The savvy mattress shopper
Buying a mattress for the first time or replacing one, strikes fear into the hearts of many. Let’s battle that fear and find your ideal mattress for sleeping, reading and ‘exercising’ with these five savvy tips.
1 – THE MONEY
Decide upfront what your budget is. This is a budget for the next eight years! Forget pillows, sheets and bedframes. Set a budget for your mattress, then stick to it.
A £600 double mattress over 8 years costs 21p per night!
You can spend a few bob or thousands of pounds, anything is possible. Either way, start with the most expensive option you can afford and work your way down.
Buy from your local independent retailer as you can negotiate with them and come out with surprising savings. It helps to leave the kids with a caring granny or babysitter.
2 – FORGET THE BEST
There are so many mattress options, some ‘Winners’ and‘Best mattress’, amazing reviews and professional opinions telling you which mattress is The Best.
Forget all of it! Why? It is simple: There are so many options because the best mattress for you is the one that meets your needs and nobody else’s. What works for you doesn’t usually work for your neighbour or family members.
Your local independent retailer will have big name brands, younger brands and even their own mattresses. Some frilly or colourful, some with ribbons. Ignore the names, colours and frills as these are just ‘window dressings’ and get covered with a sheet anyhow.
3 – SUPPORT
Fact, your mattress needs to support your spine in any position during sleep. You may sleep on your back or side or front. You also move 40-60 times during the night, all in aid of blood circulation and so on.
So, stay on the mattress you are trying out for a good 10 minutes! Ask the shop assistant to bring you a pillow (if you normally use one) and stay. Yes, it feels awful and rude. It is unfortunately the only way you can figure out if the mattress supports your spine correctly.
This also mean, if you share your bed with a partner then this support needs to work for both of you. Don’t just admit defeat and go with your partner’s choice as you can easily end up with bad nights, daylight tiredness, back ache and end up being miserable. Tackle it head-on!
4 – WHICH TYPE
You have narrowed your choice of mattresses by budget & support, now ask the shop assistant about components.
There are essentially three types of mattresses. Foam mattresses, spring mattress and mixed component mattresses. These are produced in different ways, with bits added and bits taken away.
Foam mattresses tend to make you rather hot at night as they retain heat more easily. Smart flex or memory foam mattresses mould to the shape of your body, some more some less. Ask the shop assistant if it has cooling properties. Buy only, if it does.
Spring mattresses should ideally be pocket sprung. It allows each spring to move independently, supporting you where needed. The spring count needs to be 200+ per m². Don’t worry about having 1,000 (or more) springs in your mattress as its essentially layers of springs.
If your preferred mattress is a bouncy one, try it out with your partner (or the shop assistant) tossing and turning. You should not be bounced about or awoken by the hopping person next to you. Buy, when you stop giggling.
Orthopaedic mattresses are designed to provide extra support for example for back pain sufferers. If you believe you need extra support because of weight or health issues, try mattresses made with coco fibre or latex. These are not medicinal but can have astonishing health effects.
Mattress toppers are only needed if your budget is very small overall. Find a cheap pocket sprung mattress and add a decent topper for comfort.
5 – CLEAN
Mattresses are a serious investment in your health and a visit to the shops is really a good idea. You will have that mattress for eight years, sometimes longer. Check how easy it is to clean or indeed how you will protect it from staining.
It’s down to preference. You can add a mattress protector sheet which may make you feel hot at night, some mattresses can be scrubbed gently and others can be stripped completely, washed and tumble dried.
If you cannot make it to the shops and I suggest you try, mattresses are available online. One tip: Only buy a mattress with a return guarantee for at least 100 days. Then use this guarantee! It is there for a reason.
Let me know how you get on.