Product Promotion Network

Comfort

A new app from an Assassin’s Creed dev encourages you to stay in bed

For the duration of #SelfCare — not quite a video game, yet full of gamified tasks — you will stay in bed. Created by Tru Luv, a studio founded by former Assassin’s Creed dev Brie Code and writer Eve Thomas, #SelfCare is a series of breathing or focus exercises. One activity has you piecing together words like “unfollow” or “overslept” by dragging letter blocks; another simply asks that you pet your virtual cat by rubbing the screen.

The goal isn’t to win or achieve a high score, but rather reflect on your own needs and take a beat; #SelfCare is a “digital companion” meant to help you do just that.

Code, speaking to The Verge via email, reflects on her time as an AI programmer and her focus on the connections between characters in games. She recalls convincing a friend to play Skyrim, who later called her crying after accidentally killing a companion character. “[My friend] told me in that conversation that all these years, it wasn’t that she wasn’t interested in video games, it was that she didn’t know what they could be,” Code says. “She didn’t know you could develop a connection, a kinship, with a character in a game.”

This is where the concept of #SelfCare’s “companion” status comes from: someone or something that joins you on your adventures. “Most apps either tell you what to do, or present you with too many options and ask to be told what to do,” says Code. “At TRU LUV we want to create companions who have their own goals and personality but who are along with you as you achieve your own goals. You help each other.”

#SelfCare doesn’t bug you to constantly check in, but rather greets you with encouragement each time you open it.

In this world, you are allowed to stay in bed and ignore your phone. Maybe consider drawing a tarot card from a stack on the floor, or try some breathing exercises instead.

Code and Thomas pursued self care as their subject because “we and our colleagues have developed extensive self-care habits to survive,” says Code. This can be anything from knitting or journaling to setting up spaces that offer comfort. “Women are working long hours, but we are still largely managing our households, too,” says Code.

“And at work, women and other underrepresented people are facing unconscious — and blatantly conscious — bias and hitting glass ceilings.

Our performance evaluations focus on our personalities and not our results, and we’re expected to pick up office housework and do emotional labor for our colleagues and then perhaps we are told we are too emotional. We’re exhausted. And we’re now faced with the prospect of internet harassment if we make it through all this and do become successful.”

The rise of movements focused around self-care is no accident; Code herself points to the anxiety she sometimes feels when dipping into stressful games or apps. “The world feels increasingly uncertain,” says Code. “We’re facing global warming, automation of entire industries, and a growing fascism movement.” One person can’t change the world, she says, but they can impact their little corner of it. “I am fighting for change in my industry and I want to be at my best,” she says. “I want to be calm and clear about my objectives …

Maybe we can help a few people feel a bit stronger and a bit more ready to get out of bed and face their days, too.”

Where should you buy your next mattress?

Our latest survey results rank the best and worst mattress retailers in the UK – the top company earned a customer score of 89 out of 100, while the joint-lowest managed only 69. Our survey of 3,896 Which? members assessed 12 mattress retailers for customer satisfaction, quality of advice offered, ease of delivery, value for money and more, so you’ll know whether your mattress shopping experience will be smooth sailing or a total headache. See the full results: the best and worst mattress retailers[1] of 2018

The two retailers at the bottom of the list got by far the worst ratings for the value for money they offer. One unhappy customer said: ‘The company we used failed abysmally on its delivery promises. At one stage we were on the verge of cancelling the transaction.’

What do the top shops get right?

Buying the perfect mattress can be a challenge.

From choosing the filling and the level of firmness you want, to deciding whether to buy direct online, go to a store and arrange delivery, or haul it home in your car boot, there are a lot of choices to be made. The best high street mattress retailers should give great advice and allow you to try out lots of different mattresses without adding unnecessary pressure to buy immediately. A good online mattress retailer should have a clear, easy-to-find delivery and returns policy on its website.

The best will offer a free trial period, within which you can decide whether you want to keep the mattress or return it for a full refund. One happy customer of our top-rated retailer said that its delivery service was ‘simple, focused and efficient, and executed exactly as promoted.’ Of a highly rated high-street store, one customer said it had ‘friendly and useful advice, with no pressure and plenty of time to choose.’

The effect of online mattress retailers

Despite doing well in our past surveys, Warren Evans has not been included this year, as it has gone into administration.

Is its downfall a telling sign of the decline of the British high street and the rise of online shopping? The mattress market has shifted slightly in recent years. A growing number of relatively new companies sell exclusively online, delivering straight to your door.

This cuts down on showroom and middle-man fees, and many of these retailers claim that this means they offer better quality at lower prices. Our full mattress survey of Which? members found that 17% have already jumped on this trend and bought directly online, without trying the mattress beforehand in a store. In an online poll we ran with the general public in July 2018, 33% of respondents said they were most likely to buy their next mattress online.

We’ve tested mattresses from both online and traditional brands in our lab – head to our mattress reviews[2] to find out how they compare.

Our top bed shopping tips

Regardless of whether you buy in-store or shop online, follow to ensure you buy the best possible bed and mattress for you.

  • Measure your space Before anything else, make sure you have the space for the size bed you’re shopping for – whether single, double, king-size or super king-size.
  • Try a few in-store This will help you get a feel for what you prefer, as memory foam and pocket sprung, and soft and firm mattresses can all feel very different. This should even be the case if you plan on buying direct from online, as it will help you choose which to get, saving you the faff of returning it. Read our full guide on choosing the best type of mattress[3] for more information on each filling.
  • Bring along your bed partner If you’re shopping for a mattress for two, bring along your partner.

    Their tastes could be different to yours, so it’s important to make the decision together.

  • Know the right questions to ask This can include what the guarantee covers and for how long, and how much delivery will cost.

For more advice, read our full list of the top 10 bed-shopping tips[4], including how to haggle for a better price.

The best and worst mattress brands

We run an annual survey to ask thousands of Which? members about their mattress and bedding. This year, more than 5,600 took part and rated and ranked 20 mattress brands, 16 pillow brands, 11 duvet brands and, of course, 11 mattress retailers. Once you’ve found out which retailers to avoid for your new mattress, check our list of the best mattress brands of 2018[5] to find out which topped the league table to be the top-rated for comfort and value for money.

If it’s not quite time for a new mattress, but you could do with a new bedding set, head to our guides to the best pillow brands[6] and best duvet brands[7] to help you decide.

References

  1. ^ best and worst mattress retailers (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ mattress reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ choosing the best type of mattress (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ top 10 bed-shopping tips (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ best mattress brands of 2018 (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ best pillow brands (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ best duvet brands (www.which.co.uk)