The ultimate mattress buying guide: how to choose the perfect one

A lot of thought goes into buying the ideal mattress!

Buying a mattress is no easy task. A quick Google search brings out more than 420 million results, so where to start? Choosing a the perfect mattress is actually not as difficult as it seems, you just need to know what needs to be considered beforehand, what to avoid when buying and what really is important. HELLO! has talked to Phil Lawlor, Sleep Expert at Dormeo to create the ultimate mattress buying guide and answer all those difficult questions.

What different types of mattresses are available?

Dormeo's range covers a wide variety of mattresses. Most of our range are memory foam mattresses. We also have hybrid mattresses which combines memory foam and pocket spring technologies. Additionally, we offer latex mattresses as well as a mattress that combines all three technologies.

We also have mattresses featuring exclusive Octaspring technology which provides a luxurious premium deep memory foam experience, but without the issue of overheating due to being 8 times more breathable than traditional memory foam. Plus we also sell customisable dual core mattresses which can be adapted by the sleeper to suit both theirs and their partner’s desired comfort levels.

What are the best types of mattresses?

A mattress is a personal experience so the "best" mattress will vary from person to person. However, deeper mattresses do offer a more surrounding feel associated with luxury premium mattresses.


Dormeo have a wide range of memory foam mattresses

What to consider when buying a mattress

It's important to get the right mattress for you according to your budget. Take into account your own body shape and preferred sleeping position and choose a comfort rating accordingly.

What to avoid when buying a mattress

Don't just go for the most expensive mattress as it may not be the best one for you. Also consider that a mattress is an investment and you'll be spending a third of life on in during its lifetime, so make sure it is a good quality mattress.

Does your sleeping position matter when choosing a mattress?

Absolutely. Different sleeping positions mean that different amounts of pressure are put on different points of the sleeper's body during the night and require different support levels.

What are the differences between memory foam mattresses and octaspring?

Octaspring mattresses feature exclusive Octaspring technology. Octasprings are uniquely shaped springs made from memory foam that create a luxury deep memory foam experience. Other luxury mattresses create the same feeling with deep layers of pure memory foam, which retain heat and can cause sleepers to get too warm at night. Octaspring technology is 8 times more breathable than traditional memory and allows air to circulate more freely around the mattress to keep sleepers cooler throughout the night.


Mattresses should be replaced every 7-10 years

What about pocket sprung mattresses and how different are they from the previous two?

Pocket sprung mattresses are a more traditional technology that ultimately has a firmer feel and is a very different experience to memory foam.

There are mattresses that are thicker than others, does size matter?

The thickness of a mattress usually has a direct effect on the comfort rating. In most cases thicker mattresses are softer and thinner mattresses are firmer. However, that does depend on the technologies inside the mattress.

Should you always invest in an expensive mattress or are cheap ones also good?

We have many customers who purchase our entry level mattresses and are enjoying the best night's sleep they have ever had! There are many good quality mattresses that provide great value, for instance our Memory Plus mattress is under £250, is a Which? Best Buy winner and is often rated the best value memory foam mattress in group tests. So it is possible to find a good mattress and not exceed your budgets. However, if you are looking to step up to a luxury sleep experience the prices do increase. As when making any major purchase, it is about spending within your means and getting the most for your money.

How often should you clean it and how?

Always check the instructions before doing any cleaning of a mattress as they can vary between mattresses. Many mattresses are composed of several layers made of different materials, as well as having specially designed mattress covers, which may require specialist cleaning methods. Cleaning methods can vary from only spot cleaning to having a removable washable cover.

Should you flip or rotate your mattress and if so, how often?

All our mattresses are designed to be rotated due to the composition of layers. We recommend rotating head-to-toe every 4-6 weeks. This will maintain equal wear and tear throughout the mattress and allows the memory foam to recover between rotations.

Is there a certain time in the year when it's best to change your mattress?

It is fine to change your mattress at any time in the year. If your current mattress is causing you problems and you are losing sleep there is no need to delay for a particular time of year.


