The mum’s guide to finding the right bed for you and your family
What are the differences you need to know about when it comes to adult, teenager and children’s beds.
Mums are decision makers, doers, organisers. From the moment our kids enter the world we’re thinking for them: what they should eat, how long should they sleep, what kindergarten should they attend, oh, hang on, should they attend kindly, do they need braces, when should they have a sleepover? The list is endless.
Our mum minds are constantly dealing with a myriad of thoughts, it is any wonder we can sleep with all the mish-mash of rationalising going on.
Now that’s an important activity. No, wait sleep is more than that, it’s a necessity. Vital. For health, wellbeing, and basic day-to-day functioning. Some may consider sleep a luxury, and maybe it is for those overachievers, I’m referring to anyone who is having more than the recommended average. But no matter whether you’re male or female, big or small, young or old - collectively as humans we’re unable to concentrate when we haven’t had a good night’s sleep!
How much sleep do we need?
According to the Australian Sleep Health Foundation the recommended sleep for Adults (age 26 – 64 years) is between 7 – 9 hours per night. That’s over 2,900 hours in bed every year.
For teenagers (age 14 -17) 8 -10 years – over 3,000 hours annually (teens rarely leave their beds before midday on weekends this probably doesn’t account for those additional hours).
And for school-aged children (age 6-13) 9 – 11 hours – we mums don’t mind how long our little ones stay in bed.
Fact: Mothers know sleep is important,
Fact: What influences the quality of our sleep is what we sleep on.
Now that I’ve presented you with these numbers, what new thoughts are whirling in your mind right now?
My bed - how do I know it’s right for me?
How do I know my kid’s bed is right for them?
You can either become anxious with more harried thoughts, or you can turn to a trusted and reliable source for information: your inner circle - aka mothers and girlfriends. And then you can make an informed decision on which is the right bed for your family – and for you.
When it comes to your bed speak to someone you can trust
And that is exactly what I did when it came time for me to purchase a new mattress. I went to my inner circle to ask their valued opinions when it came to discussing “beds.”
And this is what I found out:
The bed, in particular the mattress:
- must be comfortable
- must be appealing
- must be somewhere you want to spend a good portion of your life.
And I love this comment from one of my besties.
“The mattress without a single doubt is the most important consideration. It’s also important to have the bed look good too, but you can have the best looking bed in the world and if the mattress is ordinary, then what’s the point?”
Exactly! What is the point?
If a good mattress is the difference between a good night's rest and a sore back, I will choose a good mattress every time.
So how do Mums - the decision makers in the majority of bed purchasing journeys - decide for themselves, their partners and their kids what bed and mattress they should get. I find a checklist helps. So from one mum who loves to help other mums, here’s my bed checklist.
The Mum’s bed checklist
- How is it built?
- Is it easy to dismantle?
- Is it easy to move around?
- Where will it be used: main bedroom / spare room / kid’s room.
- Consider your sleeping position - side / back or tummy
- How many people are sleeping on the mattress : single use / double or ….. (kids sometimes want to join you)
- Do you need spinal support or pressure relief - look at a spring mattresses
- Do you like softness / sinking into your mattress - then look at latex or memory foam.
- Ask about the time of purchase to time of delivery
- What is the after sales service
- Warranty - what is the manufacturer providing
- Check out 3rd party reviews.
Beds for Teenagers:-
- Size of your teenager vs size of the mattress - you don’t want feet overhang
- Are they playing sports / generally active? If they are look into the best mattress to support their weight
- Have you asked your teenager what they want?
- Can you take your teen to try the mattress out first?
- Durability - your teen may take their bed with them when they move out (one day!) Make sure the bed you’re choosing is robust and one that the manufacturer states will last. (see warranty.)
Beds for Children:-
A few things to consider beyond the checklist
Menopause and perimenopause
Sadly hormonal changes are a fact of life for many women at varying stages of life.
Although the average age of menopause is 51, according to John Hopkins Medicine research menopause can actually happen any time from the 30s to the mid-50s or later.
In case you haven’t experienced menopause or know anyone who has, the onset of menopause from a decrease in estrogen and progesterone is often accompanied by hot flashes (or flushes) where the skin body temperature increases rapidly. Not all women suffer from these flashes, but those that do perspire heavily and usually at night time. Flashes are intermittent and can last for anything from two - five years (extreme cases.)
What can exacerbate hot flashes is the wrong mattress. And while we may enjoy that feeling of being cocooned by sinking into a soft mattress, these are made from foam which can make our ‘hot’ bodies feel hotter! And during menopause we want to avoid that whenever possible.
Think about how easy it is to get a bed in a room and then how you will get it out again. Have you ever assembled a bed in a room and then had to unassemble it?
After a renovation I remember buying a bed that we could not physically get into the room! Thanks to that oversight we had to make use of a window to get the bed in (and out!)
I know I mentioned reviews on my checklists, but I add a caveat to this. At the end of the day, remember, you are unique and it is hard to know if a review is actually an accurate reflection about the person and the product. I believe reviews can be used to guide you, but not make the decision for you.
The best piece of advice I’ve heard came from a mattress salesperson:
“The most expensive mattress may not be the best mattress for you.”
Do your homework, but don’t overthink it. Go to someone you trust or who has been recommended. If it's a bed for you, it really is a personal decision, same with a purchase for another family member - be guided by what they want and also your gut instincts. And lastly of course, your budget.
My final piece of wisdom: don’t over complicate the purchase decision by doing too much research!