when is it time to say goodbye to your old mattress?

by Dr. Neil Stanley, Manager of the Clinical Research and Trials Unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the past chairman of the British Sleep Society

How do you know when it’s time to say goodbye to your old mattress? And what should you look for in your new one?

If you aren’t getting enough sleep then your bed is just part of the equation. But whilst you might not be able to change your partner’s snoring habits, changing your bed is a simple and potentially very effective part of the solution.

So take a look at it. The Sleep Council has devised a test to see if it needs changing: Is your bed more than ten years old? Is the mattress cover torn or stained? Do you feel the springs? Does it make creaking and squeaking noises? Do you and your partner roll together? Is the bed big enough? Does the base sag? If you answer yes to any three questions it may be time to get yourself to a furnishing store!

The only way to choose a bed is to lie on it. And if you are buying for you and your partner, then make sure you both go along. Take at least ten minutes and try turning over a few times.

What type of mattress you go for will depend very much on your size and weight. The most comfortable bed will give you the right spinal support. This is where you achieve a good sleeping posture. The mattress should mould to the shape of your body but still remain supportive. If the mattress is too firm you will get discomfort at pressure points, too soft and you’ll experience back pain.

An easy way to tell if you’re getting close to finding the right bed is to slide your hand into the hollow of your back when you lie in bed. If it slides in easily and there’s a gap, then it is too firm, if you can’t slide it in all then the mattress is too soft.

You are going to spend a third of your life in bed and the bed is an important part of getting a good nights sleep, surely it is worth investing in the best bed you can. If you had spent just £2.00 per night over the 10 years of a beds' life you would have £7,300 to spend on a bed!

There’s no science to buying a bed – so it’s up to you. Take your time, choose carefully, and before you know it you’ll be in dreamland.