Proper care will keep your bed in good condition. Always read and retain manufacturers' care instructions and ask your retailer for advice, too. Otherwise, the following tips will help you to get the best out of your bed during its natural life.
Use a washable, protective cover to protect the mattress (and pillows) from stains. Barrier fabrics for allergy sufferers are also available. In the mornings, throw back the bed clothes and leave the bed to air for 20 minutes to allow body moisture to evaporate.
Turning your mattress over from side and side and end to end every few months (every week for the first three months) helps upholstery fillings to settle down more evenly. Some more luxurious mattresses, with much thicker layers of fillings designed to mould themselves to the contours of your body, may retain signs of these impressions, despite turning (some mattresses may be “non turn”).
Don’t make a habit of sitting on the edge of the bed and don’t let the kids bounce on it.
Don’t roll up or squash a mattress to store or transport it - this can cause permanent damage, unless the mattress is designed to do so.
Handles are designed to help you position a mattress on its base - do not use them to support the full weight of the mattress - they may pull out and damage the fabric.
After 10 years, a bed has been subjected to some 30,000 hours of hard labour and may have deteriorated by as much as 70% from its 'as new' state.
You might be surprised to discover just what's changed since you last shopped around. Here's just a few of the key developments and improvements.
The old adage that the harder the bed, the better, has been replaced by the view that it is the correct support (according to an individual's weight and build), coupled with comfort, that's best. The idea is to keep your spine in correct alignment, while the bed moulds itself to your natural body contours. How much surface softness to have is then a matter of personal preference.
Along with the perception that it's OK to luxuriate a little, the pocket spring bed market has mushroomed, with far more choice - and far lower prices! Pocket spring beds tend to feel softer, as they are packed with more upholstery and also feature smaller, lighter springs than a conventional mattress, but far more of them are packed tightly together to give good individual support. With this growth, you can now get pocket spring beds for around half the price of the cheapest option 10 years ago! The latest memory foam type mattresses offer further choice of comfort and are becoming increasingly popular.
Further developments in mattress technology have meant that we can enjoy a bed that is as soft or as hard as we want. It is now possible to buy a mattress that is adjusted to suit both partners, even if their needs and preferences differ: softer on one side and firmer on the other. Other mattresses offer progressive support designed to respond to suit those differing needs equally efficiently
Beds have got fashionable as well as functional. Bedsteads are back with a vengeance with every style imaginable from classic to country to contemporary in both metal and wood, brass and multi-coloured finishes. The choice of mattresses to go with bedsteads has also grown, with a far greater choice of support and comfort than ever before - including pocket spring mattresses, designed specifically for use with a slatted bedstead base. In some cases there's even a choice of bed base in bedsteads, too.
Adjustable beds - once the territory of leaflets in the post office and classified ads in the papers, all geared to the elderly and infirm - and now firmly established as the ultimate luxury bed option for the upwardly mobile. Tony and Cheri Blair simply cemented the re-positioning with their choice of new bed. But perhaps they didn't realise there are now many manufacturers making and selling superb adjustable beds, all readily available through good bed and furniture outlets.
Bigger beds are better - and it's now much easier to get bigger beds than it used to be. The standard 4ft 6in x 6ft 3in (135 x 190cm) may still be the most popular size, but these days over a quarter of us opt for bigger beds and it's now quite common to see 5ft or even 6ft beds on display in the shops. Manufacturers usually now make divan bases in two completely separate halves so larger beds pose few delivery problems. Also more readily available are zip and link options - essentially two single beds which can be joined - or separated - by zip and link mechanisms and offered in different firmness levels. Different specifications are even available in the same mattress.
Modern, more affluent lifestyles demand increasing flexibility in the home and elastic walls for all our possessions: yet new houses don't seem to get any bigger! Fortunately manufacturers have become ever more ingenious at transforming beds into space-saving, multi-functional performers - without compromising on sleep comfort!
Storage drawers can be located even in fully sprung bases, whereas once they were only a feature of a solid, platform top option. Extra beds pop up from under single and double beds; as well as out of sofas, chairs and stools. There are even adult bunk beds ideal for the dual purpose study-cum-spare room.
British beds have become amongst the safest in the world. Since stringent flammability regulations were introduced in the UK in the late 1980s, all beds and the materials used to make them, have had to be resistant to ignition by the equivalent of a smouldering cigarette and a lighted match. Britain's bed manufacturers and their suppliers of foams, fillings and covers have mastered all the hurdles of achieving safety without loss of performance or comfort.
With increasing awareness of health matters (such as the effect on asthma sufferers of dust mites who thrive on the warm moist environment of a bed and eat off our discarded skin scales!) more information is now readily available about the materials used in each bed - so consumers can make an informed choice between, for example, natural or man made options.
Today, there is a huge choice of beds on the market - but the good news is, despite prices ranging from under £299 to over £10,000 for a quality double divan, beds have never been such good value. Strong competition keeps profit margins down , choice and quality up.
For more information on buying and caring for your bed, visit the Sleep Council website at www.sleepcouncil.com