Mattress buying guide

Why do you want to buy a new mattress?

Why do you want to buy a new mattress?

Mattresses don’t last forever. Even if it’s looking ok, your mattress might not be giving you the support or comfort you need to get a good night’s sleep. Ask yourself whether you’ve had a better night’s sleep in a bed other than yours? If yes, then it might be time to switch. Where mattress comfort is concerned, we’re talking firmness. Where do you fit on the scale?


Best for: Back sleepers
Provides a high level of support to the weight bearing parts of your body, such as your neck, back, hips and bottom. If you have back pain issues, this type of mattress will give better support to the whole body and back in particular, not allowing your midsection to sink in.


Best for: Back or tummy sleepers
Will offer great support all night long. If you are of a larger build or just prefer a solid night’s sleep, a firm mattress is a great choice.

Medium firm

Best for: Back or tummy sleepers
A medium firm mattress is a great choice if you tend to sleep on your back or stomach. It will also support the shoulders and hips if you or your partner sleep on their side.


Best for: Any sleeping position
Particularly good for people who sleep on their side. A medium mattress tends to mould to the shape of your body, offering gentle support.

Medium soft

Best for: Side sleepers
Medium soft mattresses should have plenty of give, therefore contouring to your body’s natural shape. Perfect for those who predominantly sleep on their side.

I’m buying for the first time

Mattresses vary enormously in price and whilst it’s fine to have a budget, it’s important to remember that you spend around a third of your life in bed and that a good quality mattress can last 10 years.

If you’re also buying a bed for the first time, for optimum comfort (and less squabbles over bed hogging) your bed should be 10cm longer than the tallest person who will be sleeping in it and wide enough to allow both partners to lie side by side, hands behind heads, without elbows touching.

I think my mattress is too old

A lot of factors affect the lifespan of your mattress including its quality, how much you use it, changing lifestyle, even changes in weight. The Sleep Council recommend changing your mattress every 7 years if you want to guarantee good support. How long have you had yours?

Top tip!
To make sure the mattress is truly comfortable, try and replicate your home conditions when you’re testing mattresses in-store. Don’t be shy! Take off your coat and shoes, then lie on the mattress for at least 10 minutes, lying in your normal sleeping positions. To check if the mattress is supporting you properly, slide a hand beneath the small of your back. If your hand fits easily, it's too soft; if it doesn't fit at all, then it's too firm.

Signs you need a new mattress

  • It’s creaking, and not in a good way
  • There’s a sag in the middle
  • You can feel the springs
  • It feels lumpy
  • You wake up feeling achy

What are mattresses made from?

The structure of your mattress effects how it feels to sleep on and how much it costs. Your main choices come down to foam, latex, or springs.

Open spring mattresses

Made by metal coils that run the width of the mattress. They are great value for money and are available in a wide range of comfort levels. A good choice for spare and guest bedrooms.

Pocket spring mattresses

Made from individual springs that are cushioned in their own pocket of material and filling. Each spring supports works independently to support the body. Pocket spring mattresses offer superb comfort, will prevent partners rolling into each other and are available in several ranges.

Memory foam mattresses

These mattresses first hit the shelves in the 90s, revolutionising the market with their clever moulding technology and ability to react well to body temperature. They offer hug-like support and can give the spine perfect alignment, making them excellent for back problems.

Latex mattresses

Like memory foam, latex mattress mould to the contours of your body. They don’t have springs either but are made with natural latex which is incredibly durable, lasts for many years and is a little cooler than memory foam. Latex is also a great option for allergy sufferers because it’s hypoallergenic and anti-microbial.

Top tip!
As a general rule the heavier you are, the firmer your mattress needs to be. As a guideline, if you’re less than 10 stone, a soft mattress will be more comfy; between 10-15 stone, medium will support you best; 15 stone or over, a firm mattress will give you the best night’s sleep.

Mattress care Q&A

How often should I turn my mattress?
Unless you’ve got a mattress that doesn’t need to be turned (like memory foam), then it’s best to do this at least once every 8 weeks. This can be a heavy job, so get someone to help if you can.

How can I clean my mattress?
Start by vacuuming it with a strong, powerful vacuum cleaner. If you need to remove stains, then a steam cleaner will work wonders. Try to avoid using water and cleaning products where possible.

How do I get stains out of my mattress?
The sooner you can get to the stain, the better chance you have of saving it. The challenge with mattress cleaning is that moisture soaked into it needs to be removed somehow. Keep this in mind when you scrub the stain. Dab at the wet stain with a dry towel to remove the moisture. To dry the mattress, lay it in the sun if you can or the in the warmest part of your house.

How can I make my mattress last longer?
Buy a mattress protector. This will add an extra hygienic, comfortable layer to the mattress that can be washed regularly. A pure cotton protector will provide natural comfort whereas anti-allergy protectors will prevent dust mite infestations. For little ones, a waterproof protector is wise.