Many ailments are due to inadequate rest. In this piece, EMMANUEL JEREMIAH and JANET OGUNDEPO look at mattress brands in Nigeris and consumers’ preference
Migraines. Aches and pains. Diabetes. Cardiovascular diseases. Obesity. Depression. Hypertension. Any of these can be caused by deprived sleep; hence experts recommend at least eight hours of sleep daily for adults, even more for younger ones.
Looking forward to a good sleep is a fundamental human crave and the bed is where such cravings are quenched. Associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr Karen Carlson, agrees thus, “The bed needs to be a stimulus for sleeping, not for wakefulness.”
Health practitioners have constantly warned that irregular or inadequate sleep is detrimental to health. The President of Nigerian Society of Physiotherapy, Dr Nnenna Chigbo, said, “Irregular sleep, in the short term, negatively impacts attention span, memory recall and learning. In the long term, it increases risk of obesity, diabetes and weakened immune system.”
So, the bed, being a sanctuary of rest, should be one that promotes comfort and quality sleep.
There are beds and there are beds. What makes a quality bed is the mattress on it. No arguments. In Nigeria, there are different mattress brands. The good, the manageable. For new mattresses, it may be akin to the labour of Hercules to pick out the good from the lot. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
A journey through the Mushin area of Agege Motor Road in Lagos State, home to various mattress brands, presented to Financial Street various mattresses such that some are branded on buildings as a marketing stunt.
Brands churn out different mattress sizes and texture to meet the varying needs of users.
Price, texture, comfort, space, promotion and family influence determine the choice of individuals in purchasing a mattress.
Great Isibor, who prefers Mouka Foam brand, told Financial Street, “It is better and stronger. I have slept on Vitafoam and other brands, but I still prefer Mouka. It is hard. I just like Mouka.”
About half a century ago, Vitafoam had no rival in the country when quality is the factor. Even the makers took pride in it, that they included in their promotion that buyers should not be discouraged by the price, as “the benefits inherent in the product are so much.”
According to Daniel Katchy, it is not about the brand, but what works best for the buyer; the one that is strong enough to accommodate what comes with sleeping on bed.
He explained that Sara and Mouka were the brands he had used the most, but using Mouka at the moment.
“As at the time we were going to purchase the mattress, the seller recommended Mouka,” added.
Presently, orthopaedic mattress is arguably the best in the country. Though the price is not anywhere near ordinary mattresses.
Manager of Transcorp Hotel, Mr Albert Kusi, says the beds they use at the hotel are all imported brands because of their durability, as most of the local brands wear off overtime. However, Kusi has been using Mouka in his house for over 10 years and is satisfied with it.
For Mr Chijioke Chukwubuikem of Universal Hotel, Vitafoam is more reliable.
He added, “Although Mouka is doing something now to come up with a competition by designing certain products to suit hotels, for me, Vitafoam has proved very reliable, even in adjustment of bed sizes to suit different types of hotels. It has also proved very reliable in quality and flexibility.”
Having sampled both Mouka and Vitafoam, Chukwubuikem believes that Vitafoam is of good quality.
“The issue at a time was that Mouka’s quality sometimes depreciates, producing dust. So that was the feedback then. But for Vitafoam, there are certain places, that even with constant use since 2008, it is still good.”
At the hotel Chukubuikem manages, the beds in use are all imported.
However, there are brands that are not widely known, but still offer comfort. Anthony Ikerionwu, a distributor of Mouka and Unifoam in Lagos, said, “Customers buy Mouka the most, but for the brand with the best quality of bed, you go for Flora.
“I give the price list of the beds to customers and they buy based on their budget. Different brands have their price ranges for their beds, different quality and sizes.”
Just like the purchase of any other product, there are certain things customers look out for when buying a bed.
A bed distributor, who pleaded anonymity, said his customers buy their mattresses based on preference.
His words, “People have different perspectives, so they choose based on their own preference. But if they do not have a preference, I ask them few questions to help me recommend for them.”
According to him, all brands of mattresses have desirable qualities, but people buy to suit their needs.
“Some people have a weight of 50kg, so they buy the one of 50kg. They may not be specific on brand but on their body weight and choice.”
Daniel Katchy takes into consideration the texture of the bed and prefers to use thick beds because of the body pain very soft beds can cause.
“There are some foams you lay on and by the time you stand up, you leave your imprint. There are some that you sleep on frequently and they press and shrink. So, most times I look at durability and the texture,” Kathy said.
Miss Edidiong Fabian, however, has a preference for soft beds. She said, “Mouka makes me more comfortable.”
But Isibor likes a hard, big and high bed.
“If I sleep on a soft bed, I will have back pain. So I look for the one that is hard. I also like big, high beds. So I consider the length, height and hardness.”
A good rest is largely determined by the quality of the mattress aside other health and environmental considerations. Therefore, having a good knowledge of the type of mattress one uses goes a long way in promoting comfort and rest.
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