investment will last and perform as it should. This is easy to identify through a number of approval schemes, such as Trading Standards Approved (TSI), British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) and National Bed Federation (NBF). These ensure that companies comply with a code of practice and meet stringent standards.
Look out for these logos to identify reputable companies:
Bear in mind that higher quality materials and added features do often increase the cost. However simple adjustable beds are still just as popular for their practicality and value.
Look for accreditations for ‘medically certified’ products
Make sure you look out for accreditation marks that indicate that these products have been fully tested for safety and quality. These include Class IIa certification, regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA), and CE marks.
Step 7: Where to buy your adjustable bed
There are a number of options worth investigating when it comes to deciding where to buy your adjustable bed. We recommend shopping around and exploring all the options available. Remember that this is about finding the right bed to suit your needs, improve your lifestyle, and fit within your budget.
Buying from a high street store is an option you might be more familiar with. You’ll be able to see different brands and easily compare prices. It will also allow you to ‘try before you buy’. However, most high street stores will also not be able to offer built-in specialist technology like our Cyclo-Therapy massage technology to help alleviate back pain or improve circulation.
Whether you have family who live in a different part of the country, children who often have friends to stay or just want the occasional spare sleeping space for friends it is important to find the right bed for your individual needs.
Guest beds come in many forms so before you buy it’s best to consider the following check list:
How often and for how long will your guest bed be used?
Who it will mostly be used for – adults or children or both?
How much space do you have for a guest bed?
How does a guest bed fits within your room décorIs your guest room also going to be use for other purposes?
What quality of mattress are you wanting?
Remember the mattress or sleeping surface is the most important part of the bed, the more you are able to invest the better your guest stay is likely to be.
Finally don’t forget to consider the additional bedding and duvet you will require for your guest bed.
What type of guest beds are available?
With many different options available we have summarised the main options below:
Wooden Guest Bed Frames
These are a very popular option due to their versatility. The under bed can be rolled out and used as separate stand alone bed or the bed can be put next to the single bed and raised to the same height to effectively form a super king size bed. Often both beds will have full size 3’0 mattresses, therefore you will need to have a reasonable amount of space to work with)
These are similar in style to the above bed however the underbed simply roles out it does not raise up to the same height as the main bed. Our Portland bed is an example of this style bed. Quite often the under bed mattress will be a little smaller than the main mattress this style of bed can be good for sleepovers.
Divan Guest Beds
Divan Guest beds are available in a wide range of different colour options and have the added advantage that you can choose a headboard design that suits your design scheme.
Day beds are a versatile solution that may work well in instances where you may want to use the space as a multi functional room such as office / spare room. Days bed tend to be more visually appealing and are dual purpose, again these styles are typically available in wood, metal and upholstered frames.
If your looking for versatility then a sofa bed could be the perfect option. These can be purchased for as little a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds. The array of options is vast and your sofa bed will depend upon the size of your space, fabric option, the type of mechanism and the style that you are looking for.
Three Sleeper Bunk Beds
Not quite a guest bed but worthy of note is that if space allows there are bunk beds which have a double with single overhead. This would be a great way of having versatile sleeping space on a permanent basis, for more regular extended family visits. In addition children’s High Sleeper beds can be purchased with futon options at ground level as another guest option.
Also known as electric recliners or mobility chairs, riser recliner chairs seamlessly move into various positions to offer extra support – particularly if you have trouble getting in and out of standard chairs. But what should you look for when buying a riser recliner chair to make sure it’s the one for you?
How to choose a riser recliner chair
There are a few things that you’ll want to consider before you buy your riser recliner, such as space requirements and comfort. To get the best from your recliner chair, make sure you get one that meets all your needs.
What size riser recliner chair do you need?
Riser recliners are available in various sizes, providing comfort for you and your partner. Make sure you are correctly measured before investing in a riser recliner chair, as it’s important that you have the correct support behind your knees, back and neck, while your feet should also comfortably touch the floor.
This is why it is so important to buy a riser recliner chair that is bespoke to your needs and contours to your body. There’s no point buying a chair that is too big or small for you, after all.
Have a think about what space you have in the room too, as the chair will need space to fully recline. The riser recliner chair will also need a source of electricity, so think about where the nearest socket is and the safest way to plug it in.
What styles and designs do you want?
