Important relationships with our mattress explained

The Elizabeth fabric headboard is finished in fashionable grey with button upholstery and wings for added luxury (6ft headboard €2,785, mattress and divan €5,135 from Caseys).

Seven years seems to be a critical period of time for relationships, including the one we have with our mattress, writes Carol O’Callaghan.

We have the most intimate relationship with our bed, where, if we’re lucky, we get to spend one-third of our lives. But it’s the quality of our mattress which mostly determines a restful night’s slumber and this influences whether or not we’re limber in body and in a good mood the next day.

“We take our mattress for granted,” says Kieran Barry, owner of specialist bed company Living Dreamz.

Every seven years we recommend you change it as by then you’ve had 20,000 hours of sleep, shed 3kg of skin and 5,000 litres of sweat per person. If you share the bed, double those figures.

To determine whether you and your mattress are experiencing the seven-year ‘make or break’, Kieran has a mattress NCT test with five points to consider:

  • 1. Does the mattress look worn or feel lumpy when you lie down?
  • 2. Is it sagging so you and your partner unintentionally roll into the middle?
  • 3. Have you recently had the best night’s sleep on another mattress (eg. on holidays)?
  • 4. Are you waking up without feeling refreshed and with a backache?
  • 5. Are you and your partner disturbed by one of you changing sleep positions during the night?

If sleeping with a partner, Kieran says there’s a move towards more people opting for six feet wide, super-king design, which, with pocket spring mattresses, means independent sleeping without disturbing your partner.

For anyone who feels too warm at night, he discourages memory foam. “They are known to generate heat. Geltex tops are better as they are cooling.”

Deep jewel colours are trending this season. The Marcello double bed frame comes in a rich blue velvet from DFS (€1,099).

There are other developments in how we choose the ideal mattress.

“Twenty years ago we were told we needed hard mattresses, but what you should look for is soft and supportive,”Kieran says.

Lie down on the mattress, on your side and back. If you’re sharing the bed, test it out with your partner. It shouldn’t move if your partner moves. As a guide, look for a 1,600-pocket spring count for a master bedroom.

Mary Coughlan of Casey’s in Cork, also stresses the importance of lying on the mattress before buying.

“Make sure it keeps your spine in alignment, which is down to your body type and weight,” she says.

“Take 15 minutes to get a feel for what it’s like and use a pillow as well. The two go hand in hand. I give customers a pillow as close in quality to their own so they can get a realistic feel for what it’s like to sleep on the mattress. Change your pillow every three years. You don’t want to be folding it over in the night to get comfortable.”

The Julien duvet set from Debenhams offers a clean white linen look with a fresh pop of springtime flowers (from €40).

Once the purchase has been made, maintenance will contribute to its longevity, but, thankfully, the unwieldy business of turning mattresses over twice a year is gone.

“Rotate it once a month for the first three months, then seasonally,” Mary says.

Open the window and air it, and be sure to have a mattress protector. This is very important for skin shedding, fake tan and makeup.

Now that you’re set up with the perfect mattress, creating the perfect environment to promote quality sleep requires some simple and commonsense practices, according to Mary, especially when we have busy lives filled with electronic devices. She has five tips for a good night’s sleep.

  • 1. Have a regular bedtime.
  • 2. Take regular exercise.
  • 3. Unwind before bedtime.
  • 4. Ensure the bedroom is cool, dark and quiet, free from laptops, phones, televisions and pets.
  • 5. Sleeping on your back just like a baby is the healthiest pose to avoid backache and acid reflux.

This combination of pocket sprung mattress with cooling Geltex top, plus fabric-covered divan and upholstered headboard in a choice of styles and colours, is €1,165 at Living Dreamz. The mattress can be bought separately for €790.

After that, the bed is all about aesthetics. According to Kieran Barry, bed frames are out, divans are in.

“Fabric beds are in vogue with ottoman storage underneath,” he says.

People are going back to divans with the upholstered headboard. These take up less space, unlike a wooden frame which can add up to one foot in length to the bed size, and you won’t have to deal with knocking into the bed leg at night.

“It’s all about fabrics, fabrics, fabrics, with more character added with button upholstery and wings in neutral colours like grey and cream, which means you can do more with your bed linens.”

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