The truth of the bedding industry

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It can be very difficult to see through all the marketing, the confusing jargon and the endorsements to understand exactly what your bed does and how it’s supposed to work. The truth is, beds have not changed substantially since the 60s, and we are still paying top dollar for mattresses that are simply not worth it. Despite what certain claims are made, beds are not specifically designed to support you any better than they were nearly 50 years ago! Most salespeople will convince you that laying on the bed for a few minutes in the showroom and deciding which is the most comfortable is the best way to choose a bed. There are a multitude of beds on the market, ranging from box spring, to memory foam, to gel – and each one has an expert comment and/or endorsement. So how do you tell what’s real and see through the marketing haze?

1. Endorsements

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Make sure you evaluate all endorsements, even if they sound like they’re coming from a medical professional.

Many beds on the market have an endorsement of some kind or another that allows the bed manufacturer to claim that the bed is supported by a certain kind of health professional, scientist or other industry body. It’s important to look into who is making these endorsements, and what they are claiming to be endorsing the product for. Sometimes, these endorsements are no more than purchasing the rights to use a professional association’s logo on a product without any real or scientific assessment taking place.

Look into whether:

  • The product company is promoting the endorsement company on their website, as this means there might be some sort of cross-promotional deal between the two.
  • The industry or professional don’t just “recommend the bed” or offer a checklist of why the bed is good (eg. “Supports the spine”) with no evidence presented as to how they came to these conclusions. These endorsements usually don’t mean much, because they haven’t tested the real effect of the product on a real person and don’t claim any therapeutic benefit of the product.
  • The product is claiming to offer therapeutic health benefits, you can also ask if the product is classified as a medical aid by the Australian Government. This will be obvious, as products in this category will be GST free.

2. Scientific studies

Many product manufacturers will also claim to have based their products on, or to have the backing of “leading researchers” “years of research” or “scientific studies.”

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Be sure to evaluate all scientific claims made about a product in it’s promotions.

These terms are purposely vague and if you are wanting to evaluate these sorts of claims, it is entirely appropriate to ask:

  • Who the organisation is that did the study,
  • What the study concluded, and
  • To see a copy of that study.

Often a study will be commissioned by the company from a service that specialises in researching for marketing of products. It is easy to tell if a study is reputable, as you can see how the results were gained, what actual testing was done, and what this testing means. A study is even more reputable if it has been undertaken by an academic who is connected to a university, or an independent professional. The best academics will be attached to a reputable university, and will having their findings published in a journal.

If a manufacturer is making academic or scientific claims, find out who made these claims, what university they are from, what the study actually found, and how that relates to the product.

At Beds for Backs, we are committed to constantly making sure we are on the cutting edge of research and development to make sure that we are leading in the latest scientific principles in the design of our beds. Our qualified engineers use the latest in human movement and ergonomic research to develop bed designs that supply the best rest and maximum sleep. You can see what independent ergonomists had to say about us here, or read some of the studies supporting ergonomic design in beds here.

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Making your child’s room a teen’s hideaway

As your child approaches becoming a teenager, it’s an excellent time to update their bedroom. Teenagers see their bedroom as serving a variety of functions: a hideaway, a place to entertain, a study room and a chill-out zone. Helping your teenager to create a comfortable and useful bedroom can help you grow together, and help them make the transition to becoming more independent. Here are some of our tips to help you plan a new bedroom with your child.

1. Draw out a floorplan

Teenagers use their bedroom for everything from study space to café. Setting up different zones for these activities can assist in healthy sleep and study habits.

Sit down and work out what sort of space you’re working with. Mark out different areas for different purposes, like a study area, a rest area and a social zone. Having these areas clearly delineated can help your child find the motivation to study, but also know where to go and wind down. You can play different colours with your teen for each of these areas, so they are all different, even in a small space.

2. Seek your child’s input

Sit down with your child and work out what they like and how they want their bedroom to look. They will have the best ideas for their own room – in terms of colours, décor and needs. Try to work out how to incorporate space for valued items, and hobbies, as well as social mementos. A teenager’s social life becomes increasingly important during this time, so help them to find places where they can have friends over, and put mementos and photos of their friendships.

3. Plenty of storage

As your child gets older, they will accumulate a lot of stuff – school books, clothes and entertainment items, and be less motivated to clean up or pack things away. If you provide adequate storage space, the room will be easier to manage and reduce arguments over cleanliness, as well as making sure there is enough space for all of your child’s belongings to be put away tidily.

