It follows news that athletes staying in the Olympic Village are being accommodated on beds that are smaller than the average child’s bed. At just 170cm long (5ft 8in), they are a whole 17.5 centimetres (7in) shorter than a standard single bed.
Said Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council: “Although extensions are available, the standard sized bed issued in the Olympic village is far shorter than the average sized male athlete – and quite a lot of female ones too.
“Our advice to people is to always buy as big a bed as you can afford as having a bed that ‘fits’ will considerably improve the chances of a good night’s sleep. And along with healthy food and exercise, a good night’s sleep is vital to feeling and performing well. As a guide, ideally your bed should be about 15cm longer than your height and, if it’s for two, you should have enough room to lie down side by side with your hands behind your head and elbows not touching.”
As well as length, the width of a bed is an issue for many people – especially couples sharing a standard double bed. At just 135cm (4ft 6in) wide, the standard English double bed gives each person just 67cms (2ft 3in) of space – less than a baby in a cot!
Said Jessica Alexander: “Ergonomic studies show that couples sleep better in a bigger bed. Quite simply, more room gives less partner disturbance.”
Although larger beds have become more popular over the last few years, it’s still the case that the UK has one of narrowest and shortest standard bed sizes in Europe – but at just 135cm x 190cm they still outsell larger sizes by more than two to one. In many countries across Europe and the rest of the world, a standard double is considered to be 160cm x 220cm – bigger than our King size!
It doesn’t necessarily cost a whole heap more to move up a size either. Over seven years, for every £500 spent on a new bed it costs less than 2p per night to upgrade from standard to King size.
And given that we’re all getting bigger, the size issue becomes even more important. According to The Mail Online (December 2011), the average weight of women in Britain is rising. In 1991, Miss Average weighed 10st 5lb, but today, she tips the scales at 11st.
“The bigger we are, the bigger the bed we need” says Jessica. “Whether you’re an Olympic athlete or an Olympic would-be, the size of bed you sleep in can have a significant effect on the quality of your sleep and in turn, the level of personal performance. Either in the sporting arena or just in everyday life.”
For more information on how to get a good night’s sleep visit www.sleepcouncil.org.uk