Divan intervention

Why size does matter during National Bed Month. Words: Maureen Ellis

dvertisements for beds in bygone days were

enough to put off even the most determined of cn'b

buyers. First there was the (clearly wrong) cross- species copulation of a hippo and a duck; then came the cult-like. chanting congo dance performed by a group of deranged inbreds; there were the old wrinklies demonstrating electronic divan manoeuvring; and lest we forget. the manky grey toothbrush positioned next to a beatific child. with the tagline: ‘You wouldn’t give her a hand-me-down toothbrush . . .‘ It amounts to aversion advertising in spades. but why should we be subjected to these disturbing images for something that’s as pleasurable and necessary as a bed?

Thankfully, the clued-up cradle experts at the Sleep Council have crowned March National Bed Month. Their aim is to enlighten us all on the errors of our bed-buying ways and educate snoozers in the benefits of sleeping on a quality bed and mattress. A questionnaire on their website (www.sleepcouncil.com) prompts you to think about the state of your sleeping surrounds and calculates whether it’s time to ditch the old and invest in the new.

Manufacturers recommend that you buy a new bed every ten years. Well, they would, wouldn’t they? But it’s a recommendation that the Sleep Council concurs with: you spend almost a third of your life in your bed would you watch the same TV. drive the same car. or even wear the same clothes for that same length of time? And just as TVs get bigger. cars fancier, and waistlines expand. the same is happening with bed technology.

The Sleep Council recommends that you sleep in the

1 12 THE LIST 19 Feb—4 Mar 2004

biggest bed possible for your bedroom. (They‘re even lobbying house builders to increase bedroom size average bedroom size in a semi-detached house has shrunk from 1.647sq ft in 1920 to today's frankly pokey 925sq ft). A standard double bed allows a couple less space relatively than a baby in a cot. and research has proved that the bigger the bed you have. the better the sleep. Add to this that the average person tosses and turns during sleep around 60—70 times and things are going bump in the night for all the wrong reasons. Go large: a superking (6‘ by 6‘) is the new yardstick for bed buying.

And just as beds are getting bigger. they‘re becoming far better designed. Gone are the days of the pocketed. swirly mattress, the stark metal railings and the flimsy pine bedstead. In their place are more fashion-led. design-heavy products. SilentNight (formerly of hippo/poultry-cross adverts) is spearheading the renaissance with its Hibemate range (www. hibernatewithsilentnightcom. prices from £899). Combining the principles of comfort and design. it has created a bespoke range of beds where the customer chooses the legs. base. materials. style and colour to create an individual product. The idea is typified by the chill-out bed: with its sofa—like features it recognises that people. unsurprisingly. do more in their beds than sleep in them. and puts an end to interminable pillow arranging during the Sunday moming newspaper sprawl. Effectively your bed lives up to its purpose as the bedrooms focal point.

Medical experts acknowledge that a good night's sleep is important for a happy and healthy life. Now that‘s what we call retail therapy.


(1) Boudoir Sleigh Hibernate bed, www.hibernatewithsilent night.com. stockists 0800 849 2222. (2) Arpege Merisier bed. from £382. Gautier. 01727 877977. (3) Prado bedstead. from £495. John Lewis. www.johnlewis.com (4) Brown wedge leather hibernate bed, see (1). (5) Chill-out Hibernate bed. see (1). (6) Relax bedstead. from £159. John Lewis, see (3).


I The average person spends 29,000 hours in a bed during its ten year lifespan

I Don’t make your bed in the morning - throw back the duvet and let it air

I One quarter of people in the UK report sleep problems three times a week

I Women are more likely to suffer from insomnia than men

I Smokers usually take longer to drift off to sleep than non-smokers I The average person grows 2cm in their sleep

I After five years. one fifth of your pillow will be made up of skin. dust mites and their excrement. Still think you don't need a new bed?