4. Incorporate some cool

Items relating to hobbies or dream holiday destinations can be used as accent items

There are heaps of awesome ideas about what to add to your teen’s bedroom all across the web. Try painting a wall in chalkboard paint so they can write and study on the wall! Other girls love things like fairy lights or an opportunity to create their own art work or wallpaper to go on their walls. Make sure you also invest in a cork board for some vision-board making or somewhere to put up important notices and photos. A hanging, swinging chair or hammock can add a spark of cool to a teenager’s room and give them somewhere to relax.

5. Make the bed the rockstar of the room

Accents and colours from bedding and manchester can be used to create interesting feature walls

Teens will spend most of their time hanging out on their bed or on a couch in their room. Create a cozy nook for your bed by incorporating some colour from the bedspread that continues out onto the walls, some cool throw pillows, or some privacy-creating netting. Somewhere to put books, drinks and snacks near the bed will always be appreciated! Teenagers may also be ready to transition in to their first “adult” bed, in a double or queen size for extra space while studying and relaxing. Remember to place the bed not too far from electric wall sockets, as many teenagers will want to use their laptop to study or surf the web while sitting on their bed.

At Beds for Backs, we know how important your child’s rest is to you and them. As children age into teenagers, studies show that the amount they spend asleep will increase greatly as they grow and learn more than ever before in their lives. We are committed to helping your child stay healthy and achieve best rest. Visit one of our stores to try out our range of fully adjustable children and adolescent’s beds that will grow with them and allow for maximum rest.

Tips for shift workers to sleep better

Shift work can be one of the most difficult lifestyles to manage when it comes to getting good sleep, maintaining good mental health, and building strong relationships. Studies show that night shift workers are predominately reaching for caffeine and sugar to help get them through the night after sleeping poorly during the day. Evidence also suggests that if not properly managed, shift work and the related lack of sleep can lead to health problems down the track. Below we catalogue our tips for getting the best sleep when you don’t have a set bed time or have to sleep during the day.

1. Use exposure to sunlight to help set your body clock

The sun is one of the natural regulators that helps us to put our body into a sleep/wake rhythm. When we are gradually exposed to sunlight, this tells our body it is daytime and prepares us to be alert and ready for the day. Conversely, exposure to the darkness and a lack of sunlight tells our body that it is time for sleep. Try to control your exposure to sunlight to your advantage. Get exposed to natural sunlight around 90 minutes before you need to be at your most alert. Before bed, try to be in as dark a space as possible for at least an hour. It is helpful to fit your bedroom with blackout curtains, and if you drive home in the morning sun, use sunglasses to avoid the sun making you too alert before bed. On your days off, try to get as much sun as possible to maintain your overall health.

2. Exercise

Making sure that you get adequate exercise at least 4 hours before bed is one of the best ways to promote good sleep. Exercising will make you more alert in the moment, and help you sleep better later in the day. This means that having a regular exercise routine is crucial to good sleep. Plan your exercise for about 30 minutes before you need to be at your most alert, as the exercise will energize you. Exercising right before bed will wake you up, so try to plan exercise for well before bedtime.

3. Use caffeine judiciously

Coffee, one of Melbourne’s favourite past-times, really is the elixir of the Gods when it comes to most workers, and shift workers attest to the power that it can have in helping you stay awake during odd hours. While caffeine can give you an added boost, particularly on the way to work, it can also disrupt your sleeping patterns depending on the timing of your use. Try to avoid coffee for three hours before you plan to get to bed, otherwise you might find it harder to get to sleep when you clock off. Nicotine can have a similar effect, so smokers should avoid cigarettes close to bedtime.

4. Plan your meals

Certain foods and meals can make you feel sleepy, or alert, depending on what and when you are eating. Shift workers report more stomach pain symptoms than other categories of workers due to their disrupted eating habits. Try to plan three meals for the day, as you would if you were working an ordinary shift. Plan a high energy, low GI meal for when you first wake up, a protein rich vegetable dish for the middle of your shift, and a light meal around 3 hours before you plan to go to bed. Avoid alcohol before bed – even though it feels like it helps you to sleep, your sleep quality will be far poorer, and you will wake up feeling fatigued. If you struggle to eat properly, try preparing and freezing meals during down time to take to work with you during the week.

5. Use naps wisely

While it may be tempting to sleep in or take a long nap after a poor night’s sleep, this will not help you in the long run. However, try to get a 30 minute nap in during your night shift. This will increase your overall alertness and performance while on the job, without impacting your sleep later in the day. Any longer than 30 minutes will have you awaken feeling groggy, and you will find it harder to sleep that night.

