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Before you step foot in the furniture store, consider what type of bed will suit you best. Are your priorities cost, storage, ease of getting in and out, support to help with back problems, or access to the rest of the bedroom?
Rather than just considering firmness, look for a bed that offers the best support and comfort for your weight and build.
What's your style?
Of course, you'll also want a bed to look good. Whether contemporary metal or classic wood, a bedstead can make a real style statement in a room. If you prefer this type of bed, look for a "sprung slatted" base that will offer more comfort than a solid slatted base but with the same level of support.
The right mattress
Though the best bed for you won't necessarily be the most expensive, it is worth paying as much as you can afford on a good quality mattress. It's advisable to buy a bed and new mattress, particularly if you have a divan, as a new mattress on an old base may lose some of its benefits.
The traditional style of mattress is the open spring, the most commonly-used system, but a pocket sprung mattress is a more luxurious option. The springs work independently and this is ideal if there is a big weight or size difference between you and your sleeping partner.
But more recently memory foam and latex mattresses have increased in popularity - the visco-elastic memory foam mattress reacts to the heat of your body, allowing it to mould to your contours (excellent for keeping your posture correct), while a latex mattress has similar benefits.
If you're used to your old soft and cosy mattress, a new one may feel a little firm at first but remember, you can always buy a mattress topper for a little extra comfort.
Try before you buy
Once you are in the store, it's time to try out your options - now is not the time to be shy. Don't simply lie on your back for a few seconds, try out the positions you regularly sleep in, are you able to turn easily? If you sleep with a partner, you will both need to be there to ensure that both are happy with the choice.
Though some prefer a soft bed and others prefer a firm mattress, you must still be aware of getting the necessary support.
A handy tip is to lie on your back with your hand flat under the small of your back - if the hand slides in very easily, the bed is likely too firm while if it is difficult to move, you may be sinking too far into a soft mattress.
Finally, take your time and don't be swayed by sales staff. The Sleep Council estimates that 80 per cent of people shopping for a bed spend less than two minutes trying out their options... and since we spend more than 120 whole days each year in bed, your purchase deserves some careful consideration!