Buying Tips

It can be intimidating and daunting buying the right bed, there are a myriad of different terms to describe a wide variety of solutions that will vary with each individuals needs, pocket sprung, visco elastic, open coil, reflex foam to name but a few.

The fact is that every person’s requirements are different and specific to him or her, it is vitally important to research all the possible options to make the right decision on the right product for you. Use the guide below as a basis for your research, and use the the other links to access the information pages we have put together to help you make the right decision. Alternatively use the contact link to contact us where one of our trained personnel will be happy to help you.
There are many ways to order from our company click here to find out: How To Order

How to choose – Buying a new bed?

Listed below is a simple guide to helping you make the right choice. Decide on your priorities and concerns before you start out – ask yourself the following questions:

1. How much do you want to spend?
2. Do you require storage?
3. Do you want a divan or bedstead and mattress?
4. Are you just replacing the mattress, if so what type of base do you have?
5. Are you concerned about turning the mattress?
6. Are their any health issues to take in to consideration?
7. What size bed do you want?
8. Are there concerns over the height of the bed?
9. Do you and your partner have the same preferences when it comes to firmness or softness?
10. Try a selection of beds for comparison
11. Wear comfortable clothing & remove coats
12. Lie in your normal sleeping position and make some turns
13. If the bed is for 2 – try it together
14. Take your time – it takes more that a few seconds to try out a bed properly
15. Don’t regard the mattress and base it sits on in isolation – they work together and the type of base you choose can make a considerable difference to how the mattress feels
16. If you are buying just a mattress – make sure you try it on the correct type of base
17. Think big – buy as large a bed as you have space for – bigger beds are more comfortable
18. Finally, remember you don’t buy a bed every day so making the right decision is important, as you’ll live with your choice for many years to come.

Divan Beds and Storage Options

Divan beds explained
The most commonly bought bed type is the divan bed and, while most of the other bed types are pretty much self-explanatory, the divan bed is available in a number of different permutations which require some explanation:

For a start there are a number of different types of bases,

Legged Bases – are available from some manufacturers which come with a shallow base and legs giving room underneath the bed to clean or put the space to good use as storage. The heights of the legged bases do differ from manufacturer to manufacturer so check the exact sizes against each product.

Sprung Edge Divan base – The sprung edge divan base has springs in the base from edge to edge, this gives the mattress softer support making it feel more luxurious and a little softer.

Platform Top Divan Base – The top of this divan base is solid and padded, to enhance mattress support and provide a firmer bed.

Adjustable Divan Beds – adjustable divan beds are available from certain manufacturers, they are electronically controlled to adjust the foot and head ends to facilitate different sleeping positions and requirements when reading or sitting up or to get in and out of bed. Many adjustable beds offer massage units as an optional extra.

The overall height of individual models will be different from one to another, there are a few factors which affect this,

1.) Firstly the base heights differ from manufacturer to manufacturer there is no standard height in the industry. Some manufacturers will offer different depths of divans.

2.) Secondly, the height of the castors and or legs differ between manufacturers. Also many of the legged bases come with castors which do not have to be used.

3.) Lastly the mattress heights differ depending on what quality and construction method you choose.

Our advice is to check each model individually and compare the height to your existing bed, it is very important to get the right height bed, for your height, no point needing a stepladder to get into bed!

Storage Options

Where extra storage space is required, a bed with drawers in the base unit offers a great solution. A choice of smooth running, side or end drawers are available on the majority of our divan bases.

Continental drawers are also available which are ½ drawers at the head end to facilitate the use of side tables.

The drawer fronts from the Brittany model upwards are upholstered with the same cloth used for the mattress and base and are flush fitted – a simple and easy way to turn wasted space into storage. The majority of single divans with drawers can have a headboard fitted either end to allow drawers to be used whichever way round the bed needs to go. However, some of the companies who manufacture top of the range beds will need to know whether the drawers on the single divan are to be left or right hand facing.

Please consider your room layout carefully when ordering divans with drawers. Where space is limited at the side of the bed an end drawer may be a better option.

