Expert Advice: How to Pick the Perfect Mattress, Bed Frame, Pillows and Other Bedroom Essentials

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Bedding expert Jo Ng, Director of dormiente Singapore, shares her top advice for picking the right bed, mattress and other bedroom essentials to avoid stiffness and aches in the morning.

Picking a bed can be tricky. How do you help customers choose a bed for their needs?

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During a consultation, we’ll discuss existing orthopaedic concerns. This can include neck, shoulder or back pain, scoliosis and slipped discs. These issues help us identify pain points and the support needed. We will also consider the customer’s height and build, preferred firmness and sleeping positions, and if they have allergies. These factors are key to understanding their needs and helping them find the right mattress and bed frame.

Tip: Good sprung slatted bed slats are great for absorbing body weight and form the correct foundation for your mattress base. Adjustable slats maximise the potential of natural latex mattresses so that you will feel as if you’re floating! Better still, choose individually adjustable slats for fine-tuning firmness in the lower back region, or reclining slats that enable you to read or watch TV in your favourite position. Dormiente offers many types of slatted base systems to cater to the requirements of different people.

What should one look for when testing the bed and pillows?

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It is essential to have a good mattress that supports your body and spine, a supportive pillow for your neck and cervical spine that prevents your shoulders from being compressed, an adjustable slatted base under your mattress—even better if it enables fine-tuning for your lower back—as well as a sturdy, toxin-free solid wood bed frame. Avoid having a solid-plank base platform under the mattress as it has no give or flexibility and results in the mattress being too firm. It blocks ventilation too.

A good bed frame should be sturdy, free of toxic chemicals, paint, varnish or lacquer, and ideally made from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification)-certified sustainable hardwoods. It should not be made from synthetic or veneer ply. Dormiente has 40 toxin-free custom-crafted offerings that combine excellent craftsmanship with timeless, elegant designs.

Very often, people sleep with pillows that are too high or too hard, causing neck or shoulder strain. Waking up every morning with stiffness and tension in your neck and shoulders may indicate bad positioning of your head during sleep. Your sleeping position, as well as your neck and shoulder profiles, are important considerations when choosing a pillow. A breathable pillow made of organic natural latex with an organic cotton cover will ensure a healthy moisture and temperature balance for cosy sleep.

How long do mattresses, bed frames and pillows last on average?

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A good mattress should have a lifespan of 15–20 years. It is, in fact, the most important piece of furniture at home, used daily for 6–8 hours by up to two people. Bed frames made of solid wood will last a lifetime.

In Singapore, it’s common for people to replace mattresses earlier due to humidity and moisture from sweat accumulation. It’s time for a change when you constantly experience aches and a sore back when you wake up. It could also mean the mattress is too firm or too soft, causing bad spinal alignment and poor support for your body. The height of the pillow could be incorrect too.

Tip: Rotate and flip your mattress every few months to ensure even usage and weight pressure distribution. Use an organic mattress protector to keep your mattress clean. For hygiene reasons—due to sweat and accumulation of germs from saliva—pillows should ideally be replaced every year, duvets every few years.

What are the most important factors to consider when buying a mattress?

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Quality

It should ideally be made using high-quality and naturally-sourced sustainable materials to eliminate the possible harmful effects of classic metal springs or synthetic foam, such as electromagnetic field radiation or chemical off-gassing, when you are sleeping. Dormiente’s organic natural latex mattresses are GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standards)- certified with high elasticity and the ability to support your body’s curves naturally. The mattresses are handcrafted in Germany and tested free of 200 types of harmful chemicals. Being anti-dust mite and mould-resistant, they are perfect for allergy sufferers.

Firmness

The correct mattress firmness ensures that your body is supported in a natural position with good spinal alignment. Babies, children and adults require different types of mattresses for good body weight support and even pressure distribution. At dormiente, you can even select female and male body-specific mattresses, which target different support zones like women’s waists and hips and men’s broader shoulders and narrower pelvis areas.

Durability

Natural latex has good elasticity, able to respond exactly in the areas where pressure is exerted and can spring back to its original shape when you change positions during sleep. This helps to ensure the mattress has better durability and a longer lifespan.

Ventilation

With the high humidity and hot weather in Singapore, the open-cell structure of natural latex mattresses have pinholes that enable good ventilation. Coupled with a good mattress cover made with certified organic cotton and pure new wool, the moisture-balancing properties enable efficient airflow, absorb sweat and prevent you from sleeping “too warm” or “too cold.” The mattress cover can also be removed for cleaning or airing under the hot sun.

This post was adapted from an article originally published in the July 2021 issue of SquareRooms.

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