Time for some not-so-sexy pillow talk…
At GAFF there’s one thing we love more than interiors and that’s sleep. Thankfully, the two converge as one mostly prefers to sleep in a bed which serves as the focal piece of furniture in your bedroom.
While a good night’s sleep will be determined by lots of things, among which your stress levels and pre-sleep rituals are included, a lot of it comes down to one thing: the quality of your bed.
When buying your first home or furnishing your own rental, this is one purchase you should take very seriously and never scrimp on. Go without rugs and cushions and even a TV if you must, but don’t buy a crappy bed or your dreams will never thank you for it.
Here’s what to keep in mind.
1. The mattress is everything when it comes to your bed.
So you can choose a pretty bed frame or a wrought-iron headboard or opt for a divan-style bed – the style is up to you and the style of the room it’s going in, but the mattress is where it really counts.
2. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ mattress.
What we mean here is there are countless types of mattress, some firm, some soft, some thin some fat, but you need to think about the bed type that’s right for you. Do you prefer a bit of squish? Do you want a very firm surface with little give? Do you like to be super warm in bed or do you prefer a cooler sleep? What positions do you sleep in? Think about the best sleep you’ve had in hotels. What was the bed like? Remember, we are all told that a firm bed is better for you but this isn’t necessarily true, as we are normally referring to the cushioning on top. What matters is a good, firm supporting structure underneath and then the amount of padding on top is up to you. So while something might feel firm, that doesn’t mean you’re getting a solid structure (if you buy cheap crap). Equally, if something feels soft, that doesn’t mean it’s shit (it could just have a particularly plush comfort layer on top). However, if you have a neck or back issue, talk to your doctor about what would be best to keep this from flaring up. For example, for lower back pain, a medium firm mattress might be best.
3. Understand the different mattress types.
There are two ways to determine a mattress type. First, you look at its foundational support. Then you look at the comfort layer on top. Let’s talk support types first: Typically, a coil spring mattress is the most popular and gives a bed that bouncy feel we’re all familiar with. Inside these mattresses are the coils that compress when you lie on the bed. They vary in thickness, so a heavier person will tend to prefer a thicker coil that doesn’t compress too much and leave them sinking into the bed. Keep an eye out for coils that are individually pocketed – pocket springs – which helps keep you comfortable when the person on the other side of the bed moves. These are worth the extra cost (dual coil is even better again) as they adapt to the contours of your body. Then there are foam mattresses which are a good idea if you’re not a fan of bounce – they have no springs at all – but as far as we’re concerned, a pocket-spring bed is far more comfortable, especially if you like sleeping on your belly.
In terms of comfort, you have even more to choose from. This is the top layer of the mattress where you can ‘feel’ the bed. Here you have memory foam (eliminates a build-up of pressure), latex (not as sexy as it sounds, hypoallergenic), gel (if you get very hot when sleeping), foam, polyester and other natural fillings such as cotton. For this part, you can rely on your testing in-store.
4. Test it out in store with your sleeping partner.
If there’s two of you in one bed, make sure you’re both there for the purchase. And although it might feel awkward AF, get comfy on it for at least 10 minutes. Move around on it – but keep it PG13 – and get a feel for the bed without succumbing to the pressure emanating from the mattress salesperson, watching as you roll around in your future bed. Try a bed that is firm to the touch and another that is plush and be sure to compare the feeling of beds at different price-points.
5. Ignore gimmicks.
Since the beginning of mattress-selling time, beds have been referred to as ‘sleep buster 3000’ and other ridiculous ‘official’ sounding terminology. Lots these days go into detail about their orthopaedic or medically-approved status, but while they might be designed to have orthopaedic features, this doesn’t mean an orthopaedic surgeon has given his stamp of approval to the mattress you’re about to buy. As with most important purchases, this is less about how it sounds and how pretty it is and more about the practical goods.
6. A mattress protector is a very good idea.
Not just to protect your mattress – they need protecting given that you use them every single night for countless years before replacing them and this is also important to keep your warranty valid -but to give you that luxury hotel feeling. It also helps if you have allergies and still want a particular bed that isn’t microbial. This gives you the best of both worlds.
7. If you’re serious about it, go to a mattress specialist.
When mattresses are their bread and butter, they’re going to know a whole lot more about sleep and what might work for you, giving you more peace of mind. And make sure you get a good warranty which protects you against defects (and is not meant to be an indicator of how long the bed should last before you need to replace it).
8. Resist cheap beds.
It might seem like a good saving now, but if one bed costs a lot less than another, chances are the materials used in it are just not capable of withstanding the amount of use you’ll give your bed. When it comes to mattresses, we’re firm believers that you get what you pay for. Go in with your questions about support and comfort, the structure itself and the materials involved.
9. Don’t pay full price.
In saying that, there’s always decent sales on if you can time your bed-buying properly. If there’s no sale, you should at least give your negotiating skills a run for their money before you hand over the cash.
Now, time for a nap.