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How to choose a mattress: ultimate buying guide

Bedtime bliss right this way

mattress guide
Rachel Avery
Rachel AveryHomes Editor
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If you're buying a new bed, it might be time to invest in a new mattress too. Having a good quality mattress that's perfectly suited to you will help you drift off into a peaceful slumber and leave you springing out of bed come morning.

READ: Emma mattress review: One writer puts it to the sleep test

As it's a big commitment, finding your ideal mattress takes a lot of time and research, but we've done the hard work for you. Read on to discover which type of mattress you should buy, how long it will last and how you should care for it…

What type of mattress should I buy?

There are many different types of mattresses to choose from so here's our guide to the most popular kinds:

Memory foam mattress

One of the most popular types of mattresses in the modern day. The foam moulds around your body and comforts you, providing lots of support.

Open spring mattress

A mattress with open springs is essentially a traditional mattress. You'll find these to be more affordable and also lighter – so easier to move around and flip!

mattress bed

There are many types of mattresses to choose from

Pocket spring mattress

Similar to the open springs, but the main difference being that the springs are grouped into little pockets, and this means that movement on one side of the mattress isn't rippled over to the other side. Ideal for people who share a bed.

Hybrid mattress

As the name suggests, this type of mattress is a hybrid of two different types. Likely, you'll have the benefits of springs but with a luxury layer of foam for maximum comfort.

MORE: The best cooling bedsheets, pillows & mattress toppers you'll love if you're too hot at night

Bed-in-a-box mattress

This type of mattress can be made in any form – springs or memory foam – but what's similar is the way it's packed so it can be delivered to you with ease. Instead of arriving at your home in full mattress size, these are rolled or compressed to fit them in a smaller box and then they expand as you take them out of the packaging. Genius!

sleep bed

A good mattress can help you sleep well 

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Which firmness level is best for a mattress?

When it comes to mattresses, once you're set on the type, you're after you then come to the decision of firmness. Is a soft mattress or a firm mattress better? Karen Yu from mattress and furniture brand Zinus UK explains it's all down to your body type and sleeping habits.

  • A soft mattress is ideal for people of a slight build who like sleeping on their side
  • A medium mattress will suit all body types and idea for side, front and black side sleeping positions
  • A firm mattress is more suited to people who are bigger built and either sleep on their front or back
  • A very firm mattress would be best selected for larger people who like to sleep on their backs

Which size mattress should I buy?

The size of your mattress is totally your personal preference. Think about who you sleep with, how big you are and if you move around a lot in the night. However, bigger isn’t always better as you need to think about the room you are putting your new bed and mattress in. You don't want it to look too large in your space.

What are the best mattress brands?

Just like shopping around for anything, there are lots of amazing brands big and small out there but here are the top-rated ones who have amazing customer reviews and award-winning credentials.







Brook + Wilde

How long do mattresses last?

Mattress Clarity explains that the average mattress lasts around 10 years, but there are things to look out for that will indicate your mattress needs to be changed. If the middle is starting to sag or the mattress is noisy when you're lying on it then it may be time to re-invest.

MORE: I tried the Queen's sleep routine for a week - and this is what happened

bedroom mattress

Matresses need breaking in for around a month

How thick should a mattress be?

The thickness of a mattress is essentially the depth it measures. reports that an average depth for a mattress is 10in which is 25cm, but again it's about personal preference. A thicker mattress may be ideal for pregnant ladies who need more support, particularly during the third trimester but a slightly thinner than average mattress won't necessarily mean decreased comfort.

Do you need to break a new mattress in?

The answer put simply is, yes. The mattress experts at Simba explain: "It takes around 30 days for your body to adjust to a new mattress." If you go to a store or a showroom don’t be afraid to lie down on every mattress you’re considering buying, ask questions and, if you're able to, even road test it before you commit." Many brands, like Simba, offer a money back guarantee within a certain time scale if you're not 100 per cent happy with your mattress.

READ: This new sleep tool helps you find the perfect mattress – and it’s genius!

Should you flip your mattress?

Along with running the vacuum over it, it seems flipping your mattress is also an age-old debate. Mattress brand Simba advises you don't flip it, but you do "rotate your mattress regularly". They go on to recommend you "take it for a 180-degree spin once a month for the first three months, then every three-six months".

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