Choosing the Perfect Mattress

“How much should I be spending? What makes a good mattress? What’s the difference between pocket sprung and latex?” With so many options for mattress-buying, such questions inevitably rise.  This is our guide to help you through the evolving market of mattress shopping, providing tips so you can be confident with your investment.  We spend up to 1/3 of our lives on our mattresses, and with quality mattresses lasting up to a decade – it’s important to pick one with the right comfort and support.

4 Types 

Innerspring mattresses are among the most widely used, and typically least expensive.  They vary in firmness based on number of springs and the materials with which they are filled, which range from cotton to horse hair.  Innerspring is a great option because it offers both firm and soft options, and is therefore useful for those with specific preferences.  There are two types: open coil and pocket sprung.  Open coil springs are most common, with inter-connected springs throughout.  Typically the least expensive option, open coils are firm and lightweight.  Conversely, pocket sprung mattresses offer fairly more support, with each spring enclosed in its own fabric pocket.  This leads to less “ripple effect”, meaning a restless sleeper would be less likely to disturb his or her partner.


Air-filled mattresses are unique in their adjustability.  Great for couples of different sizes and preferences, air mattresses often come with the option of adjusting either side.  Conceptually similar to the water bed, an air-filled mattress has an adjustable centre from which air can be released or pressurized depending on desired firmness.  Both water and air-filled beds are relatively hard to find, but remain accessible via online shopping sites and various luxury stores.


A fairly new invention, latex mattresses offer a “green” solution for those seeking sustainable, naturally made materials.  Though relatively expensive, latex is among the longer-lasting mattresses.  It stays cool throughout the night due to its breathable material, offering durable and consistent comfort.

Memory Foam

Another modern innovation, memory foam mattresses stemmed from technology developed in NASA.  Soft and supportive, these mattresses mould to your body as you sleep, making them exceptionally comfortable and supremely supportive.  Additionally, they are hypoallergenic, making them great for people with asthma, allergies, and respiratory problems.  Due to its temperature sensitivity, memory foam gets warmer throughout the night, making for a cosy night’s sleep.


In addition to the four main groups, there are hybrid options available that offer aforementioned positive assets from different types. Such mattresses often feature a mix of the classic innerspring with innovative memory foam.  This essentially offers the best of both, providing the form fitting, anti-allergenic comfort of memory together with the crucial support and cost-effectiveness of innerspring.  An economically savvy yet high quality choice, hybrid memory foam and pocket sprung mattresses offer a uniquely comfortable and supremely durable option.

Tips – some points to remember on your search

– A common misconception is the harder the mattress, the better it is for your back – this is false! If a mattress is too hard, it will strain your back the same way a too-soft mattress might.  It’s important to find one with the right balance between comfort and support.
– If searching in-store for your mattress, test for at least 15 minutes, ideally alongside whomever you plan on sharing the bed with.  Just a few minutes won’t give you a sense of how you’ll feel after an eight hour sleep, so make sure to take your time.  Also, be sure to try this tip from the Telegraph’s Sonia Purnell:

“To gauge the right tension for you, lie on the mattress in the showroom, and push your hand under the small of your back. If there is a large gap, the mattress is too soft, no gap at all, then it’s too firm. Just being able to pass your hand through suggests that the tension is spot on.”

-Don’t forget about mattress-toppers, which can offer some extra foam or latex comfort to a bed that may not be worth replacing just yet.

– Experts say you should spend a minimum of £700-1000 on your mattress, price varying depending on the mattress size.  This expense range will give you a mattress that will last up to ten years, ensuring a wise investment.

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