Bed-mania hits Britain this month as bed retailers everywhere offer their biggest bargains of the year.

And according to The Sleep Council, bargain hunters could bag themselves more than just a cut-price bed: they could get a whole new lease of life.

“Research has proved* that buying a new bed can lead to a real improvement in sleep – and if you sleep better you feel much better,” says Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council.

With many top brands on offer for less than half price in the January sales bonanza, savvy shoppers are being advised to:

– Spend as much as you can afford. Instead of buying the bed you might have chosen during a non-sale period more cheaply, take the opportunity to trade up to a more luxurious model.

– Buy as big a bed as you can: a roomy king-sized bed will ensure less partner disturbance during the night than a standard double (at just 4’6” wide it only offers each adult the same space as a child’s cot!). So take advantage of the low prices to trade up a size.

– Avoid the ‘Seven Year Hitch’ – the point at which existing beds may still look good but are beginning to offer less support than a new one. Seize the sales opportunity to invest in a better night’s sleep if your bed is seven years old or more.

– Only buy a drawer divan if you really need extra storage space: four drawers can account for well over £100 of the purchase price – money better invested in a good quality mattress. The same applies to other features – only go for them if they offer real benefits.

– Make shopping for a new bed a special trip – you’ll choose more wisely if you are not in a rush, tired or harassed.

– Dress sensibly and comfortably so you can lie down properly on a selection of beds in your normal sleeping position without feeling embarrassed.

– Once you’ve narrowed your choice down to between one and three beds, spend a good five to 10 minutes or more lying down on each one.

– If the bed is for two, you should try it out together.

– Remember that every £100 invested in a new bed costs less than four pence a night over seven years.

Said Jessica: “New Year’s resolutions are generally about ensuring better wellbeing through diets and fitness. It should also be a time to focus on better sleep which makes us all feel so much better and able to cope with life more effectively.”

*A ground-breaking new study by Dr Chris Idzikowski of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service (SAAS) in 1998 showed that you may get a better night’s sleep by buying a new bed rather than popping a sleeping pill. It found that when replacing an uncomfortable bed, a new bed was associated with an increase of 42 minutes sleep.

*Proof that mattresses could offer significantly less support and comfort than a new one after as little as six years were confirmed in the results of a scientific mattress ‘autopsy’ conducted for The Sleep Council and published by FIRA – the UK’s leading furniture testing and research centre – earlier this year.

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