Choosing a mattress is no small endeavour

You will spend a third of your day laying on it and it has the potential to affect every part of life.

So it’s vital that you understand what type of mattress and bed works for you, your partner (if you share a bed) and your sleep environment.

This article will help you through the testing and buying process to avoid discomfort and disappointment months down the line.

Visit a Bed Store

Visit a mattress store when buying a new bed

As tempting as it may be to buy a mattress or bed online (and you certainly can!) beware that you won’t have the option to test it out before its delivered, and not all online mattress have Sleep Trials, in fact in some cases you won’t be able to return it the retailer at all.

By visiting a store you will be able to test mattresses, get professional advice from a person and get full support if something goes wrong with it.

If you really need to buy online, make sure you read the terms and conditions fully, and know what you purchasing.

Shop together

Shopping together if you share a bed is essential. Comfort is subject and personal, so it is important to test mattresses that you both like find comfortable.

You should be able to lie side by side with your arms behind your head and your elbows out, without touching.

Most couples will find a double bed is a little on the cosy side so may want to consider a kingsize or above if bedroom space allows!

Mattress Shopping tips and advice

Find the right level of mattress firmness

It is vitally important to test different levels of firmness to make sure you find which comfort or firmness is right for you. Some love an extra soft mattress, whilst some prefer a bed made of stone!

Comfort and firmness are subjective and not all levels of firmness are the same, once you start adding layers of comfort and upholstery, you will sink through those layers before feeling how firm or soft the mattress may be.

Remember there is no industry-wide standard to compare firmness ratings from one manufacturer to another.

One mattress does not fit all.

As a guide most retailer use a firmness rating guide using these scales:

  • Softer
  • Medium
  • Medium Firm
  • Firm
  • Extra Firm
Test mattresses to find your perfect firmness

To test the firmness of a mattress effectively:

Lie on your back and slide your hand into the hollow of your back. If it slides in too easily, the bed may be too hard for you (leading to pressure on your hips and shoulders); if you struggle to slide your hand in, the bed is probably too soft. If you can move your hand with just a little resistance, the bed may be just right for you!

Make sure you have the correct support

Find a mattress that supports the way you sleep

The correct support depends on your weight, height, build, and even preferred sleeping position.

Ideally, the mattress should mould to the shape of your body while remaining supportive.

When you lie on your side, your spine should be horizontal. You should be able to turn fairly easily.

As a general rule, the heavier you are, the firmer the tension you will need. You do not necessarily need a hard bed if you have a bad back.

Bigger is better

If you’re sharing and your budget and the space allow, a bigger bed means you are less likely to disturb one another – one of the most common sleeping complaints!

Open Coil Springs or Pocket Springs For A New Mattress

Make sure your base is suitable

Your base can have an impact on the life of your new mattress.

If you are using a slatted base, ensure the slat gaps are no more than 7cm apart.

If you are using an existing divan base, check that there are no springs in It and that it does not dip or sag.

Whilst all mattresses come with a full manufacturer’s guarantee, a substandard base can invalidate this.

Remember that cheaper bases found online will have far less support and poorer quality materials to keep the price low. These may sag with the weight of a mattress and two people on!

Check the suitability of your bed base

Look for the NBF Mark of Approval

The UK has strict flammability and product safety laws: the mattress AND individual fillings should meet minimum levels of fire resistance.

For peace of mind, look for the UK safety label and NBF-Approved tick!

All NBF members are audited independently to ensure they follow the procedures that comply with flammability, health and hygiene and trade descriptions regulations.

Every mattress sold by us are from National Bed Federation members making us a Premium Retail Champion for the NBF.