It is very difficult thing to choose a bed these days and it has become increasingly harder and harder in the years I have been in practice. The range and diversity of bases, mattresses, types of fillings and any number of combinations, has made it almost impossible to know where to begin. What you have to keep front of mind is to listen to your body and its needs. When you pick a mattress, listen to your body and the comfort and support you needs — not what the sales person tells you. So let’s go through the basics, starting with your existing bed. All mattresses have a use-by-date of generally about 10 — 12 years after purchase. Mattresses wear out from a combination of factors which include loss of support, sagging around your hips or shoulders and — as disgusting as it may sound — the millions of skin cells, dust mites and litres of fluid that have accumulated over the years! If are you able to turn your bed over, do so. Also spin it around, head to feet. But be careful. I have spent a lot of time treating patients who have just lifted a mattress. So get at least two or three people to help, if possible. Because you won’t be applying weight to the same spot every night for 10 years, this simple rotation will prolong the life of the mattress. Once a month is preferable. Remove your sheets and mattress cover (if you use one), and smell your mattress all over. If the smell turns up your nose do you think you should sleep on it? Next, have a look at the mattress without the sheets or covers. Get down to eye level and see if you can spot any dips or waves. Try running your hand over it and see if the support feels the same all over. Dips and waves and uneven support mean the mattress has had its day. Time to say goodbye. If you have difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position each night, then most likely the mattress is at fault. Time for a new one. Bed bases also vary in material from ensemble to slats to springs. Again have a look at your base. See how it looks and smells. And remember, a new mattress should match the base, as the base affects the support of the mattress. I tell my patients to go to a bedding shop that has a diverse range of different mattresses — latex, spring, foam or any combination — you should try them all. Have an idea of what price you want to pay. Also, think clearly about whether or not you need a new base as well. Try to sample a range of beds with one thought in mind: your bed should offer you support that is not too soft or too hard. Don’t be afraid to lie on the mattress for a while, then go for a walk and come back in 10 minutes to try it again. Your bed is something that you will have to live with for the next 10 years. So choose wisely. This is the one time when your purchase should not be based on a dollar value, but rather quality. “Body Zones” in a mattress are a good idea but in the end, you and your partner need to be properly supported. One last mattress hint: make sure the store delivers and carries your new purchase to your bedroom. You don’t want the mattress hurting your back before you’ve even laid down.