A bed is a piece of furniture on which a person sleeps or rests. Most modern beds consist of a soft mattress that either sits directly on the floor, or on a base such as wood slats or a sprung base. Other elements of the bed include a headboard and footboard (optional), or a framed structure that holds the mattress, often with vertical bars or posts known as rails. Beds can also have a fitted sheet and pillowcases. Safety rails (sometimes called cot sides) can be added to one or both sides of the bed to prevent people from falling out.
A good bed provides support and comfort for sleeping, and it should be the right height for the person who uses it. Getting out of a bed that’s too high is difficult and may cause injury, especially for older or disabled people who use mobility aids. A bed should be raised off the ground to prevent insects and other creatures from crawling into it at night. Raising a bed also makes it easier to move around the room, especially for people with limited mobility or physical limitations.
When choosing a new bed, it’s important to consider factors such as size, shape, construction and design, as well as whether the bed is upholstered or not. For example, a wooden bed frame may have panels or slats, while a metal bed frame has vertical and horizontal rods.
The type of mattress also impacts a bed’s performance, with differences in construction and materials helping to determine how it feels to sleep on. For example, memory foam mattresses have a plush feel that many find comfortable, while latex mattresses have a firmer, more rigid texture. Modular firmness models are available for couples who have different preferences, with interchangeable firmness levels easy to switch out over time.
If a person chooses to buy a new bed, they should consider the manufacturer’s warranty, return policy and delivery options. A warranty covers defects in the mattress for a period of time, while a trial period and return policy offer peace of mind when trying out a mattress. Some manufacturers offer in-home delivery and set up, or a boxed mattress that can be easily unpacked and assembled at home.
When making a bed, it’s essential to choose the correct linens for the bed. Most beds require a fitted sheet that is designed to fit snugly over the mattress, with flat or deep pockets to accommodate most types of mattresses. In addition, a pillowcase and a pair of matching shams are often included. Some beds come with a complete bedding set, or “bed in a bag,” which includes all of these linens and more, including a blanket. Other types of bedding include duvets and duvet covers, which can be used with or without a duvet insert. A duvet cover is usually made of a light material such as cotton or linen, while a duvet insert is normally made of down, a warmer fabric such as feathers or down.