When it comes to choosing the best mattress, it all comes down to personal taste. Some people like a super soft affair whereas others prefer them to be made of sterner stuff. The wide range of options makes things even harder – you can choose from traditional, pocket-sprung, ones with actual memories, all the way to more modern mattresses that are delivered, compressed in a box and seem to leap out at you on arrival. Scary.
Anyway, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you should change your mattress every 8 years (even though high-quality mattresses can last 10 years or even longer). After 7 years of use, you’ll have spent more than 20k hours on your mattress (jeez) which is quite long enough to wear it out. If you notice that you don’t sleep well any longer or find yourself suffering from pain and stiffness when you wake up, then wake up; it’s time to go mattress shopping. Here are 8 IDEAL tips to help you choose the right mattress for you.
CHOOSING THE BEST MATTRESS SIZE
In general, people tend to buy beds that are too small for their frames. Many decide to go for a double bed, 55 inches (140cm) wide and not actually enough for two adult people to sleep on comfortably. When you’re sharing a bed, go for the biggest one that fits in your bedroom if you value your comfort. Then, choose a mattress that matches your bed’s frame. Unless you sleep with your mattress on the floor, the shape and size of your bed will determine how big or how small your mattress should be. You do not want a floating mattress or an overflowing one, that’s for sure. Choose one that fits snugly, just as you’d like to be. Below are 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
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Of course, you’ll never know for certain if a mattress is right for you until you have actually slept in it yourself. But, you do need to make sure the mattress provides suitable comfort and support. There are two options: you can try the mattress out in the store by actually, physically lying on it or, if you’re shopping online, look for a mattress that comes with a trial period. Though the latter seems more complicated and the effort in returning one deemed unsuitable larger, it represents the more diligent test run. Ask yourself; how much do you value your sleep?
UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENT MATTRESS TYPES
The terminology can be impenetrable, but here’s a brief rundown of the different types you’ll likely be presented with:
- Memory foam mattresses mold depending on your body shape, which means that your partner won’t disturb you when s/he tosses and turns during the night (yay – unless that’s your thing of course). Many ‘new generation’ memory foam mattresses arrive at your door either rolled or vacuum-packed. And while they do keep their shape well, they also tend to hold body heat which can make you feel sweaty and hot at night.
- Latex mattresses are very similar to memory foam mattresses. If you’re going for a latex mattress, choose natural instead of synthetic latex. Natural latex is more resistant to dust mites and mold and it also has antimicrobial properties.
- Coil mattresses are generally the most affordable options, however they’re often quite uncomfortable – they move a lot and, in some models, you can even feel the coils. In addition, coil mattresses wear out very fast and tend to sag in the middle. A sad sight (and feeling) indeed. So if you decide to buy one of these, be ready to be disturbed frequently during the night.
- Pocket-sprung mattresses are the most traditional option. The springs make the mattress bouncy but also durable and quite supportive. Unlike memory foam and latex, pocket-sprung mattresses don’t mold to your body shape or hold body heat.
- Hybrid mattresses are mixes and combinations of the mattress types mentioned above. For instance, a hybrid mattress can have a memory foam top layer and a pocket-sprung core.
FIRM OR SOFT?
As a rule of thumb, heavier people prefer firmer mattresses because they provide better support, whereas lighter people opt for softer or medium mattresses. But that is a very general rule. You should also consider personal preference and your natural sleeping position, of course.
If you’re unsure which model to choose, take a look at companies who offer a diverse range of sizes, shapes and materials for comparison. Ghostbed mattresses, for instance, provide variety and stability whether you like soft or firm mattresses and are worth a look.
HOW DO YOU SLEEP?
When choosing the perfect mattress, you should definitely consider your preferred sleeping position prior to purchase. Here are some general guidelines to help you choose a mattress according to your sleeping position
- Back Sleepers – People who prefer sleeping on their backs can opt for any type of mattress, but the best choice is a mattress with solid support to keep the spine straight.
- Front Sleepers – Memory foam can make front sleepers feel somewhat restrained, whereas pocket-sprung and latex mattresses provide perfect support.
- Side Sleepers – Side sleepers should look for a mattress that offers pressure relief. The best option is a hybrid with a pocket-sprung core and a soft top layer, but you can also opt for latex or memory foam mattresses. Stay away from very firm mattresses as they can cause pain.
CONSIDER YOUR BED
Yes, your bed base can influence both the performance and the feel of the mattress, so it’s wise to check which type of bed base is recommended by the mattress manufacturer. Many recommend a bed base with sprung slats that absorbs movement and offers solid support. Platform bases also provide a firm foundation and good support.
THE NEED TO TURN
Most mattresses should be turned from time to time to ensure uniform wear, while some mattresses only require rotating instead of turning. Take this into consideration when buying a mattress because some models can be really heavy and this can be a real drag to do with any semblance of regularity. The best option would be to buy a mattress that needs no rotating or turning if effort isn’t your jam.
WHAT ABOUT THE WARRANTY?
You should check the warranty to see if it covers manufacturing defects such as popped springs or foam failing to bounce back. For vigorous bed users, this should be a dealbreaker. If the mattress gets damaged because you haven’t used a mattress protector or the recommended base, the warranty may be invalid. Be sure to have those finer details finessed prior to purchase.