What each manufacturer will offer in the terms of storage does vary, so please check with the office for current information.

Jumbo Drawer Base

Maximum storage capacity with two large drawers at both sides of the bed.

Continental Drawer Base

A large and small drawer at both sides of the bed allowing room for bedside tables

Continental / End Drawer Base

Small drawer both sides of bed allowing room for bedside tables. Additional large drawer at foot end.

Jumbo / End Drawer Base

Three large drawers – one at each side and one at the foot.

Two Drawer Base

Large drawer both sides of bed.

End Drawer Base

Large drawer at foot end of bed.

Slidestore Base

Large capacity storage space with two sliding doors at foot of bed.

Divan on Legs

Available as sprung or platform top, some are supplied with castors which can be used if required.

3’6″Jumbo Drawer Base

Single bed option with two large drawers at one side.

End drawers are only available on 135cm (4’6″) and 150cm (5’0″) sizes.

End Slidestore storage only available on 120cm (4’0″), 135cm (4’6″) and 150cm (5’0″) sizes.

Side Slidestore storage only available on 75cm (2’6″) and 90cm (3’0″) sizes.

Drawer Capacities

Sprung Edge Continental Drawer 0.020m3
Platform Edge Continental Drawer 0.025m3
Sprung Edge Jumbo Drawer 0.040m3
Platform Top Jumbo Drawer 0.060m3
Sprung Edge End Drawer 0.060m3
Platform Top End Drawer 0.080m3
90cm Slidestore Divan Base 0.620m3
135cm Slidestore Divan Base 0.460m3

Mattress Types

There are many different types of mattress: pocket sprung, open sprung, orthopeadic, memory foam, latex and combination mattresses.  Each mattress type has its own merits and some types of mattress cannot be successfully used with some types of bed, so please ask for our advice if you’re not sure.

Pocket Sprung Mattress

The most luxurious in feel, offering ideal body support and comfort.  Individual pocketed springs are linked together in a honeycomb pattern.  They move individually as they compress and expand enabling them to adjust separately to your body shape and weight.

Click here for pocket sprung products

Open Coil Sprung / Bonnell Sprung Mattress

A less expensive alternative to the pocket spring.  The open springs are all hinged together preventing spring noise and spreading the bodyweight evenly over the complete surface of the mattress.  Bonnell spring units come in gauges which relates to the thickness of the wire used to make the spring unit, the thicker the wire the firmer the spring unit, the gauges range from 12.5 gauge (firmest ) 13 gauge (medium / firm) to 13.5 gauge (medium).

Orthopaedic Mattress

An Orthopaedic mattress is a bit of a misnomer really, it is simply a term used by bed manufacturers to indicate that the mattress is firm.  Typically an Orthopaedic mattress is constructed using a firm (12.5 gauge) spring unit, the word Orthopaedic doesn’t actually mean it is good for backache.  It is important to choose the right bed for your own personal needs, some so called Orthopaedic beds are in fact quite luxurious but still have a firm support spring, where as some are very firm indeed which could be too firm for your needs!.

Memory Foam Mattress

The old style cheap foam mattresses with which many of us are familiar are about as far removed from the modern hi-tech foam mattresses as the old horse hair mattresses are from our modern sprung mattresses.
Revolutionary Memory Foam mattresses today are made from sophisticated closed cell foam that reacts with body heat and the weight of your body to form the contours of your body.

Click here for the full “NASA” space mattress history.

Combination Foam Mattresses

Many memory foam mattresses are being made as combination mattresses.  These mattresses are constructed with either an open coil or pocket spring unit with layers of the memory foam incorporated within the layers of upholstery.  The spring unit allows air to circulate through the mattress and the layers of memory foam contour to the shape of you body, giving a luxurious feel to the traditional pocket or open coil mattress, giving the best of both worlds.  Combination mattresses tend to be a little cooler than ones made with solid block foam.

Latex

Latex is a naturally derived biodegradable product produced from the rubber tree.  Latex is hypo-allergenic, and breathes to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Bacteria, mildew, and mould cannot live in latex.  Latex is very robust and can last up to 30 years. Both orthopaedic and anatomically supportive latex mattresses will promote good circulation and will respond and contour to your body shape.  It is cut with grooves and air pockets which allows the latex to move and shift according to precise weight movements.