Fact: thicker mattresses are softer and thinner mattresses are firmer

Are mattress toppers worth it?

In short, yes - for those who are having sleeping issues, a mattress topper is well worth trying as it might just be the solution to your restless nights. Toppers provide an extra layer of comfort and support, transforming the feel of your mattress while removing the time and hassle of completely replacing it, and at a fraction of the cost too.

Depending on the type of topper you use, they can also help reduce pressure points and help blood circulation reducing aches and pains sometime felt from older spring mattresses.

The only time we would suggest not using a mattress topper is if your current mattress is badly sagging or damaged, in which case you would be better off replacing the mattress altogether.

When should you replace your mattress/ when is it too old?

The general recommendation for replacing your mattress is every 7–10 years, because by this time it’s likely to have lost the qualities that made you buy it in the first place, like comfort and support levels. Some memory foam mattresses are designed to last a significant while longer at about 10–15 years, so it might be worth re-investing in one of these when the time for replacement comes.

As your mattress is buried under sheets, it's not always clear what its condition is, however, if you're frequently struggling to sleep, it might be time to replace it. Signs like visible dipping, being able to feel the springs through the cover or creaks are all indications of a need for a change. If you or your partner is struggling to sleep, waking up feeling tired and sore, or the mattress generally feels uncomfortable, don't ignore these issues as they could be impacting your sleep significantly and ultimately your general health.

As well as a change being a necessity for comfort, depending on the type of product, mattresses can host plenty of 'nasties' like dead skin cells, dust mites and allergens. By the time you've had it for 7 years, it'll have been used for more than 20,000 hours, the most used piece of furniture in the house, so in terms of hygiene it could be time for a change.


Before buying a mattress you should always take into account your own body shape and preferred sleeping position

Where is the best place to buy a mattress?

With so many mattress brands and retailers around, it can be difficult to pin-point where you should be heading to replace yours. Doing your research is a must, keep an eye out for reputable brands with a history and check both product group tests and customer reviews. Also remember that while online reviews can help, keep in mind that sleep is a personal subject for many and everybody has different preferences, especially when it comes to sleep, so one person’s perfect mattress could be very different for someone else.

However, the three main areas of mattress buying you need to follow are comfort, value and style; usually in that order. If you have covered these simple steps then you should be happy with your new mattress no matter where you buy it from.

Firstly, to find your best comfort level, you need choice. A website or store selling just one mattress type won't give you enough of a selection. We all have different body sizes, shapes and sleeping positions, so you will need a range with different comfort levels to pick from. You should always buy from a company that offers a comfort exchange or guarantee – this will ensure that once you have slept on the product if you are not 100% happy you can change it for another or get a refund.

Secondly, how important value is will depend on your budget. We all like a good deal but bear in mind that cheaper isn't always better. An investment in the right mattress is an investment in better sleep, you will likely be relying on your mattress for over 7 years of sleeping and won't want to be buying another one again soon! Also pay attention to if delivery is included and the after-sales service available. Once you have the true value of what you are buying you will be able to compare your choices more clearly.

Lastly style, which is more important if you are buying the bed base or bedding with the mattress, as the mattress itself will normally be hidden by sheets and a duvet. That said, the cover is still important and its worth checking on what it is made from or if it contains any additional treatments, such as dust-mite protection.

What should you look for in a mattress?

Comfort is first and foremost, you spend a third of your life in bed and the mattress is the most important part of that. Work out your needs by thinking about your own sleeping position and if you prefer a firmer or softer feel.

Think about the properties of the materials that form the sleep surface, do you want a traditional spring feel? Or maybe surrounding support of memory foam? Or even a mixture of the two. There is more choice in mattresses than ever with new technologies and materials being used such as cooling gels, specialist springs and different materials, such as latex. Get to know what is out there and the benefits of each.

Make sure that the product has all the relevant safety certification, compare products and talk to the sleep experts at the retailers who can help guide you through the process. Once you have considered all of these areas you are sure to make the right choice