Many suppliers of riser recliner chairs allow you to choose the style of your chair, including the fabric and pattern – meaning you can tailor these to your personal taste. Check if your provider offers swatches to help you decide and think about which fabrics work best in your home.
Whether you are looking for a traditional or modern design, we have over 30 different upholsteries in a range of colours and styles for you to choose. From simple looks to fabric or leather, with more detailed designs and matching stools available for added comfort.
What features are available for your riser recliner chair?
When you buy a riser recliner chair there may be additional extras that you can have built in. These can be anything from head supports to unique built-in technology for added comfort. It’s well worth thinking about what features you’d like and exploring what features your provider has to offer.
How to find the best riser recliner chair
A riser recliner chair is an excellent investment that will help you over time, so make sure you’re buying a good quality product that will last. To know that you are getting quality, buy your chair from a reputable supplier who meets trading standards. Look for a company that is associated with Trading Standards Approved (TSI) and British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA), as they will comply with a strict code of practice.
Look out for these logos to identify reputable companies:
Buying a riser recliner chair
To get yourself the best quality chair, make sure you look out for accreditation marks, indicating that these products have been fully tested for safety and quality.
These include Class IIa certification, CE marks that guarantee the supplier is regulated, and confirmation that the riser recliner chair you are buying is Trading Standards Approved.
Should you buy a riser recliner chair in a high street shop?
Buying from a high street mobility shop may be the first thing you think of when you considered buying. We advise that you do a bit of research into the types of riser recliner you’d like and models you’re interested in.
Going to a store gives you the chance to try out all the different built-in specialist technology and features that your relaxing riser recliner chair can offer.
If you are someone who suffers from back ailments, you will know how debilitating it can be. As well as interfering with daily activities, the condition can also make sleeping more difficult. And it’s an extremely common condition that can affect people of all ages. Usually, the best type of bed for bad backs and back pain is an adjustable bed.
The right bed can make your back feel much better
While most people think that an injury or medical condition is the primary cause of back pain, more often than not it is triggered by poor posture. Sitting, standing or lying in the wrong way can all inflict pain on this group of muscles.
Many beds can actually worsen back problems by placing excessive strain on vulnerable areas. An adjustable orthopedic bed, on the other hand, can help to alleviate a number of medical conditions, such as back pain, and make a real difference to your everyday life.
Finding a bed that provides you with adequate support may be the key to helping you achieve a restful night’s sleep. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways an adjustable bed can help with back pain.
How can an adjustable bed help my back pain?
As the name suggests, an adjustable bed can move into various positions, allowing you to find your optimum sleeping posture that causes the least amount of discomfort. Adjustable beds can also help people who feel more comfortable sleeping in an inclined position, rather than lying flat on a regular mattress.
Sleeping on an incline
Many medical professionals recommend sleeping on an incline to help relieve backache. Especially for people suffering with lower back pain, sleeping on a slight incline with extra support under the knees can help to take the pressure off the spine, making it easier to sleep.
Not only will an upper body incline and elevated knees effectively support the natural curve of the spine, it can also help to stimulate blood circulation and reduce inflammation of damaged tissue. If you sleep on your side, an adjustable bed can keep your spine properly aligned while in this position.
Supporting your back
Many people choose to use pillows to prop up the upper body or place under the knees, but this can cause an uneven amount of support and result in further discomfort in certain parts of the back. What’s more, most people move around while they sleep, meaning that they will often return to an unsupported position during the night. Investing in an adjustable bed offers a more long-term and reliable method of supporting your back while you sleep.
Reducing joint compression
These beds can also offer better support for people with spinal disorders by reducing joint compression, preventing you from feeling sore and stiff when you awake. An adjustable bed can also be helpful for patients who have undergone back surgery, as a flat mattress will often aggravate the problem and cause tension to build in pressure points.
Mobility benefits of an adjustable bed
If your back pain has affected your mobility, getting into and out of bed can be more of a challenge than it should be.
Electrical adjustable beds utilise innovative technology that can help to ease the transition from standing up to lying down – a movement which can be extremely difficult for people with back problems. With this added freedom, you can adjust, recline and raise your head to achieve your desired position, perfect for reading a book or watching TV.
What are the best adjustable beds for bad backs?
The best adjustable beds for bad backs don’t just contour to your body – they also have built-in features to help relieve those aches and pains. Our adjustable beds come with the option to build our revolutionary cyclo-therapy massage technology directly into the bed frame.