Types Of Fillings

COTTON FELT

Raw cotton felt is sourced worldwide and is processed at Relyon’s own plant to create natural cotton felt. The raw cotton is firstly carded, to remove all unwanted particles, then formed into a layer, nourished with natural oils, prior to a fire retardancy treatment. The final result is the purest white cotton felt, for guaranteed quality and softness.

LAMBSWOOL

The finest New Zealand lambs wool is selected and sorted to provide a sumptuous warm filling with excellent hydroscopic properties that allows body moisture to evaporate. Lambs wool is a natural insulator offering luxurious levels of warmth and softness.

HAND TEASING

This traditional craft enhances the inherent attributes of natural fillings. By holding a filling in both hands and gently separating the fibres, the natural resilience is better exposed to provide superior springiness and insulative qualities. This time consuming process ensures an even distribution of the fillings and results in a seductively soft feel.

CURLED LOOSE HAIR

Hand teased natural curled hair, sourced from South America, and provides loft and resilience allowing the mattress to breathe – cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Curled hair maintains its springiness longer than any other fillings and contributes to a deep luxurious feel that lasts and lasts.

NATURAL TEASED HAIR PAD

The inherent attributes of natural hair are combined with the durability of an insulation pad. The hair is teased before their natural strands are caught and threaded into the Hessian pad for a secure natural fixing. A very durable product offering optimum support and resilience.

REFLEX FOAMS

A new generation of foams offering superior recovery properties. All feature open-end structure for good air permeability and high resilience characteristics.

WHITE FIBRE

Designed and produced by Relyon’s sister company, the fibre offers a soft resilience that is sterilised and dust free, therefore an ideal upholstery for allergy sufferers.

LATEX

Latex is a 100% natural material sourced from the Hevea Brasilienisis; a special rubber tree grown on plantations in South East Asia. This material is moulded using the Talalay process ensuring excellent natural ventilation properties. Latex is extremely durable, hypo-allergenic and anti-microbial.

MOHAIR

The long soft silky hair of the Angora goat has long been regarded as the most luxurious of bed fillings. Nothing can compete with its beautifully soft characteristics.

CASHMERE AND CASHMERE PAD

Historically cashmere has been regarded as the softest of natural hair, whilst maintaining the natural attributes of resilience and springiness. In a joining of old techniques with new, a contemporary insulation pad is carded with the natural hair to provide a cashmere hair pad

MEMORY FOAM

In the early 1970’s NASA’s Ames Research Centre funded a development project designed to create a substance that could help protect Astronauts from the incredible g-forces experienced during space mission take offs and re-entry. They believed that one of the key secrets to reducing g-forces on the body was to use a foam material that could conform to the shape of each astronaut and, more importantly, hold this conformity. While a foam mould of the Astronaut’s body shape could accomplish this, any movement would take the Astronaut out of this position and create incorrect pressure points against the body. Instead, they created a new foam material that was visco-elastic and therefore able to conform to the shape of the Astronaut, but return to its normal shape once pressure was removed from the foam. This could allow an even distribution of pressure or body weight over the entire surface of the memory foam, but, at the same time, quickly adapt to any movements of the body. It is now widely used in mattress manufacture as a filling.

The Origin of Memory Foam

In the early 1970’s NASA’s Ames Research Centre funded a development project designed to create a substance that could help protect Astronauts from the incredible g-forces experienced during space mission take offs and re-entry. They believed that one of the key secrets to reducing g-forces on the body was to use a foam material that could conform to the shape of each astronaut and, more importantly, hold this conformity. While a foam mould of the Astronaut’s body shape could accomplish this, any movement would take the Astronaut out of this position and create incorrect pressure points against the body. Instead, they created a new foam material that was visco-elastic and therefore able to conform to the shape of the Astronaut, but return to its normal shape once pressure was removed from the foam. This could allow an even distribution of pressure or body weight over the entire surface of the memory foam, but, at the same time, quickly adapt to any movements of the body.

