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Finding The Right Bed For Your Size

May 2, 2008
In 1988, sleep expert Dr Chris Idzikowski discovered that trading in your old bed for a new, more comfortable one could give you an average of 42 minutes extra sleep -four times as effective as a typical over-the-counter sleep remedy.

So if you're feeling cramped in your sleeping space, or you're tossing and turning on an uncomfortable mattress, one of the most important things you can do for your health is to invest in a new bed.

Choosing a bed for a tall person

According to the Sleep Council, most of us are sleeping in a bed that's too small. 75 % of double beds sold are still the standard size: 4' 6" x 6' 3" (135 x 190cm), yet men and women in the UK are getting taller. Each generation is on average 0.75 inches taller than the last, which means that within the next 50 years, the average man is likely to be 6 foot tall. The Sleep Council recommends that since we don't sleep with our heads right up against the head board, we should choose a bed that's at least 6in (15cm) taller than the tallest person sleeping in it.

If you or your partner are above average height, even upgrading to a 5' x 6' 6" (150 x 200cm) king size could make a dramatic difference to your night's sleep while taking up very little extra space in your bedroom. And at 6' x 6' 6" (180 x 200cm), a super king size should give most tall people the extra length they need. If you're very tall, an alternative is to consider a custom made bed. While this will be more expensive, the advantage is that the bed can be designed to your exact specifications to suit you and your home.

Choosing a mattress for a heavy person

If you or your partner is heavy, a standard double bed probably won't be wide enough for you to sleep comfortably without disturbing each other. Like tall people, you'll benefit from a king- or super king-sized bed to give you that extra room. However, a further difficulty for heavier people is that when you sleep on a conventional innerspring, air, or foam mattress, your body weight pulls you down. As the compressed air or springs push back, your skin and blood vessels are squeezed between the force of your weight and the upwards force of the mattress.

This causes pressure points, which constrict circulation in areas like the shoulder blades, buttocks, head, heels, hips or elbows. Pressure points can result in numbness, stiffness and pain and lead to a restless and unsatisfying night's sleep. The heavier you are, the more likely this is to be a problem. An overweight person needs a firm and supportive mattress made of a higher density material such as memory foam to relieve pressure and ensure restful sleep.

Memory foam, or visco-elastic foam, was originally developed by NASA to ease the pressure of extreme G-force on astronauts. A memory foam mattress moulds perfectly to the unique shape of your body, providing excellent support and reducing pressure points. A memory foam mattress can reduce your need to toss and turn during the night by up to 80 %, resulting in a much deeper, more restful sleep. It is also very durable and will continue to provide comfort and support for around 15 years.

Finding the perfect bed for you

When choosing a new bed or mattress, make sure both you and your partner visit the showroom together. Don't be afraid to try out a number of beds by lying on them to find the one that's most comfortable. It's worth investing time into finding the right bed, as a good night's sleep makes so much difference to your health and well-being. Remember that the level of firmness or softness that suits you best is a personal choice, so never let a salesman talk you into buying anything that doesn't feel right.

Once you've got your ideal bed, make sure your bedding and bed linen fit perfectly too. If your covers are too large for your bed, they can easily slip and slide off. If they're too small, they won't cover you properly and you'll wake up cold. Most department stores carry a good range of bed linen sizes; however, you can also find specialist firms who will make custom-sized bed linen for you.
About the Author
Leigh A. Matelas is a freelance writer living in the UK. She regularly contributes articles for Taurus Beds, a leading Bed Shop in London.
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