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Setting off to college is one of the most significant turning points for every young adult, especially if you have in-rolled in a college that is far away from your family. You will have to take care of yourself, manage money and use your time efficiently if you want things to get done. To put it simply – you’ll have to be an adult (or at least try to be one).
It will take some time to get used to the new surroundings, new people and the change in yourself. Sounds slightly overwhelming, but don’t worry you’ll get the hang of it. In the meanwhile, during your mental preparation and your packing list, there are some things you shouldn’t forget.
Make sleep one of your priorities
Easier said than done, since you’ll be busy as a beaver, but before you write it off as ‘mission impossible’ you might want to take some things into account. As you already know, sleep is vital for your optimal academic performance, good mood, overall health, and although you are young, the body can only endure so much.
You might not notice it at first, but after the excitement and adrenalin wear off a bit, if you created an unhealthy sleeping pattern you will be sleep deprived at some point which can lead to increased anxiety and a gradual drop in your GPA.
There is also another thing that can prevent you from getting quality sleep – your mattress. Getting a good mattress in your dorm is often a matter of luck, but even if you cannot replace it, there are some things you can do to make yourself more comfortable, like investing in high-quality bedding. Of course, as a student, your budget is probably tight, but we highly encourage you to consider setting some money aside for a high-quality bedding and mattress. They are a wise investment as you’ll probably use them for a long time.
One other cool thing is that you can find quality mattresses at a reasonable price – online. Later we will discuss which websites are the best for online shopping, but now let’s see what your mattress needs as a college student are.
Your mattress needs will depend on your accommodation. If you live in a dorm, you will already have a bed and should you wish to change your mattress you will have to consult your school just in case.
If you live off campus, then you will have to buy most of the bedding, but you will have much more freedom to choose what you prefer.
Living at Dorm
Living on campus means that you will already have a bed. Most dorms have a Twin XL mattress; standard Twin measures 39 inches x 75 inches, and Twin XL is 39 inches x 80 inches (five–inch difference matters especially if you are taller). Make sure you get the right measurements before purchasing a bedding set.
The thickness of the mattress is about 7-9 inches which is slightly lower compared to average ones (10 inches thick). If your fitted sheet is deep enough that will make you more comfortable and you can always buy padding for extra coziness.
Buying a new bed usually costs between 100 dollars and over 600 dollars, and since most dorms have board foundations or box springs, you can get mattress only. But if you feel that you can’t afford it at the moment, an excellent solution would be to get a foam topper which can save you money and give yourself good quality sleep.
Note – Sagging rips, funny smell aka odor, bed bugs and tears are a sign you should replace the mattress as soon as possible even if the school says “it’s not that bad.”
Living in an Apartment off Campus
More often than not, you will have to furnish most of the apartment which is a bit pricy, but on the bright side, you get to pick items that you like. You can choose from standard twin to king size if the bedroom is big enough. These examples are also applicable if you live at home.
Mattress can cost from 100 dollars up to even 4000 dollars, depending on its construction and the model. You have a variety of choices; from innerspring, memory foam to hybrid and more. The standard twin size innerspring bed is around 100 dollars. Memory foam beds have a higher cost, but the quality justifies it. Many people say that the construction of memory foam beds helps them alleviate pain pressure and feel well rested.
Firmness is an essential factor to consider when you are thinking of comfort. Based on your most common sleeping position you should check which level of firmness will give you proper spinal alignment. For instance, if you are a stomach sleeper or a back sleeper, a mattress that is firmer will help you get the support you need, so you don’t wake up with aches in the morning. On the other hand, side sleepers will enjoy a softer mattress that will provide close contouring of the body.
Another thing to consider when buying a mattress is its lifespan. Most mattresses last eight years, so it would be a good idea to choose one that suits your needs and make the most of that purchase. Be wise and think ahead.
Whether you live in the dorm or off-campus something that you can always change is the bedding, plus it is much more hygienic to use one which is brand new.
The bedding should include pillows with 2 pillowcases, sheets, mattress topper for protection and hygiene, blankets, and comforters. Not only is it practical but it can also embellish your room because you have a variety of colors and patterns to choose from, so you won’t buy excessive decoration.
Pillows and pillowcases – You can find many types of pillows, made from natural material or alternative ones. Most popular ones are made from memory foam, latex, cotton, etc. that adjust to your sleeping position making you more comfortable during the night and are dust mites resistant. Feather pillows are comfortable as well, but you might want to avoid it if you are a person that is allergy-prone. Getting decorative pillows can increase comfort as well as make your room cozier. Many stores sell sets of sheets and pillowcases so you can easily find ones that can suit your taste.
