Sleep… we go to bed every night, wake up in the morning, what’s the big deal, right? Wrong. Sleep is a vital ingredient for one’s good health and overall wellbeing. Yet, many of us take it for granted, much like the piece of furnishing (mattress) that is used for this activity. We change our decor, paint our walls, buy new artefacts, but still refuse to change the mattress that we sleep on for years on end.
Experts say that the life of a mattress depends on several factors, such as the duration/frequency of usage and its quality. But in general, a mattress that has been used for five to seven years no longer provides you with the best comfort and support. That’s why it’s a good idea to compare the mattress and foundation you sleep on with newer models every few years.
We have listed the important aspects to look out for, before you buy your mattresses.
Consider whether you’re a stomach, side or back sleeper (or a combination) to determine your comfort level. Mattresses do not have to be hard as a board to be good. Start the search at a store that
carries a varied selection. Ideally, you should test a mattress before buying it. Spend at least 15 to 20 minutes lying on it, in the store. Try several options before you decide. Every Hastens bed is crafted by skilled hands in their historic facility in Koping, Sweden
Materials such as high-quality cotton, wool, flax and coir are the most durable. Besides the kind of material in each layer (popularly known as padding), durability is also determined by how materials are woven. Observe the cross-section closely: Spring mattresses will have an outer padding and a middle padding, often composed of foam. Beneath the middle padding is the insulation padding (usually made of fibre or mesh) that lies directly on the springs. As the name suggests, this layer protects the layers above from being damaged by the springs. In any mattress, there may either be several layers of different types of foam or a solid uniform layer of foam. Convoluted foam has indentations like an egg tray, and feels softer than straight foam. It spreads weight evenly over a larger surface area, which is why many people find it more comfortable. Softer foam is superior, and is usually more resilient to wear and tear. Harder foams don’t spring back as much as soft foam and may be less comfortable. The outer layer (cover) of a mattress consists of ticking, which is usually a polyester or cotton-polyester blend. The quilting attaches the ticking to the top layers of padding. Additionally, ensure that the quilting is consistent and unbroken. Hastens’ sleep system: A wood frame of solid pine wood below; the Flax spring-system on top with cotton, wool and genuine horsehair over it; and finally, a top mattress in 100 percent cottonSupport
A good mattress will offer appropriate support to every part of the body. The support level is dependant on the coil count and its construction. There are four kinds of coils available: Bonnell (hourglass-shaped with the ends of the wire knotted or wrapped around the top and bottom circular portion of the coil); marshall or pocketed coils (each coil is wrapped in a fabric encasement and is usually tempered, which is a process of heating and cooling the coils to ensure they retain their proper shape over time. A ‘double-heat tempered’ coil goes through that process twice, ensuring increased durability); offset coils (designed to hinge, thus conforming to body shape); and continuous or mira-coils (work by a hinging effect, similar to that of offset coils). The best mattress is one which has enough padding to support your back without allowing it to drop out of its natural curved alignment. You will sleep best when the shoulders and hips are well supported.
Space and Size
Select a mattress that gives you enough room to move freely, especially if you sleep with a partner. A healthy sleeper is said to change positions 40 to 60 times per night! In addition, consider the size of your room and what will fit best. For two people, a queen- or king-size mattress is ideal; these are wider and longer than the standard full-size mattress.Foundation
It’s always better to buy the mattress and the foundation (also called the box spring) together. It will add life and another level of support to the mattress. Foundations usually consist of a wooden or metal frame with springs. A plain wooden frame makes the sleeping surface feel harder than one with springs. A wooden foundation should only be purchased if the wood has no cracks and is straight. Warranty
In case of defects, a warranty will cover your losses. But even the best mattresses wear out over time and there is no warranty for that! The Correct Position The Superflex 2 Motor bed system from Tempur, is a trouble-free adjustable bed which works best with a Tempur mattress. With the simple touch of a button you can raise your head, body and legs without any pressure or strain on your body. The bed’s multiple adjustable positions allow you to raise and rest tired legs or simply regenerate in an anatomically correct sitting or lying position.
A good mattress that has been taken care of as per manufacturer specifications, should last about 8 to 10 years. (
Courtesy, Better Interiors
Just as your mattress should provide good support for your body, your pillow should give you the right cushioning to position your head and neck properly. It should hold your head in the same relation to your shoulders and spine — as if you were standing upright. If you sleep on your side, you may want a fairly firm pillow to give your head and neck extra support. If you sleep on your back, try a medium-firm pillow to cradle your head. And if you sleep on your stomach, choose a soft pillow to reduce the strain on your neck.Five ways to keep your mattress healthy and happy
1. Invest in a mattress protector which is placed between the mattress and the bedspread. In case of spillage, a protector will slow down the seepage into the mattress and in some varieties, stop it altogether, thereby ensuring a longer life for the mattress.
2. Dust and vacuum bedding regularly to keep allergies at bay. Use synthetic instead of feather pillows to further minimise dust.
3. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the mattress to get rid of odours. Leave it for a few hours; then use a hand vacuum cleaner to remove it.
4. Don’t ignore spills; moisture causes the mattress to become lumpy and mouldy. Allow spillages to dry in a well-ventilated area. You could even use a hairdryer, if there isn’t too much moisture. If you have kids, make sure you protect the mattress with a rubber or waterproof sheet placed beneath the bedspread.
5. Turn your mattress over once every two months to avoid deep impressions of your body’s contours. Similarly, rotate the mattress to ensure even usage of both sides, especially if you sleep alone on a double bed. Time to change...
- If the mattress is over 10 years old.
- If you wake up feeling fatigued or are in pain or discomfort.
- If there are bumps/lumps/sags in the mattress
- If you have ‘inherited’ the mattress from family or friends!
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(This story appears in the 18 June, 2010 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)