With this amazing discovery, Fagerdala World Foams of Sweden, Europe’s leading foam producing company, began experiments in the 1980’s to perfect this substance for consumer use. They trade marked the word Tempur to note the fact that this material was sensitive to temperature.

In 1991, Tempur-Pedic, a Swedish mattress company introduced this material in a mattress form to the Swedish market place and received excellent results. In 1992 the same products were launched in North America and similarly, received excellent results.
With the success of Tempur-Pedic, other foam manufacturers in Canada, United States and Britain began to develop their own visco elastic memory foam material to offer mattress, upholstering and specialty product companies the ability to allow consumers a wide variety of products and prices to choose from.

How does Foam have a memory?

To give a piece of foam memory, you start with a synthetic polyurethane foam material and add certain types of chemicals, which increase the weight or density of the foam. With the addition of these chemicals, a non-toxic, visco-elastic foam material is created. However, there are many features along the way that determine what type of memory foam you end up with. To understand exactly what differences are found I each final product, first you have to understand how foam is graded.

How is Foam Graded?

For a material to be Visco-elastic, it will have to be temperature and weight sensitive, having the ability to rebound fairly quickly, returning to its original shape. Memory foam is graded by its visco-elastic nature and durability by breaking down the grading system as follows: –
Weight (Density in pounds per square foot)
The weight of the foam is determined by the amount of chemicals used in the composition of the polyurethane foam. The more chemicals, the higher the density and the more visco-elastic it will become. This density will not determine the hardness of the material, this is done through utilizing the ILD rating structure. Most memory foam mattresses use a 5lb density, but some use as low as 2 or 3lb densities. Back to top
ILD Rating (Indentation Load Deflection)
The ILD rating is going to tell you how hard or soft a material is. The 25% ILD rating is the number of pounds required to achieve a 25% compression of a 4” thick foam using a 50 square inch indentation. An example of this would be: – 20lb ILD foam indicates that this foam took 20 lbs of pressure to indent it 25%.
Resilience
This measures the foam’s springiness by determining the percent rebound of a steel ball dropped from a height of 36 inches. The term HR foam refers to a highly resilient foam that will give a very high ‘ball rebound’ reading. Back to top
Tensile
This indicates the extent to which foam can be stretched, measured in pounds per square inch and how much elongation in terms of percent of stretch before rupture. This value has very little relevance to memory foam mattresses because they are not usually stretched and will become compressed only when slept on.
N.B. It is important to remember that these ratings can vary from each foam batch that is poured and that no mattress company can predict an exact rating on their mattress each time they produce the final product. As an example, a 10 ILD rated foam could vary from 8 – 12 ILD each time the foam is poured.

What is the smell that comes from Memory Foam?

While the memory foam that comes from the U.S. does not contain toxic ingredients such as formaldehyde or PBDE, it can have a new foam type of smell that can sometimes linger for up to a couple of weeks, depending on the foam manufacturer. Though this smell does not seem to trigger allergies, it can be a bother to people who are particularly sensitive to smells. If you are one of those who experience this, there are a few things you can try to help the smell dissipate quicker. Air out the room and wash the sheets after the first couple of nights sleeping on the mattress. Sometimes a dish of vinegar on the bed side table can help nullify the odours, or an Ozonator machine will rectify the situation very quickly.

How do I know my Memory Foam mattress is good quality?

Obviously it is important to allow the foam to do what it is best for. Allowing for a better contouring of your body shape and therefore less pressure placed on the areas of your body that press harder against the bed. However, don’t just go by your weight, because if you are tall then your weight is dispersed over the bed more.

A good memory foam mattress will not need a box spring underneath it to make the mattress feel good. You can use a platform base to increase the height of the bed, but remember this mattress should feel good even if it is placed on a level concrete surface.
Also, you may want to look at the warranty a company offers, because you can then worry less about spending a lot of money for a mattress that has a good warranty period.

Memory foam mattress or foam mattress topper?

