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Welcome Articles - The Seven Year Itch

The Seven Year Itch

I woke up the other morning, and the first thing I noticed was a lump as I moved my feet. The cat was there. The cat was always there. This is not a lazy cat, but when it sleeps, it’s on the bed, my bed. Come to think of it, when it’s not there, the other one is, and when I’m not in it, sometimes they are both on the bed.

My company makes four poster beds. At the moment, my show room and office are in the same room, next door to the workshop where we make the furniture. If I go into the office, my loyal hound follows me, and if I stay there for more than two minutes, the dog ends up on the bed, the four poster bed. The four poster bed that is on show, with fancy drapes, mattress, pillows and ornate, expensive bed spread. The dog is curled up just under the line of the pillows, in the centre. No chance of falling off. The bed is king size, it is fit for a king, not a Rottweiler. Then it occurred to me, the dog has not been trained in this area of its life. Rescuing a dog is one thing, giving up my bed to a cat or two, I can live with, but a dog on my show bed, is just too much.

But it has always been like this. My last loyal hound had to be trained the same way, and for that matter, so did the one before him, both Border Collies, both spoilt, and both took some time to train to keep them off the show bed. Taking this a stage further, I had to ask myself, why?

These animals are not lazy, and they’re not stupid, and they like their creature comforts, we all do. Then it hit me. My old customers have been complaining about the same thing. They don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. It’s too comfortable.

I was talking to my mattress supplier the other day, a company that hand make high quality mattresses to any size. We were discussing mattresses, their lifespan, peoples’ attitudes towards them, and the differences between a high quality pocket sprung mattress and the new memory foam mattresses that are becoming increasingly popular.

A good quality pocket sprung mattress has a lifespan of five to seven years, no more. Not ten or twelve. (I am talking about a mattress used daily, not a mattress used occasionally in a guest room.) It should be turned regularly, once a week for the first month from new, then once a month after that, but in reality, they are lucky to be turned every six months. You must also remember that there are four ways to turn a mattress, not two. (Around 180 degrees, end for end, and completely turned over, then end for end again.) Traditional mattresses are made from materials that compress, and settle, they contain springs that compress under weight, and need to wear evenly, so by turning a mattress, you spread the wear over the whole mattress, evening it out, and not creating high spots, low spots, lumps and bumps.

Apparently the average adult perspires about half a pint of fluid every night. If you think that that is disgusting, then think about the dead skin that ends up in the mattress as well. I’m sure I don’t have to mention ‘bed bugs’ and the warm environment they have in a bed, with moisture and dead skin to feed from. Using a mattress protector, will stop everything filtering into your mattress. You want to be lying on something healthy for the next seven year. One of the best things to do on a regularly is to use a vacuum cleaner on both sides of the mattress. Please remember that a traditional mattress has moving parts, so they wear out.

The new alternative is the memory (visco-elastic) foam mattress. The idea is that you sink into the foam, it supports you evenly, and when you get off the foam will return to its former state, in truth, a traditional pocket sprung mattress should do a similar thing. The memory foam mattress is a sealed unit, so that moisture, dead skin and bed mites cannot penetrate. It will cost you more than a traditional mattress, but equally, it is usually guaranteed for more than twice as long, so is it expensive?

People confuse me when they are willing to spend thousands purchasing a comfortable car, but won’t do the same for a bed, when in reality, they spend about one third of their life in bed, far more than most drivers do in their cars. In my opinion, you should put the comfort from your mattress first. Don’t skimp on it. You should feel refreshed when you wake in the morning. You should bounce out of bed with a spring in your step (and that’s not because the mattress is falling apart).You should be ready to attack the day, and much of that comes from a good night’s sleep.

Research has shown that tossing and turning though the night is due to discomfort. We are moving around, trying to find a comfortable position. We do the same thing on an uncomfortable chair or sofa, but you notice it more because you are awake. You may ask your partner to lie still, or stop fidgeting, when it’s not their fault. Ask yourself these questions:

How old is the mattress?
How comfortable is it?
Does it give you good support?
Do you wake up with stiffness, aches or pains?
Do you sleep better in a bed other than your own, a hotel bed, for example?
What is it worth to get a good night’s sleep?

Your mattress must be comfortable. Your bed should envelope you. It should to fit you like a made to measure suit, or a quality silk shirt. When it is old, no longer comfortable and it’s had its day, scrap it. Don’t put it in the guest room. Don’t give it to your kids. If it’s not good enough for you, it’s not good enough for anyone else. Invest in feeling good, invest in a good night’s sleep, invest in a quality mattress. Remember, quality costs more, but last longer, you get what you pay for!

It is worth assessing your mattress and base a couple of times a year. Pop into your bed store and lie on a few beds, compare the feel and support with yours at home. If yours has lost its comfort, change it. Don’t put a sheet of board under the mattress. Remember, people change, the same mattress may not suit a 14 year old lad who had a new one when he was 10. Ask yourself if you sleep as well as you did a year ago.

So if you have the seven year itch, ask yourself why, and make sure that the bed bugs don’t bite!

The cats and dogs have got it right. They know where to go. Sometimes I have several beds in the showroom, all set up, and I have caught my dog, Tia upside down in the middle of one of them, and she’s not fussy, she’ll try them all out, but she’s happiest on those because they are all new, even though her bed is less than three years old.

Stephen Edwards has been making and selling four poster beds for over 10 years, and has not had any complaints about his beds, other than people not wanting to get out of them. You must also remember that he does not make the mattress, and when someone says how well they slept in his bed, what they really mean is, how comfortable the mattress is that he supplies to go with their four poster bed.

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