In this modern age we live in, many of us lead very busy and tiring lives as we navigate a whirlwind of schedules, appointments and meetings on a daily basis - and that’s not even taking into account those of us who have children too! Buzzing around like bees on a never-ending mission, sometimes it feels like the only time we actually stop is when we crawl into bed at night.

When the lights are off and your head hits the pillow, now is the time you should be at your most comfortable and at peace, but its surprising how many of us are prone to a routine of tossing and turning.

Even those who have the enviable ability to enter dreamland in an instant still sometimes wake up feeling exhausted after a long nights sleep. Even if you get your 8 hours and don’t wake up in between, if your body isn't comfortable then it will still count as a disturbed sleep, and you’ll still feel tired in the morning!

It’s shocking how many people are sleeping on the wrong mattress, one not suited to their needs. Long gone are the days when a mattress was a mattress - standard metal springs on the inside, with a nice fabric on the outside. Modern technologies mean we have more choice than ever - however don’t be fooled by those who insist that memory foam is the best, or that just because a mattress has lots of springs means you’ll automatically love it.

The thing about mattresses is that they are designed to suite different needs. And different people have different needs. The mattress your neighbour raves about could be the worst thing in the world for your back problems. That’s why it’s important to find the right mattress for you. No one else. Just you.

The first thing we need to establish is your needs. Do you have back, neck or shoulder problems? Do you get too warm in bed? What type of divan do you have at present or do you have a bed frame that needs just a mattress?

It is important to be very careful when just buying a mattress on its own and keeping your divan base or bed frame. When you try out a mattress in any furniture shop, keep in mind that it will be on a different base to what you have at home, and it makes a difference - a big difference in some cases. If you’re using a divan base at home, then make sure you know what kind of base it is. Most bases are either a platform top (solid base) or a sprung base (with springs). If you try a mattress on a sprung base, buy it, get it home, and put it on your platform top base, you’ll instantly notice a much firmer feel. If you’re unsure how the mattress will differ then ask the sales staff in store. Tell them what you have at home and how this will affect the firmness of the mattress.

Again, it’s all about your needs, and a bed specialist should always ask you questions and point you in the right direction. Now let’s go through some of the different types of mattress you can find at your local AHF store, so you know what to expect.

OPEN COIL OR BONNELL SPRINGS

Open coil springs are the most commonly used spring system. There are approximately 350 springs in a 5 foot (king-sized) bed. They are positioned in rows and are hour glass shaped. They are linked from top to bottom by spiral wire which turns across the finished unit. Added support is given through retaining wire which is also clipped around the outside of the spring unit which in turn gives edge to edge support, meaning that when you sit on the edge of the bed it is firm and doesn't squash right down.

POCKET SPRINGS

Pocket springs are small individual springs positioned into little fabric pockets. Pocket springs move individually therefore letting the spine retain its correct position during rest. Each and every spring gives you individual support and your weight is distributed evenly. The other advantage of pocket springs is that when your partner moves, turns or gets in or out of the bed you will not feel them, therefore your sleep is not disturbed. This is also useful for those of us who let large house pets share the bed with us!

MIRACOIL SPRINGS

A miracoil spring system is a continuous coil of wire which is the equivalent to twice as many springs as a conventional Bonnell spring. They run head to toe ensuring body weight is distributed up and down the bed. Giving you and your partner the support you need despite being different body weights.

LATEX

Latex is a natural product which is made from the sap of rubber trees. Latex has natural elasticity and recovers its shape quickly when pressure is removed. Latex is hypo-allergenic and has microbial properties which stop bacteria, fungi and dust mites. This can be advantageous for people who suffer from respiratory problems. Latex can also be found on the top of some sprung mattresses.

MEMORY FOAM

Memory foam is a man made foam that moulds to the shape of your body using the bodies natural heat. When memory foam cools down it then reverts to its original shape. Memory foam is not for everyone so when entering your local AHF store it is advisable to talk to one of our bed specialists about this. Some beds also offer a layer of memory foam on top of springs.

K3 GEL

K3 gel is a new technology that works with your natural body temperature to reduce the effects of heat or cold, especially good for those who get too warm in bed. K3 gel is designed to sooth tired muscles and minimise pressure on the body. This new technology sits on the top of a bed of pocket springs and gives total edge to edge support therefore giving you a larger sleep surface.

NATURAL FILLINGS

Some of our mattresses are filled with the most natural fillings how mattresses were made many years ago. Cotton, wool, hair, silk and covered with the lovely Belgian damask fabric. All of these fillings create a sumptuous feel when you climb into your bed after a long day and aid a good restful sleep.

MEDICAL GRADE FOAM

Medical grade foam has been proven by Dr Jason Ellis, a world leading sleep expert, to enable you to fall asleep quicker and to sleep for longer without disturbed sleep. Medical grade foam is used in spinal units to aid the quicker recover of patients that have received spinal surgery. It is proven to give great pressure relief. Medical grade foam has better heat and moisture distribution than memory foam due to the v-shaped cuts in the foam which allows any heat to escape to aid a more comfortable and restful sleep. The mattresses also come with or without pocket springs underneath.

In each of our AHF stores we have trained bed specialists to assist you when buying your bed. They will ask you about your current bed and if this has suited you, and if not then they will try to find out why you've found it uncomfortable. You will then be taken to a bed of a medium comfort range to gauge how you feel on this bed. If it suits you then you will be taken to other beds of similar tension therefore not risking the chance of confusion.

There is a lot of choice, no doubt, but if you can find the right bed for you then you will instantly notice the difference. Remember that lying on a mattress in a shop for 2 minutes is quite different to spending 8 hours every night on it! Make sure it’s tailored to your needs; listen to the advice given by the salesperson, and look forward to many nights of blissful sleep.

Mattresses, Medical
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