Sheets – These days many manufacturers offer sheets that are combined or 100% specific fabric, so it is effortless to find ones for a good deal. Cotton is the most common choice because it is natural and durable. So if you are looking for a cotton sheet make sure you pay attention to the thread count because the higher the number of the thread the better feel it gives. Recommended thread count for it is 300. An optimal count for most fabric goes from 200 to 800. Poly-fabric sheets, like polyester, are an inexpensive choice but can often leave a rough feel on the skin. If you are allergy-prone, you can get organic sheets that are not chemically treated. Lastly, sheets that are fitted are a smart choice because they are durable.
Mattress toppers – This is a smart buy if your current mattress is not thick enough. You can choose an economic one like egg crate foam. It is inexpensive, convenient, and transportable, but it might absorb heat. The latex topper offers excellent support, but it too can absorb heat. Cotton topper provides the best price and comfort, but it is not as durable. Feather topper gives a lux feeling, but to maintain the shape, it might need occasional fluffing. Wool topper has excellent regulation of temperature and provides comfort, but it doesn’t have a high level of cushioning compared to others.
Search for the one that gives you the biggest support and comfort if you suffer from back pain.
Comforter and blanket – Getting a high–quality comforter is vital if your college is located in a colder area. We recommend investing in one that will last for a long time and natural comforters usually do. One hundred percent cotton will give you comfort, warmth, and durability and it’s best to wash in water that is cold. The polyester ones will not last very long. Remember, the key to good comforter is the filling. The higher amount of filling equals heavier and warmer comforter. Of course, if you live in a place where the climate is warmer, you can get a comforter with lower fill power. This way you get the weight but not the warmth. It is always good to use a lighter blanket under the comforter to prevent excessive heat, and if you choose a comforter that contains microfiber, you won’t need to use a blanket at all. If you are not sure which color or pattern you want, you can get a comforter that is reversible. That way you can freshen up the look of your room.
Best Shopping Websites
If you are not sure where to start your search here are some examples of online websites and benefits of using them
- Walmart – A cool thing is that you don’t have to go directly to the store; all you have to do is browse their pages which contain a wide range of products, including mattresses. You can often get good deals and discounts. Walmart offers the possibility of returning the item within 30 days, but you have to ship it rather than returning it to the local store.
- Costco – Many customers that have been shopping there have said that they are very satisfied with the return policy and customer service. If you feel like you need to test out the product before buying it, no problem! Just go to their store, but you will need a membership card to purchase anything from Costco.
- Amazon – You can find everything and anything on Amazon. The web site offers a wide range of mattress brands and outstanding returning policy including free shipping. The search and filter option helps you to narrow down your choice to find what you want.
- Mattress – As the name says they specialize in providing only the best mattress and bedding products with free delivery.
- Wayfair – This website is known for its high–quality customer service, return policy and fast delivery (within 24h). You can often find a variety of choices and at an affordable price.
- Overstock – What makes this site stand out is the exclusive search tool that helps you to find a mattress that best suits you. You can find discounts on mattresses quite often.
Here are a few things to remember when choosing the best bedding
The quality topper is a smart investment – Even if you own a very uncomfortable mattress, the topper will minimize it and help you get a good rest.
Don’t forget the mattress cover – You don’t know who has slept on the mattress before you and how that person maintained it, so it is safer to use a cover. You can even get an encasement with a zipper to prevent bed.
Purchase two packs of sheets – You might not wash them as often, so two would be enough for a start.
Quality and durability are a priority – Instead of spending money on bedding after a year or two; it is better to pay a little extra in the beginning and then use those for a long time. When you calculate the cost, you will see that you’ll save money in the long run.
Duvet vs. comforter – One thing that makes a duvet more practical then comforter is the washing process. All you have to do is to take off the cover and wash it separately.
We hope that this information can help you check at least one thing off of your list as you pack and plan to step out into the real world. Welcome to adulthood!
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A fashion designer by profession, writer by choice and bookworm – always. As a person struggling with anxiety for years and someone who loves to sleep, I can relate to the struggles of getting a good night’s rest. When I’m not doing sleep research, I enjoy reading books, being involved in creative activities and discovering the best use of my Moka pot.