Peter Bates > How wide are your beds?

How wide are your beds?

Click here for a broader discussion about this topic.

We spend a third of our lives in bed, so where we sleep really matters. Feeling comfortable and safe is even more important when we are sick or sad or scared – many of us get under the duvet when life threatens to overwhelm us. We watch TV in bed, make love, read, talk, play with the children, sleep like a starfish, dream and Zoom. Across the developed world, beds have been getting larger, but is this trend affecting the residents of care homes?

How wide is your bed?

If you can help by clicking on this survey and answering a few questions or by inviting others to do so, I’d be grateful. The results will be posted on this webpage as they become available.

The survey is very brief and does not ask about bed occupancy, about couples or about activities – these subjects are left for another time.

This study is unfunded, driven by simple curiosity. It forms part of a larger discussion about care homes being homely and family-like.


An email advertising the survey was sent to some care home providers in October 2020. Eight care homes have provided data so far.

Of the 250 beds described:

  • Three were provided by the resident or their family, with 247 (98.8%) provided by the care home.
  • Forty one (16%) were four feet wide or more, although most of these (32) were in one home. In contrast, 90% of adults in the UK and USA sleep on a bed which is at least four feet wide.
  • Forty three percent of the beds have disability adaptations in the form of rails to prevent the person falling out or mechanisms to raise or posture the bed. Adapted beds can be great, but care is also needed to ensure that they do not end up causing harm, as inappropriate use can be a restrictive practice, and hundreds of residents have died as a result of falling or getting trapped in bed rails.
  • Two of the eight homes routinely offer residents a choice of the size of their bed.