Choosing the perfect mattress

If you're searching for a new mattress, chances are you've seen a number of providers who claim to offer the "perfect mattress". But in fact, there's no such thing: everybody's sleep needs are different, and the only perfect mattress is the one that's right for you.

The choice of mattresses is sometimes bewildering with a seemingly endless choice. There are orthopaedic mattresses for those with back problems, hypoallergenic mattresses for people suffering from allergies, pocket-sprung and memory foam mattresses: ultimately, your own needs and comfort should make the final decision on your perfect mattress.

What should I look for?

A good mattress should support all parts of your body so that the spine's natural slight curvature is retained, and your head, shoulders, backside and feet are properly aligned. Try mattresses of varying firmness, from soft to firm, to find out which one feels best for your weight and body shape. Normally, people who suffer from back or joint pain fare better on firmer mattresses, and latex or memory foam can help too.

Temperature is another factor to consider, as everybody has a different idea of their ideal sleeping temperature. If you often find yourself getting too warm in the night, a mattress with a high content of natural fillings may be a better choice than memory foam, as it tends to be a little cooler – as well as being naturally hypoallergenic.

You also need to consider the size of your mattress. As a general rule of thumb, opt for the largest mattress that you can accommodate. For further information on sizes, please refer to our size guide.

Does branding matter?

Conventional wisdom says that you should choose a mattress from a recognised and trusted brand. However, it's less important than you might think – and the addition a big name can make to the price tag could make the right mattress seem out of reach, when in fact you might be able to get almost exactly the same one cheaper off-brand for 30 to 40% less.

Most of the components used in mattresses are produced by the same few suppliers, meaning there's often very little difference between similar mattresses from brand to brand. Choosing a recognised name may be reassuring, but don't be shy of looking for the same thing from an unfamiliar brand if the price is right.

However, it is important to make sure whatever company you choose is well-regarded by customers: a quick look at online reviews should tell you what you need to know. If in doubt, give the company a call with any specific queries you have.

Are roll-packed mattresses to be avoided?

Absolutely not! Roll-packed mattresses can be every bit as good as conventional ones, and due to the lower cost of shipping and distribution, they can be a bit less expensive too. The vacuum-packing process has no adverse effect on the quality and performance of the product.

Most of the components used in mattresses are produced by the same few suppliers, meaning there's often very little difference between similar mattresses from brand to brand. Choosing a recognised name may be reassuring, but don't be shy of looking for the same thing from an unfamiliar brand if the price is right.

However, it is important to make sure whatever company you choose is well-regarded by customers: a quick look at online reviews should tell you what you need to know. If in doubt, give the company a call with any specific queries you have.

How do I know what's in my mattress?

The label should give you an idea of the materials used in the mattress, but there's only so much information they can provide due to the limited space available. If you need to know more, the retailer should be able to answer any questions.

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