Sleep well this winter

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We might not be looking forward to the cold, wet and windy weather coming up in the next few months but winter does have its advantages. At 2am on Sunday 31st October the clocks go back one hour and that means one thing... an extra hour in bed.

Woman sleeping
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But that lovely lie-in will only go to waste if you wake up with a bad back and a crooked neck. So what should you be looking for in a bed?

It used to be said that a hard mattress was best for your back but that's not necessarily the case. Too hard and all your weight is lying on the pelvis and middle of the spine, a recipe for an aching back.

Support is essential, of course, but concave areas such as the neck and small of the back need cushioning too. And so came the trend for memory foam.

This visco-elastic polyurethane foam allows you to sink into bed, safe in the knowledge that every inch of your body is properly supported. The only problem is that this man-made material offers no ventilation and even the chilliest of us needs a little air circulation.

A mattress topper may provide the answer by giving you the luxurious, soft comfort whilst allowing moisture to escape.

For the elderly an adjustable bed may be essential as it will allow you to sit up and read or keep the feet slightly higher.

But don't decide on your bed until you have tried it out. Department stores allow you the perfect opportunity for some try-before-you-buy and you shouldn't be embarrassed about taking off that coat and climbing on.

Try as many as possible, preferably with your partner and don't forget to ask about the mattress stuffing. If you opt for a sprung mattress, quality is everything - you don't want to end up with metal coils digging in where they shouldn't.

Of course, mattresses and beds vary hugely in price but it's worth remembering that a good one can mean you sleep soundly for 30 years.

Buy the right one and you may never get out on the wrong side again.