We all want to sleep better. But while chronic insomnia can be a medical problem that requires serious intervention (always check with a doctor), sometimes improving your sleep can be as simple as getting a better bed. And I don’t just mean a new mattress. That’s usually the first and last part of the conversation. But changing up your bed frame can also improve your sleep quality. A good bed frame should support you AND your mattress, improving your sleep and extending the life of the mattress!
Headboard or No Headboard?
Some bed frames come with a headboard and some don’t. This is often framed (pun intended) as an aesthetic choice – with most designers favoring big, bold, even wall-sized headboards. But there are more practical points to consider. Frames without headboards tend to be lighter weight and easier to move. That’s a big plus if you’re trying to find the right spot for your bed in the room, but can be a drawback if you tend to toss and turn in your sleep. A frame with a headboard can provide a hand-hold to help you getting into bed, and better back support once you’re there. If you plan to sit and read a lot, though, make sure to choose a headboard that’s solidly secured to the frame to prevent damage from wear and tear.
Preventing Wiggle Room
Restless sleepers aren’t just in danger of pushing their bed away from the wall – they’re also more likely to move their mattress around on top of their bed frame. This is slightly less of a problem if you choose a box spring over a platform bed (but that all depends on just how restless you are!). A sturdy headboard can help prevent you from creating the cursed gap between the edge of the mattress and the wall, losing your pillows at night, and waking up with a stiff neck. For extra security, look for a bed frame that has raised edges. This way, the frame itself “locks in” your mattress so that it can’t move around off the base. In some of the more discreet designs, it may not look like your bed is sitting in a lowered box at all.
Legs for Days
Unless your mattress is laying flat on the floor (which is a big sleeping no-no!), you should pay attention to your bed frame’s legs. Though it’s less a consideration for the quality of your sleep, the height of your bed (including the legs and box spring, if any) is crucial. Some people struggle to get in a taller bed without hurting themselves, and others with one that’s low to the ground. This comes up a lot with growing children, but a person of any age can struggle without the correct floor-to-bed measurements. Box springs add at least six inches of height to your bed – which can add up to a too-tall mattress; a low-sitting platform bed without the box spring can end up uncomfortably close to the floor. Especially if you’re buying online, it’s important to do this math before you buy to ensure your mattress is a comfortable height.
Stopping the Frame Gap
Underneath your bed is also a rarely disturbed space that’s out of sight, accumulating dust, pet hair, and lost belongings. If you want the elevation of frame legs without that gap underneath the mattress, you have two choices. You can combat this with a solid frame that leaves no openings, or with dresser built into the frame. In both cases, these make the bed much heavier if you ever have to move it. On the flip side, a heavier bed is harder to move accidentally, and a closed bottom can help minimize nighttime allergy problems. Plus with a storage bed frame, you don’t lose that valuable under bed space to hold linens, shoes, or whatever you’d like.
Choosing Your Frame Material
Each material has a different weight limit and stress endurance. You don’t want to jump into bed for a movie marathon and have it crack beneath you because of the force, but you also don’t want to try to rotate your mattress and throw out your back instead. The place where this matters the most, though, is where it’s the least visible: directly underneath the mattress. Especially if you opt for a platform bed without its paired box spring, you absolutely must ensure that the platform is properly supporting your mattress. A shoddily made platform will warp with use – which will cause your mattress to wear unevenly and can significantly impact your sleep. While I don’t fall in camp “box spring or nothing,” there’s no point in spending big bucks on a really nice mattress just to put it on a bed frame that will ruin it.
Adding That Extra Flourish
Most people treat their bed frames as a purely aesthetic piece of furniture; the mattress is the “useful” part and the frame is for looks. My first counter is: a good frame should do a lot more than look pretty. But second to that, a bed frame that looks and feels nice is also an important part of creating an environment that’s conducive to sleep. So while I’d put step one as getting a quality mattress, and step two triple-checking your bed frame’s measurements, step three? Is definitely finding a look you like. Whether it’s a soft, inviting upholstery, a luscious carved wood frame, or a modern platform with built-in mood lighting, a bed that invites you to settle in and relax is your first stop on a road to a better night’s sleep.
If you’ve found yourself struggling to get a good night’s sleep, it might be time to take a big-picture look at your bedroom set. While a new mattress can make all the difference, you’ll get much more mileage out of a mattress thoughtfully paired with a bed frame that meets your sleep needs.