All shift workers have their own unique tips and tricks to get to sleep – one we like is taking a nice hot shower first thing in the morning! Connect with us on Facebook to share your tips and tricks for getting good sleep as a night shift worker.

Last but not least, having a comfy bed that is ergonomically designed to support the human body with zero stress can also help in the process of getting good sleep. Beds for Backs is the only retailer of ergonomic beds guaranteed to give you real support, extra comfort and the best rest. Visit your nearest store to speak to one of our consultants about your unique needs, or view the benefits of our range online.

Ergonomics explained – why you need an ergonomic bed

image001-16Ergonomic. You’ve probably heard the term before – maybe referring to your office desk or seat in your car, but your bed? Probably not! In this blog, we explain ergonomics, how it promotes a healthy lifestyle and why an ergonomic bed is so important.

What are ergonomics?

We hear the term ergonomics used a lot, but what does it actually mean? Put simply, it’s just the process of “…designing or arranging workplaces, products and systems so they fit the people that use them.”

It’s more than the chair we sit in – it’s actually a branch of science that learns about people’s abilities and limitations, and then applies the findings to the surrounding environment. It’s not simply about the physical environment; ergonomics also takes into consideration environmental factors that can impact things like hearing, sight and temperature.

Why are ergonomics important?

According to Safe Work Australia, work related injuries and illnesses between 2008 – 2009 were estimated to be worth $60.6 billion. Back, wrist and shoulder pain are all common ailments reported by workers. The purpose of ergonomics is to create comfortable and safe work and home environments through desks and chairs that adapt to the individual needs, size and strength of a person.

When are ergonomics used?

Typically when we think of ergonomics we think of our office set up, the chair in our car and maybe even our shoe insoles. These are all things we use frequently which have been customised to meet our individual needs and provide comfort.

Have you ever heard of an ergonomic bed? We spend a lot of time – (a third of our life!) in bed, but most beds don’t provide the ergonomic support our bodies need. This is because they are flat and uniform (sometimes with a few layers of padding), and based on 30 year old spring technology.

Beds for Backs is changing the way we think about mattresses and bed bases with ergonomic beds and mattresses tailored to your individual shape and size. With our busy lifestyles, it’s increasingly important that we get a good night’s sleep in a bed that is both comfortable and supportive. If you are looking to upgrade your bed, visit Beds for Backs, the home of ergonomic beds today. Click here to find your nearest location.

A Weekend Warrior’s Hidden Weapon… Is Their Bed

Remember the days when you were a weekend ‘exercise’ warrior?  You ran out a full four quarters of football. Running 10ks was a walk in the park and cycling up a steep hill was like a breeze.

Now you’re older with a full-time job, mortgage and teenagers of your own. The odd weekend game is your chance to have a kick with your mates. Some of us probably kid ourselves into thinking it’s like we’re back in our prime – until that twang in your shoulder or that pain in your lower back.

Sure, it might be old age as you jest. Yes, you could do a better job of stretching and warming up before the game. But what if your aches and pains come down to… your bed?

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A bed is as important as your shoes

Sounds like a strange analogy? You wouldn’t wear uncomfortable shoes when exercising. If your shoes don’t support you, you wouldn’t be able to run, jump, cycle or pivot as you would with the correct support. You would have sore feet, legs and hips as a result. So why would you do this to yourself each night when you try to sleep? The right bed could help you start the day without a stiff back or aching neck.

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Sleep for energy

Get more out of your day, and your weekend game, by being as well rested as you can be. Spending your night on a bed that provides the right support and comfort, to ensure a proper night’s rest will go a long way to aiding your ability to recover before a game.

Recovery time is best had in bed

In the event that you do cop a knock on the field, or strain something putting on your shoes (Yes, that’s happened), don’t make it worse by spending your evening on a flat mattress. Tiger balm and massages will certainly help, but avoid exacerbating your problems by sleeping on an ergnomic mattress that will align your spine and neck while relieving pressure on your shoulders and hips.

Become a weekend warrior again…not a worrier! Find out more about ergonomic beds here.

Choosing the right mattress for your child

Key qualities of supportive children’s bedding

Children need a soft mattress.111

Does this come as a surprise to you?

The conventional thought among retailers is that children require a firm mattress. However this is not true. In a cot, babies require a firm mattress to avoid risk of suffocation. As children grow, a soft and supportive mattress is the best choice.

