Which mattress to buy – the million pound question
Your mattress is an investment in your health
According to research from the National Bed Federation, your mattress should last you up to 8 years, so it is a serious investment.
Your mattress plays a huge part in determining how much you sleep and how well you sleep, both which play an important role in your health, wellbeing and relationships.
If you consider that for every £100 you spend on your next mattress, this represents just 2.9 pence per night over the course of 10 years, it pays to make an investment in your sleep.
But… there are times when forking out hundreds or even thousands of pounds for a new mattress is unnecessary.
- Is the mattress for you or for a spare room?
- Is the mattress for a young child or teenager who doesn’t weigh as much as an adult?
- Who is going to be sleeping on the mattress regularly and how often?
- How much wear and tear is it likely to have?
- Is the mattress going to be used in a rental property or student let?
- Is the mattress for a second property that isn’t used often?
When you consider a large portion of the mattresses sold are not for the purchaser (you), the scenario is very different.
Choosing the right mattress for the right application
It was estimated in 2015 that there were nearly 5.4 million beds and mattresses sold in 2015, of which nearly 10% were for commercial use such as in hotels and hospitals.
Of the mattresses sold 80% were either coil sprung (47%) and pocket sprung (33%) where the remaining 20% were made up of foam and memory foam, and other varieties.
As a general rule, the spring system provides support whereas the fillings provide the comfort for the mattress.
Mattress Fillings and Finishes
The mattress filling or upholstery is as important as the spring system itself because the filling determines the overall comfort.
In today’s mattresses there are many different kinds of filling used. These include polyester, lambs wool, cotton, feather, memory foam and latex or a combination of these.
A combination of some or all of the differing fillings radically alters the feel of the mattress.
The covering fabric or ticking can also alter the way a mattress feels. Cotton or cotton-polyester blended fabrics tend to be tightly woven and taut and will often give a firm feeling surface, whereas a damask at the luxury end of the market will be much more pliable, feel silky and soft to touch thereby creating a more luxurious, sumptuous feeling surface. Look for covers that are stretch fabrics, such as a two-way stretch or four-way stretch. These can be more adaptive to your body shape, and are more popular for softer mattresses.
The method in which fillings are held together can also change the comfort of the mattress. The process of mattress tufting for example is a technique used to give the mattress a distinctive dimpled surface and consists of dozens of strong tapes threaded through the mattress and attached to felt tufts. Tufting secures the layers of filling so they cannot move and gives the mattress a firmer feel.
Alternatives to tufting include quilted or diamond stitching, where the cover is stitched to the filling to create a raised, patterned effect, commonly referred to as micro quilted or high loft. This technique will generally feel more sumptuous because both spring unit and upholstery are released allowing them to conform to their natural deeper position.
The Effect of Time
Over time, fillings in mattresses always settle and compress over the first few months of a mattress’s life. This is perfectly normal but can be more pronounced on better quality mattresses with deeper filling, any dipping will even out after a period of time. On certain mattresses, turning will help to allow a more even distribution of the wear.
Mattress Comfort Levels
Your body weight is an important factor to consider when selecting your mattress comfort level.
Generally speaking, the lower your weight, the firmer a mattress will feel. If you weigh up to 10 stone, we recommend you select from either softer, medium or firm comfort levels. We would not recommend an extra firm product as your body would not sink into the mattress enough to get the correct support.
Likewise, if you weigh over 15 stone we would not recommend selecting a soft or medium comfort level because you could sink too far into the mattress and put unnecessary strain on your spinal muscles. However, we would recommend either firm or extra firm comfort as these would offer the best level of support for someone in this particular weight bracket.