Deciding on whether to invest in a new mattress or mattress topper can be answered by asking what your current bed has to offer. If your present bed is not so old and hasn’t lost its integrity or solidity, then a mattress topper may be just the savings you are looking for.
An old spring mattress can become lumpy or bumpy after many years, thereby making any mattress topper you place over it also lumpy and bumpy. You also have to worry about the possibility of sagging, which can cause a dip in the middle of the mattress resulting in a trampoline effect. T his trampoline effect takes away from the overall support of your spine and can lead to back, neck and other types of painful disorders.
If you determine that a mattress topper is suitable for your situation, the next thing you have to do is decide on the same principles that apply to buying a memory foam mattress; softness, density and thickness. Depending on your existing mattress, you may want anywhere from a one inch to a four inch topper, but remember, most standard bed sheets will not fit over a greater thickness than a ten inch mattress. A two inch topper should suffice providing its ILD rating is high enough and providing it can offer that extra measure of body contouring you are looking for. It is a complicated scenario to find the best mattress topper to suit your individual needs.

How do Spring mattresses differ from Foam mattresses?

While a spring mattress was the standard for many decades, foam mattresses are becoming more and more popular due to their unsurpassed comfort and ability to support the body. While spring mattresses can feel nice to sit or lay on, they will not offer anywhere close to the body contouring and vital spinal support offered by memory foam or latex foam mattresses. It will actually cause a trampoline effect and bend inwards when pressure is applied without conforming to the specific bumps and curves of the body. While foam can shrink over time, springs can bend and lose their shape over time. Therefore, an old foam mattress will likely feel better and offer better support than its spring counterpart.

What is the difference between Memory Foam and Latex Foam?

Latex foam has a higher elasticity or resiliency than memory foam. The result is that Latex will feel springier and memory foam will feel more solid. Memory foam will not push back up against your body upon pressure being applied to it. Many mattress companies are using both these two materials to blend the perfect mattress combination. Rare allergies to latex can be triggered, but usually, this is upon contact with the skin, but won’t be triggered when natural and synthetic latex mixes, like talalay, are used. Talalay latex is a more supple version of latex. It is more expensive and is composed of synthetic and natural latex. Because there are no chemicals used in the latex composition, it is the ILD only that determines the feel of the product.

What is the difference between Memory Foam and Air mattresses?

Being able to change the firmness of your mattress with a simple control has made Air mattresses progressively more popular. With many Air mattresses both sides of the bed can be changed to different firmnesses. Unfortunately, Air mattresses have many parts that can and often do break and for this reason the small print in the warranties offers less coverage. Also, you will not get the same contouring of the body as you do with memory foam mattresses, as Air beds will not make an impression of your body. In fact, it is more similar to a spring mattress in so much as it causes a trampoline effect and bends inwards when pressure is applied without conforming to the specific bumps and curves of the body. This is due to Air being displaced to the sides of the body, leaving the middle with less support. Memory foam and Latex mattresses are the only substances that can accomplish a contouring of the body without losing support.

Does Memory Foam really help those achy joints?

A person who sleeps on their side places pressure on their shoulders and hips, a stomach sleeper places pressure on their neck and a back sleeper places pressure on their lower back and sacrum. Visco Elastic pressure sensitive memory foam offers the best chance for reducing overall pressure placed on all joints in these vital areas, by contouring them without pushing back against them. With latex added to a memory foam mattress it offers a bit more spring against the concavities like the small of the back or sides, while not losing the ability to contour and displace pressure points.

Zipping & Linking Divans & Mattresses

Zipping and linking can provide the ideal solution for two people sharing a bed who have different requirements. Where manufacturers offer different firmness ratings in their mattresses, the levels of support and comfort can be matched to your individual requirements in order to provide the different levels of support.

Another benefit of zip & link beds is that they can be separated and used as single beds – an ideal solution for Guest Houses and Hotels which will allow optimum flexibility from their accommodation.

To find out more about what we can offer please email your enquiry to sales@sweetdreamsbeds.com or if you would like to talk to our trained advisers on 01489 578856 during normal office hours.

