Not sleeping well? You may need a new mattress. A bed with the correct support, comfort and space will ensure you wake less, move about less, are less disturbed by your partner and less likely to wake up feeling tired, according to the Sleep Council.
But with such a big investment, where do you start? We’ve got all the information about when you need a new mattress, what to look for and where to buy.
We tested each mattress for a minimum of three nights, taking into consideration comfort, support, durability, value for money and what kind of sleeper the product would best suit.
All of the prices we’ve listed are for a standard double, but we’ve also included a list of all of the sizes that are available for each mattress for your reference.
Somewhere around seven to eight years is the average lifespan for a mattress, according to the National Bed Federation. Budget ones often need replacing more regularly, while better quality ones could last you as long as a decade.
But when do you know? Tell-tale signs include dipping in the middle causing roll-together, worn fabric and squeaky springs. And if your bed just doesn’t provide the same level of support it used to, that’s another clue.
“Other signs that you may need a new mattress include sleeping better in beds other than your own, waking with aches and pains, not feeling refreshed in the morning,” says Simon Williams, spokesperson for the National Bed Federation.
“Also remember that people change – we put on weight, lose weight, become ill etc – all things which might mean that our bed is no longer suitable for our needs.”
Pocket sprung mattresses provide good, independent support – ideal where two users may be quite different in stature. The individual pocket springs also help reduce roll-together.
“Spring counts for a king size vary from a basic 600-800 up to 2,500 but can go up to many thousands by dual layering or adding layers of mini pocket springs,” says Williams. Like other types they are made in a range of tensions.
Mattresses with a top layer of memory foam are great for providing additional pressure relief – ideal if you sleep on your side or suffer with painful hips, shoulders, knees. They conform to body contours, slowly responding to the user’s shape.
“The deeper the memory foam layer, the more pressure relief is provided,” says Williams, adding that, “for it to operate correctly, memory foam needs to be combined with a support layer underneath it which could be springs or other types of foam”.
As a rule of thumb, heavier people should avoid mattresses that are too soft as they won’t provide sufficient support, while lighter people should steer away from very firm mattresses (which can cause pain in the hips and shoulders). Medium support suits most people best and you could consider a topper if you find it needs slightly softening or firming up.
Always check the internal dimensions of your bedframe before you buy a mattress to fit inside it. “You’ll need a small amount of space around the mattress to be able to tuck in sheets and blankets, but you don’t want the gaps to be excessive which may cause the mattress to move during the night,” says Williams.
Some retailers offer comfort guarantee periods – typically around 40-50 nights – while many of the direct-to-your-door mattress in a box brands offer no quibble trials of 100 nights or more.
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