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How to buy a mattress

Image showing the bed and mattress of @wiltshirewonderland

How to buy a mattress

The many benefits of a good night’s sleep can be distilled into a few words: it makes you happy! So, if you want to boost your mood, look at what you’re sleeping on. A mattress doesn’t last a lifetime, so even if yours looks in good condition, it could be affecting the quality of your sleep – for example, by not providing enough support. Read on to find out more.

What affects the life of my mattress?

The life of your mattress is affected by many things, including its overall quality and the way you take care of it. The amount you use it will also influence how long it lasts. For example, the mattress on a guest bed that’s occasionally used will last longer than one that’s used every day. Shifts in lifestyle (marriage, for example) and changes to your body (such as losing or gaining weight) also affect how long your mattress lasts.

Do I need a new mattress?

To work out if it’s time to splash out on a new mattress, the experts at The Sleep Council suggest asking yourself a few questions:

  • Have you had your mattress more than seven years?
  • Do you wake up with aches and pains?
  • Are you sleeping as well as you did a year ago?
  • Have you had a better night’s sleep in a bed other than yours?
  • Does your mattress show visible signs of wear and tear?
If I buy a new mattress, should I also replace the divan?

It isn’t usually a good idea to update a mattress but keep the original divan base. That’s because the old base can reduce the support and comfort it offers. However, we can’t all afford to splash out! Run a few checks to work out if you really need a new base. If it’s sagging or has springs out of place, or if it squeaks or creaks when it’s in use, it may be wise to buy a new one.

Should I buy a new mattress and bedstead together?

Generally, experts advise replacing your mattress at the same time as your bedstead. This is because the old base can reduce the support and comfort it offers. Of course, if you’re updating your bedroom on a budget, a new mattress and bedstead may seem a bit of a luxury. Check whether you need both by inspecting the frame. If it’s sturdy, there are no parts (such as slats or bolts) missing, all screws and bolts are tight and the frame doesn’t squeak or creak when it’s in use, you may not need a new one. Just ensure that your new mattress is designed to work with a slatted base, as some are better suited to a solid base or divan.

Do I need to try before I buy?

Try, try and try again has long been the mantra of mattress shopping. Until recently, this meant lying on mattresses in an overly lit showroom – not a very relaxing experience! Thankfully, many retailers and manufacturers now offer free trials of 100 nights or more. This gives you time to sleep on the mattress and assess if it’s right for you. Always check the terms and conditions before committing to a trial.

Firm, medium or soft?

Mattresses have different comfort levels: firm, medium or soft. However, there’s no industry-wide standard to compare these ratings; instead, they vary from one manufacturer to another. So, when it comes to finding the right mattress, focus on how it feels to you rather than manufacturers’ descriptions. The support you need depends on several factors: your weight, height, build and preferred sleeping position. As a general rule, the heavier you are, the firmer the comfort level you’ll need.

How can I check if a mattress is right for me?

You can check if a mattress is too soft, too hard or just right by lying on your back and sliding your hand in the hollow above the base of your spine. According to The Sleep Council, if your hand slides in too easily, the bed may be too hard for you, which can cause pressure on your hips and shoulders. If it’s a struggle to slide your hand in, then the bed is probably too soft. If you can move your hand with just a little resistance, the bed is just right.

What if I need a different comfort level from my partner?

A zip-and-link mattress is made up of two mattresses of differing tensions. They’re zipped together to create one large mattress – perfect if you and your partner prefer different levels of comfort. Because it can be delivered as two separate mattresses, a zip-and-link mattress is ideal if you have a narrow staircase or doorways. What’s more, they’re more flexible than a standard double because you can use them independently or together depending on your requirements.

Split-tension mattresses are another good solution for couples with different comfort requirements as you can select a different tension for each side. So, if you prefer a soft mattress and your partner’s bodyweight means they need something firmer, neither of you has to compromise.

I have a bad back – do I need a firm mattress?

There’s a widespread belief that you need a firm mattress if you have a bad back, but according to The Sleep Council, this isn’t necessarily true. More important is a comfortable mattress – it doesn’t matter what type of construction it is.

Have orthopaedic mattresses been recommended by a medical professional?

Not necessarily, in a nutshell. The Sleep Council explains that just because a bed is referred to as orthopaedic (or a similar medical-sounding term) that doesn’t automatically mean it’s been professionally assessed or recommended. In fact, the term is often just used by manufacturers to refer to extra-firm models.

Featured image: The colourful bedroom belonging to Charlotte of @wiltshirewonderland.

Want more? A good night’s sleep is one way to boost your wellbeing, but for some more ideas don’t forget to check out our other blogs on the topic of wellness.