Custom Made Beds

Non-Standard & Odd Sized Divans & Mattresses

We have over 25 years experience selling “Odd Size and Special Requirement Beds” many of our suppliers offer special sizes, including round beds, large or small sizes in fact nearly any size you require! In the UK there are 6 basic standard sizes for beds and mattresses and these are measured in feet and inches, the approximate metric equivalent is shown in brackets.

Standard UK Bed & Mattress Sizes & Classification

2ft 6in x 6ft 3in (75cm x 190cm) Small Single
3ft x 6ft 3in (90cm x 190cm) Single
4ft x 6ft 3in (120cm x 190cm) Small Double
4ft 6in x 6ft 3in (135cm x 190cm) Double
5ft x 6ft 6in (150cm x 200cm) King
6ft x 6ft 6in (180cm x 200cm) Super King

As a general rule, adjustments are made in 3 inch (10cm) increments from the standard sizes quoted and the costs involved vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. For example this can be anything from 10% extra for each 3 inch (10cm) adjustment or 30% extra for each change made to the width or length no matter how big or small that change may be!

To find out more about what we can offer please email your enquiry to sales@sweetdreamsbeds.com or if you would like to talk to our trained advisers on 01489 578856 during office hours.

Caring for your new bed

Proper care will keep your new bed in good condition. Always follow the manufacturer’s assembly/installation instructions & retain the manufacturers care instruction for future reference. Otherwise the following tips will help you get the best out of your bed during its natural life.

10 Simple steps to looking after your bed

1. Settling to your new bed…….

Your new bed may seem a bit strange at first – it always takes a few days to settle into a new bed. The chances are that the springs & upholstery in your old bed were not they used to be. Allow some time for your body to adjust to your new bed and for the fillings to settle.

2. Minimise settlement of fillings

Body indentations in the mattress caused by body weight compressing the fillings are a normal characteristic. This settlement of fillings can be minimised by the regular turning of the mattress.

3. Turn mattress regularly

It is important that you turn your mattress regularly to aid even filling settlement and to prolong the mattress life. We recommend that you turn your mattress from side to side & end to end weekly for the first 4 months. Thereafter it should be turned every month. If you have a non-turn mattress it can easily be rotated from head to toe, or, if you have a Winter/Summer mattress turn your mattress from side to side and end to end seasonally.

1st week side to side

2nd week end to end

3rd week side to side

4th week end to end

4. Get assistance while turning your mattress

We recommend that you seek assistance. Apart from the risk of injury to youself, you also run the risk of damaging the springs should you bang, bend or roll the mattress. this would invalidate your guarantee.

5. Do not bend or roll your mattress

Please avoid any unnecessary rolling or bending of your mattress as it is likely to damage the spring unit an invalidate your guarantee.

6. Allow the mattress to breathe

Our bodies generate over a pint of moisture during the night. It is important to let your bed breathe to allow this moisture to dissipate. Simply by turning down the bed clothes in the morning will allow the bed to air.

7. Protect your mattress

We always recommend that you protect your mattress with a suitable mattress protector/cover. This will help mto protect the surface of your mattress from contact with moisture and the risk of staining. Also no mattress is guaranteed to be colourfast. A mattress protector will keep your mattress looking pristine for years to come.

8. Fit castors without excessive force

Please read the instructions supplied with your bed for how to fit castors. Castors should be tapped lightly home with a rubber mallet. Avoid excessive force as this can cause damage.

9. Avoid overloading the drawers

Your bed may have drawers – these drawers have been designed to accomodate lightweight items only. Please do not overload, as excessive weight can cause damage to the runners and may jam the drawers.

10. Refrain from using detergents & vacuum cleaners

We do not advise the use of detergents or chemical cleaners on your mattress as this may bleach or disintegrate the fabric. Clean your mattress every few months by using a soft brush to remove any dust or fluff. Never use a vacuum cleaner as this may dislodge the upholstery fillings. Stains & spillages should be absorbed using a dry cloth or paper towels. If you do need to sponge your mattress do so only with a damp cloth & a very mild solution of soap & water.