Children need a different type of support to adults.

We may be stating the obvious – children are lighter than adults and therefore a softer mattress is more responsive to their body weight. A firm mattress doesn’t have the same ability to relieve pressure on shoulders and hips. A softer mattress provides comfort for a better night’s sleep and avoids adding to already troublesome growing pains.

It’s common to purchase a low price mattress, or provide children with hand-me-down options. If possible, invest in a quality mattress that will last. Over the life of the mattress, the cost is comparable to that of purchasing several low-price and relatively poor quality alternative mattresses.

112Ergo Contour

Ergolife beds are designed to support the lower back while also providing comfort to the hips and shoulders. There are a number of technologies within the range; ergoshape is particularly appropriate for growing children. A key feature of this design is adjustable lumbar support, which allows for the bed to change with the growth of your child.

Consider Latex

As children become young adults, we recommend a latex mattress to support growth spurts. Rather than a bed with zones which accommodate where an adult’s shoulders and hips are assumed to rest on a bed, a supportive latex mattress can support your child, alleviating growing pains.

Latex is also an excellent choice to address allergies. Latex is hypoallergenic and antibacterial, as the rubber prevents growth of bacteria and repels the build-up of dust mites.

Complete the bed with a supportive base

To provide adjustable support to match the unique size and shape of your child, match the mattress with an ergo-slat system. You can match an ergolife mattress to an ergo-slat system for additional support, or match a Latex mattress to add the benefits of ergocomfort. This can be adjusted as your child grows to provide lower-lumbar support and to provide increased accommodation for their shoulders and hips. With the correct support, your child’s spine is supported in a zero stress position, just as if they were standing. The best option is the Ergo-slat dial base, or if you already own a bed base, an Ergo-slat kit which can be added to an existing bed frame.

Get your kids to try it!

When you decide to invest in a quality bed, ensure that they’re in the store with you. Our consultants will take the time to walk you through the range, educate you on the technology in the beds we stock and which is the best match for your unique needs.

To find your local store, click here. We’re open 7 days a week, from 10am until 5pm.

What happens under the sheets?

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What happens under your sheets? Since I’ve got my ergolife bed, things have been different in bed. Here’s how:

It’s soft, or firm, depending on how you like it

Some like it soft, others prefer it firm. The comfort layer on the top of a bed can make all the difference. My partner Lisa likes a plush top layer, whereas I prefer a firm mattress to crash on. We enjoy the best of both worlds with our ergolife. Lisa’s half of the bed has a natural latex comfort layer and mine is a dense memory foam. We particularly like that these layers are removable, so if we decide to replace or change-up materials, we can!

Nothing is sagging where it shouldn’t

When sleeping on a conventional flat mattress, some unhealthy sagging or hammocking can occur. The heaviest areas of your body; your waist area, sinks into the mattress. An unsupportive mattress will then dip in the waist area creating sagging effect that doesn’t support the length of your back. It’s not uncommon to wake in the morning feeling stiff, or experiencing some back soreness during the day.

My ergolife bed is designed to support this area and relieve the pressure points of my shoulders and hips. The result is that when I lay in bed, my back is straight – avoiding strains and soreness. The ergocontour within an ergolife bed allows for the bed to accommodate the unique size and shape of my body.

No movements you’d rather not feel

Are you sharing your bed with a fidgeter? A roller? A tosser? After a few years it can certainly feel like it!22

Many conventional beds aren’t designed to absorb movement, which causes disturbance to a partner when someone moves in bed. This could be shift workers getting to bed late, or rising early. It could also be restless sleepers fidgeting, or those with weak bladders making regular bathroom trips. For some, it may be their beloved pooch finding a spot on the bed to claim as their own. Regardless, you don’t want this to disrupt your sleep. Ergolife beds are built with this in mind and are zoned so that partner disturbance is minimised or eliminated.

Everyone’s bits are different

A new mattress with partner zones will cater to yourself and your partner. Differences such as height, shape and weight require a different construction within the bed. The creation of partner zones not only has the benefit of reducing unnecessary disturbance to your sleep, but allows for spacing of springs, foams and lumbar supports to suit your body type.

Ergonomic beds are different. After years of sleeping on a conventional flat mattress, I made the change to the only ergonomic bed, ergolife, and haven’t looked back. If you’d like to talk to a consultant at Beds for Backs, the only stockists of ergolife, you can find your local store here.