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When you come to buy a mattress, it might not be as straight forward as you think. There are a number of different options available, as well as many extra features that you might not understand.
Although a good quality mattress can be a significant initial investment, they are built to last several years. In fact, when the cost is spread over the mattress' lifespan, it could work out at as little as three pence per night. You won't get a night in a luxury hotel room for that money!
It's such a big decision that we've decided to put together this mattress buying guide to help your decision making process.
Why Do You Need A Good Mattress?
For that reason, it is incredibly important that we are comfortable at night, as this can help to promote restfulness and ensure that you are able to sleep effectively. A good mattress is vital to ensuring that you are comfortable when you go to bed.
A poor quality mattress can even have a negative effect on your health. If it is uncomfortable, with loose springs poking through the surface, it might stop you from falling asleep and can keep you awake at night. A low quality mattress can also cause damage to your joints and spine if it does not offer adequate support while you lay on it.
Spending roughly a third of our lives in bed, it becomes clear why it is so important that you have a quality mattress to offer support and to promote good sleep.
To help you decide which is the best mattress for you, here's a look at the options available to you when buying a mattress.
Coil Spring Mattress
One of the most popular and common types available, coil spring mattresses are a good option for people on a budget. This kind of mattress consists of a long wire which is coiled into springs, while the shape of the mattress is maintained by a wire rod border.
Coil spring mattresses are lighter than many alternatives, and can be turned and flipped easily. This can extend their lifespan, improving value for money even more.
The springs within the mattress move together as a single unit, so whilst this isn't a problem to children or people who sleep on a single mattress, it might not be the best option for couples who sleep together. A coil spring mattress can cause partners to move and roll into one another during the night, and they may disturb each other.
Pocket Sprung Mattress
For a more luxurious option, a pocket sprung mattress is a great option. These are also made of springs inside the mattress, but instead there are many hundreds of small individual springs which are held in small pockets of fabric. The springs all move independently, and therefore offer excellent support to your body.
Because they allow individual movement, pocket sprung mattresses are usually a better option for couples who sleep together, as they allow partners to move without rolling into and disturbing each other. A pocket sprung mattress is particularly recommended if one sleeping partner is taller than the other.
Pocket sprung mattresses are available in a range of firmness levels, with some offering additional support to the spine and joints. Sealy Posturepedic mattresses are particularly popular with people who suffer from spine or joint difficulties and are looking for a high quality orthopaedic mattress.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam mattresses are extremely popular with people who like to offer their spine during sleep. The memory foam moulds to the body's shape as it is warmed up and softened by your body temperature. This allows freedom of natural movement during sleep whilst also providing excellent support. When lying on your side, a memory foam mattress offers excellent support to the spine by helping to align it correctly, improving your posture and reducing the strain on the spine.
Memory foam mattresses, which are produced from a material originally developed by NASA, also help to distribute your weight evenly, alleviating the pressure on your joints as you sleep. Some people also suggest that the memory foam can help to ease and soothe joint pain because of the way the material warms up through the transfer of body heat. For this reason, it is a great option for people who regularly suffer from joint discomfort.
Memory foam can take some getting used to, particularly to start with as the material first responds to your body shape and weight. It might be best to try before you buy a memory foam mattress, as some people are unable to relax and feel comfortable on them.
Another consideration to make when choosing a new mattress is the firmness. Mattresses are available in the following self-explanatory firmness ratings:
But which mattress firmness is best? It often depends on your weight, height and simply what you find comfortable.
Heavier people may find a firm mattress supports them effectively during sleep, while a lighter person may find it impossible to sleep on the same mattress as they find it too hard.
Similarly, a soft mattress might feel comfortable to some people, but to others it will not offer enough support to the spine and joints, and therefore may cause pain or discomfort.
There is no specific formula for choosing the best mattress firmness; it is often simply a matter of personal choice. The only thing to bear in mind is that your mattress should be firm enough to support your body and ensure your spine is properly aligned when you sleep, but soft enough to be comfortable and allow you to sleep effectively.
Other Mattress Features
Along with the type of mattress and the firmness, there are some further features that may be useful to consider when making your purchase. These range from additional comfort features to health considerations.
- Hypo-allergenic: Some mattresses are made with fibres which are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction and can help to eliminate contamination from house dust mites.
- Support zones: Additional zones of reinforcement may be built into the mattress to offer extra support, particularly in areas where more body weight is concentrated.
- No roll together: Extra support can be added to prevent sleeping partners from disturbing one another through movement and rolling together during their sleep.
- Air flow fibres: Also known as Eco-Comfort or Cirrus Airflow, these fibres enable the mattress to breathe more and reduce heat build up, keeping you cool and comfortable during the night.
- Smart fibres: Similar to air flow, smart fibres guarantee a cool and dry mattress, and also provide a hypo-allergenic sleeping environment.
- Pillow top: A mattress may be layered with additional foam or fillings on top of its surface to provide extra softness and luxury.
- Combination spring: A mattress can incorporate two different spring units, which can be particularly useful to couples of differing weights.
Many mattresses come with one or more of these features included to improve your sleeping experience.
Some further things you might want to consider when buying a mattress are how you will look after it. The lifespan of your mattress can be lengthened by properly caring for it.
In order to ensure that you get the most out of your mattress, a mattress protector can be purchased to shield it from damage and general wear and tear. This will be hidden underneath your bed sheets, so there's no need to worry about it looking unsightly. Mattress protectors can also come in waterproof or anti-allergy materials for extra benefits.
To improve the lifespan of the mattress, you should also turn it and air it on a regular basis. Pulling back the covers and allowing the air to get to the mattress helps to deodourise it and prevent a build up of mildew and bed bugs caused by moisture. If you can, allow sunlight to hit the bare mattress, as this can act as a natural disinfectant.
It's also important to regularly rotate the mattress. This is particularly important for coil and sprung mattresses. When you sleep, the mattress becomes compressed in certain areas where your weight is most concentrated. Rotating helps to even out the compression, meaning that mattress will last longer. Read the manufacturer's guidelines before rotating, as some will need turning more often than others, while some may not need rotating at all.
To add an extra layer of comfort and luxury to your mattress, you could add a mattress topper to enhance your sleep even further.
As you can see, there are many more options to consider than you might initially realise when buying a mattress. By following these guidelines and thinking about what kind of mattress and associated features would suit you best, you can make an informed decision and a purchase you won't regret.