With a choice of easy-to-use massage settings, at the touch of a button you can receive a soothing back massage in bed to help you drift off at night. Alternatively, you can choose a higher setting to ease aches and pains if you want to increase your pain threshold and improve mobility issues.
A comfortable mattress can make all the difference too
In addition to a comfortable bed, pairing your adjustable bed with an orthopaedic memory foam mattress for back pain can make all the difference.
Unlike standard mattresses, the high-spring properties of memory foam accepts body weight without applying pressure, providing your back with the added support and cushioning it needs. A mattress that moulds around the shape of your body and spreads weight evenly can help to relax the muscles in your back while improving blood circulation.
Should I get an adjustable bed?
There is no single bed or mattress that will offer effective relief for all people who suffer from back pain. Above all, it’s important to find a sleeping position that offers you the most comfort and the least amount of pain. When it comes to sleeping regimes, it really is a matter of personal preference.
However, there’s no denying that an adjustable bed with various settings will increase your chances of finding a comfortable sleeping position without causing additional strain. While you may require ongoing medical treatment to help with your condition, having an adjustable bed can provide you with the long-term support and comfort you need to get a good night’s rest.
The flooring in your home is so important. You’ll see it immediately when you step through your front door, and it will be the first thing you feel underfoot every morning. You’ll want to make sure you make the right choice.
So, whether you’re considering hardwood floors, carpets throughout or matching wall and floor tiles, here are eight flooring tips to help you on your way.
1. Consider high traffic areas
Certain areas in your home will see a lot of traffic, including the stairs, entrance ways and hallways. Your choice of flooring in these spots should be durable and made to last.
Options include hardwood, good quality carpet such as twist pile, or laminate.
2. Live for that first feel in the morning
You’ll want to step from your bed onto something warm and comforting, making carpet for the bedroom an ideal choice, as it retains heat much better than hardwood for example.
For a spot of luxury and to retain that just-fitted feel, opt for something with a deep pile.
3. Decide on the look you want (and how you’ll keep it)
Once you know the look you want in your home and have a defined budget, your flooring decisions should be fairly straightforward. One thing you’ll always need to consider is that certain floorings will give you the look you want, but they may not retain it.
For example, carpet can stain quite easily, laminate has the potential to scuff, the grout between ceramic tiles attracts dirt and can be difficult to clean and some stone can absorb stains.
4. Scrutinise the costs of fitting and replacement
A stone floor in the kitchen, or hardwood throughout the dining and sitting rooms may both create a fantastic look and feel to the home, but you’ll need to consider the complexity of the fitting.
They are much harder to fit than carpet, laminate or engineered wood. While you should always seek the assistance of professionals to fit any flooring, you’ll need the time and the budget if you go for stone or hardwood.
It’ll also be worth considering the cost involved in removing the flooring once it wears out and comes to the end of its natural life. Generally, the more complex the fitting the harder it will be to remove.
5. Think about more than just the flooring
Whether you want carpet or laminate flooring, you’ll need to ensure it is fitted with a good quality underlay.
This will help the flooring retain its bounce, and make sure it doesn’t have too much pressure against the hard sub-floor, which will cause it to wear much quicker.
Underlay can also work as sound insulation, and a high-quality option could help to reduce the sound of footsteps when used on an upper floor.
6. Evaluate how your needs might change
A beige deep pile carpet in the sitting room and stone in the kitchen might seem like a great choice when you first move in and give you a home you’re proud of.They might not be so practical for little children running around.
Remember, all situations are workable so don’t worry too much at this stage, but it is always worth considering your future home plans when getting the flooring fitted.
7. Investigate compatibility with underfloor heating
If you plan on installing underfloor heating in your home, you’ll need to investigate the compatibility with your chosen flooring.
For example, the most compatible is either stone or ceramic tiles. If you plan on installing carpet as well as underfloor heating, you’ll need to be sure that the combined tog rating of the carpet and the underlay doesn’t exceed 2.5. It’s worthwhile checking with the supplier of the carpet and the heating system.
8. Assess if you can keep it clean
f yours is a household of mess-prone toddlers or excitable pets, you’ll need whatever you choose to stand up to the pressures of daily life. You won’t want to be deep cleaning your carpets constantly, so reflect on whether a stain-resistant and easy-to-clean option might be better suited.
If you conclude a particular type of flooring is going to be too much work to maintain, go for a hard-wearing option like tile or wood.