Journey Mattress

The mattress buying guide: What to avoid in a mattress vs. what to look for…

24th August 2016

Guides & Advice

So it’s time for a new mattress, but the thought of going out and buying one probably seems a little daunting. With so many different types and sizes of mattresses to choose from, finding the perfect one may feel like an impossible task. Hopefully with our Mattress Buying Guide we can make the overwhelming mattress buying process a little easier by offering you some tips on what to avoid in a mattress as well as a guide for what to really look for in a mattress, and with any luck the mattress eliminating process may be slightly calmer.

Brands will differ on what they believe is the most important thing to look for in a mattress – this advice will most often depend on their unique selling point, in order for you to purchase their particular type of mattress, and so can be considered as subjective. We’ve taken guidance from the non-bias source: ‘The Sleep Council’, which are funded by the National Bed Federation (the trade association for British bed manufacturers), to deliver you this mattress buying guide with some sound advice on choosing the right mattress.

The mattress buying guide: What to avoid in a mattress

A mattress too small for you:
Sleeping on a mattress which is too small has the obvious disadvantages of less room and an increased chance of disturbances between you and your partner. However it can also hold health risks – it may force you to sleep in an unnatural position that twists and strains your back.

‘Did you know that two people sharing a standard double size bed have only as much personal sleeping space as a baby in a cot?’

When on your mattress you should be able to lie side by side, with your arms behind your head and your elbows out, without touching your partners. Your mattress should also be 4-6in longer than the tallest partner.

A mattress that doesn’t fit your bed base:

This may seem like an obvious one – but when investing in a new mattress you don’t want to damage it by putting it on a base which is too small. Purchasing a mattress which is too big for your bed’s base may damage the edges of your mattress and will mean that you are not supported across the full surface of the mattress due to lack of support underneath.

A mattress too soft:

Everyone has different requirements for their bed, but what you can be certain of to avoid in a mattress is one that is too soft for you. A mattress which is too soft for you will mean your body bows into a hammock position. This causes hips and shoulders to pinch in and the spine to curve downwards, putting pressure on joints and muscles

Sleeping Positions

A mattress too firm:
A mattress which is firm puts unnecessary strain on your joints and spine, making your body do the work, rather than the bed. If your mattress is too firm, your shoulders and hips cannot sink into the mattress; in turn, your spine curves upwards, resulting in the buildup of pressure points

Sleeping Positions

A cheap mattress:
It is not recommended to go for a cheap mattress as you are unlikely to receive the support, quality and specific requirements you need in order to get a good night’s sleep. You spend 8 hours (or more) in bed each night, if you do the maths that accounts to a massive 50 whole days spent in your bed every year! Therefore investing in a good quality mattress is a sensible idea and advisable to spend as much as you can afford

A gimmick mattress:

‘Medically-approved’ or ‘orthopaedic’; many mattress brands use such labels, but there’s actually no medical organisation that officially certifies mattresses to carry these labels. Therefore avoid such gimmicks, and focus on your personal preferences and requirements – seek advice from your doctor if you suffer with back problems.

The mattress buying guide: What to look for in a mattress

‘Just right’ support:
The key to the perfect mattress is finding one that delivers just the right amount of support. Not only will you get better night’s sleep, your perfect mattress will alleviate any pressure and keep your spine perfectly aligned. 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. We always recommend visiting one of our Harrison Bed Experts who will be able to help you find the mattress that offers the right amount of support for you.

Sleeping Positions

A Guarantee/ Warranty:
Look for a mattress with a good warranty and guarantee. The longer the guarantee, the better, as it means the manufacturer will replace or repair your mattress if a problem should arise. A guarantee is something to note when buying a mattress as it is the most important aspect of a mattress brand’s customer support system.

A mattress which caters for you and your partner:

If you and your partners are different builds, it may be difficult to find a mattress that supports you both. The best way to find a mattress which is perfect for you and your partner’s varying needs is to look for a dual tension mattress or one which is zip and link.

A zip and link mattress is two separate mattresses which are zipped together to create one big mattress. This caters for differing body weights so one half can be made for example, as a firm tension whilst the other half can be a more gentle tension.

Here at Harrison, we can even create dual tension mattresses if you would prefer not to have a zip and link mattress, Dual tension mattresses mean that each side of the same mattress can be tailored to different levels of firmness.

Good quality ticking:

The cover of your mattress is not just there for aesthetics – it needs to be tough and tear resistant if you want your mattress to last. Better quality cloths which you should look out for are woven or knitted in high quality viscose or cotton yarns.

Pocket springs over cage or open coil springs:

Pocket springs are often more expensive and used mostly in higher quality products, where you can choose your level of pocket spring count, giving you ultimate comfort. Pocket springs are individual springs that work independently from each other, creating comfort by adjusting to your body contours. As pocket springs work independently, they create least amount of disruption when sleeping next to your partner. Whereas cage springs are arranged in rows and connected to one another – meaning they are unable to work independently and result in a more restless sleep.

Have you explored the rest of our Mattress Buying Guide? See our mattress buying guide on In the Showroom, Natural Fillings and What is a Pocket Sprung Mattress.

Find out more about our Harrison tailor made mattresses here.