Mattress buying guide: How to choose a mattress
From open spring to a memory foam one, we look at the ins and outs of mattresses
Getting a great night’s sleep is essential to staying healthy and happy. But buying a one without doing your research first can lead to sleepless nights and achy mornings, if you aren’t sleeping on a supportive base. And they can cost anything from a few hundred pounds to thousands, so you’ll want to make sure that the one you buy is worth the investment.
In this article we have put together everything you need to know before you hit the high street shops. So whether you sleep on your side or suffer from chronic back pain, read on to find out which one is best for you and your sleep needs.
Types of mattresses
Open spring mattress: These types of mattress are also known as open coil or continuous coil mattresses. These contain one long piece of metal wire coiled into numerous springs. There’s also an extra border rod or wire to maintain shape and provide structure. It’s a great value for money option if you are on a tight budget, although sides are machine-stitched rather than hand-stitched, but they are lighter than other mattresses, making them easy to turn over. They tend to be less supportive than other mattresses though, so are most suited to guest bedrooms or as a children’s bed, where they are used occasionally or may need replacing regularly.
Pocket sprung: This type is of higher quality, and it’s made from individual, small springs housed in their own pocket of fabric. This means each spring moves independently, providing more support than a open spring one. You can buy soft, medium or firm variants, depending on your preference, and they are more breathable than say memory foam or latex mattresses. These are heavy to turn though and can be filled with natural materials such as lamb or sheepswool. This is a good choice if you’re looking for a bed for two people, as the separate springs will cater for your different needs and body weights, while they will also help reduce the risk of you rolling towards your partner in the middle of the night.
Memory foam: These modern mattresses are made from memory foam, which is a mouldable material that also responds to temperature and weight, and has hypo-allergenic properties. This means it will mould to the shape of your body and absorb your weight and relieve pressure on your joints. Not everyone likes the sinking feeling of this type of mattress however, but it’s ideal for those who need support or suffer from a bad back, as it will maintain posture and align your spine horizontally when sleeping on your side.
Latex: As the name suggests, these mattresses are filled with latex foam, which is a breathable material, so you won’t overheat in the middle of the night. It’s also extremely durable and should last for many years to come. And it’s a good choice for those with allergies or asthma. They can feel rather solid at first though, so they’re better suited to those who prefer a firmer one. Usually heavier, latex mattresses can be difficult to turn over and cheaper or low budget ones can develop lumps and bumps over time.
These are considered the UK standard sizes for mattresses:
- Small single: 75cm x 190cm
- Single: 90cm x 190cm
- Small double: 120cm x 190cm
- Double: 135cm x 190cm
- Kingsize: 150cm x 200cm
- Super kingsize: 180cm x 200cm
How firm your mattress is will affect how well you sleep. The type of firmness you need will depend on your sleeping position, height and weight. Here we explain what level of firmness is best for what type of sleeper.
Soft: Side sleepers or those who change position during the night are best suited to a soft mattresses. This is because the way you sleep already relieves pressure from your spine so you want it to mould to your body’s natural position.
Medium soft: This is ideal for those who change their sleeping position during the night, as it will still mould to your body position but provide a little more support than a softer one.
Medium firm: This is best for those who sleep on their back as you require extra lower back support, which this type of firmness provides.
Firm: This type is ideal for those who sleep on their front, are over 15 stone or suffer from back pain. This is because it will keep your back in a relatively comfortable and stable position without allowing you to sink into it as you sleep, which could cause lower back pain.
Which mattress will I need if I suffer from joint or back pain?
A good one needs to give both support and comfort and that includes ones for those who suffer from back pain.
Although a firm mattress is recommended by some retailers, you should always look for one that keeps your back aligned while sleeping and relieves pressure points along your spine and joints. This has a lot to do with your weight (generally, the heavier you are, the firmer it needs to be), so it’s best to try a mattress before you buy.
Your pillow will also affect your sleeping position and back alignment so make sure you pick one that suits your needs.
Once your new mattress is delivered, make sure you let it air for at least four hours. This will help remove any storage smells. Ideally, the mattress should then be aired weekly by removing the bed clothes. Also, remember to turn your mattress regularly as well. This will help stop dips from forming and your weight altering part of the mattress.
Having a protector will also help keep your mattress clean and in good condition. A mattress protector (or mattress cover) is a sheet that goes on your mattress before your bed linen to protect your mattress from any stains or dirt.
You should replace your mattresses every 8 to 10 years as a rule. This is not only for hygiene reasons but because it will soften over time, reducing the support it gives you. If you feel sore when you wake up or you find you sleep better in other beds, it’s time for a change.
A mattress topper is an extra layer of cushioning that goes over your mattress before you put your bed linen on. They help provide additional support and comfort, while also making your bed feel more luxurious and comfortable. You can pick from a wide choice of materials such as: goose feathers, polyester, cotton and wool.
If you would like to talk to a member of our team, call us on 01803 882341. We have a large choice of mattresses on display in our showroom and can also offer quick FREE Local Delivery. We can also take away your old one (small charge will apply).