AS Valentine’s Day signals the start of the "Love Season", the Sleep Council has some timely tips for novice bedmates.
“As we head for the spring wedding season, newly-togethers would do well to invest in a good bed if they want to make the most of their all-round relationship,” said Jessica Alexander, consultant to the Sleep Council.
“Togetherness is all very well, but the nocturnal eight-hour bit can prove a bit trying if you’re sharing a cramped and uncomfortable old bed.
"Even those in the first throes of lust need a good night’s sleep!”
Advice to couples looking for their first bed together is to spend as much as possible on a new bed in the knowledge that for every £100 spent, it costs just 2.7p per night over ten years.
Also, buy as big a bed as possible — close is one thing but cramped another, and the average 4ft 6in double bed gives each partner just 2ft 3ins of space. That’s little more than we give a baby in a cot!
“It might be an item that should go on the wedding list,” said Jessica, “because when you’re starting a new relationship the last thing you want is a hand-me-down bed.
"It’s almost certainly going to be well past its prime, not as supportive and comfortable as it should be and with a history you’d probably rather not know about!
“Even if wedding bells are a long way off your new partner will appreciate the investment — the cost can be as little as the price of a special night out.”
So when compiling your new life "wish list", bear in mind that a big roomy bed could do more for your love life than the fastest feature-packed fridge or interactive oven. And you don’t spend a third of your life using those.
Jessica feels shopping for a new bed should definitely be done together.
“Couples should really do their homework and try out as many beds as possible before committing to what is, after all, a fairly major investment in something that could last for up to ten years.
“When buying a bed you should visit several shops. A good one will have a wide choice of models and you should also feel comfortable that the sales people are knowledgeable and listening to your requirements.
“There are all sorts of different beds and mattresses to choose from and the type you go for is entirely down to personal preference.
“But it’s really important you both try them out in the shop together — one partner’s weight on the bed can have a big effect on the other’s sleeping area.”
Remember to wear comfortable clothes when you go bed shopping and avoid tight or restrictive clothing.
Don’t go when you’re feeling tired either: a park bench feels comfortable when you’re shattered! Go along feeling fresh, with plenty of time so you can both spend a good ten minutes or more trying each bed and really getting a feel for the comfort level.
Zip and link or zoned mattresses are a perfect solution for couples unable to agree on the level of firmness required, allowing each to have a half that is tailor-made to their particular needs.
Jessica said: “People wouldn’t dream of buying a car, holiday or other major purchase without carefully looking at all the available options and that kind of thinking needs to be applied to buying a bed.
“We spend a large proportion of our lives in bed and, particularly when we reach that stage where we want to share a bed with someone on a regular basis, the right choice is vital to getting a good night’s sleep.
“Love may be blind but when you’re worn out through lack of sleep even the happiest of relationships can come under strain.”