We know is difficult to find the perfect mattress. There’s a lot of information out there and it’s easy to get lost in a sea of springs, layers of fillings and different thicknesses, making us question if we’ve made the right choice. So, if you’re hunting for the best mattress to sink into, there’s only one thing you need to have in mind: Comfort. If it isn’t comfortable, it’s the wrong mattress.
That’s why we invite you to visit our bed's department, located in our Classic Building so you can see and try a wide selection of leading brands like Hypnos, Dunlopillo, Somnus, Tempur, and Vispring. Let the mattress welcome you and wrap around your shoulders and hips.
Comfort is key
One of the most common requests from customers that suffer from back pain is a ‘firm’ bed. They believe a firmer bed will help their condition, but you need to remember that you can spend 5 minutes on the floor without being overly uncomfortable but 5 hours would be a different story. If you’re buying a bed because of a medical condition, seek advice from a medical professional as to what type of bed will support you before coming to look.
You also need to consider body movement during sleep. This is perfectly normal, but should not be caused by a build-up of pressure on the joints or by the person next to you getting out of bed. A good choice of bed will help minimising this, aiding restful sleep.
Materials and structure
Mattresses fall into three main categories and each has its merits. Generally, the more expensive the mattress, the more it has in it and this continues until it isn’t possible to stuff any more filling in. The mattress will make up about 2/3 of the cost of a bed and as it is the surface in contact with the sleeper, it is the most vital part to get right. Be very aware of how you feel on the day when shopping – anything will feel comfortable on a Sunday morning after a Saturday night out!
These are the traditional mattresses that have been around for over 100 years and you can find two different types of spring mattresses: open coil spring and pocket spring.
The open coil mattress – as the name suggests – has a layer of mesh on the bottom, large springs wired to it in the middle and another layer of mesh on the top like a mesh bread on a spring sandwich. Layers of padding are then added to one or both sides to make the mattress softer. This is the type of mattress that can be easily produced in large quantities and has a very cost-effective way of production. They’re lightweight and well-tailored as the springs make a natural chassis for the cover to sit on. The downside is that, as all the springs are attached to each other, any movement on one side of the bed will be transmitted across to the other side. It can also be the case that if the ‘filling’ is not sufficiently rigid, then the mattress can suffer from lateral movement, making it wobble like a giant, fabric-covered jelly.
Pocket spring mattresses have individual springs that sit upright in their own fabric sleeve and can be arranged in a single layer or in double layers (or exceptionally triple layers) for extra comfort. Various fillings are then put above and below the springs and the whole mix is then sewn into a large cover that secures the spring around the edge. This is done using a technique called ‘side stitching’ where the springs around the border are secured to the edges of the mattress, and by tufting the mattress by running a series of strings straight through the mattress and attaching wool or felt ‘tufts’ to the surface.
The advantages are that the number of springs in the mattress can be greatly increased as more and more narrow springs can be nested together, and the layers of fillings can add to the spring story to create a sumptuous level of comfort. The theory is that the more springs there are the better the mattress can conform to the shape of your body, but this is only useful on two conditions: when the springs are working by flexing under the weight of your body and when they are big enough to provide a level of support when matched with the fillings.
Mattresses can be made firmer or softer simply by using a thicker wire that doesn’t bend as much - and if the wire is too thick, it makes no difference how many of them there are, as they are not doing their fundamental job of allowing the body to lay in comfort on the surface of the mattress. This is the reason why weight is an important factor in choosing the right tension for a mattress – the lighter you are, the less impact you will make on a thicker wired spring, the heavier – the more. The springs are, however, only half the story, as it’s the combination of the spring with the fillings on top of them that make up the feel of the bed. Thick layers of luxury fillings like wool and horsehair act like millions of little natural springs on top of the metal ones in the pockets below them, and it is these layers that give the mattress a ‘depth’ of comfort that cannot be achieved any other way.
The cost and exceptional comfort that comes with this type of construction is reflected in the final price, placing these types of mattress at the higher end of the price range. Top UK brands like Vispring and Hypnos excel at this type of mattress.
Viscoelastic mattresses or memory foam
Viscoelastic foam came about as a result of NASA research into how to create a material that would help astronauts withstand the pressures created during take off in the Space Shuttle program. This dense, foam-like material shapes itself around an object placed upon it and becomes increasingly pliable around body temperature, making it feel like soft dough.
This makes it ideal for pressure relief on a mattress surface as it can provide support for areas where increased weight is placed upon it, and when the pressure is removed it returns to its original shape. This makes it ideal for use on electric beds where the mattress needs to bend back to its original shape after lifting at the head or foot ends.
First brought to market by Tempur, they have now been made in many different forms and in many different qualities that are impossible to gauge with the naked eye, and they have also mixed with other styles of mattress like springs. If you want a long-lasting mattress, buy the best one that you can afford as the quality of the materials used in the manufacture will, ultimately, affect how long it lasts.
Less popular than they used to be, latex mattresses are, as the name suggests, made of naturally occurring latex rubber that is then formed into large blocks, sliced up and put into a cover to make up a mattress. Holes run through the mattress to provide ventilation, and many devotees of these mattresses will seek them out again when their first one has worn out.
Recommended lifespans for beds vary depending on the quality and use of the mattress. If you’ve had yours for over 8 years, it’s worth having a look at the bed carefully and asking yourself if it’s still as comfortable as you remember. Often a bed is purchased as a necessity rather than as an addition to the house, but if you can replace it before it’s given way and is damaging your posture, then this is better in the long run.
Ultimately, buying a bed is a decision based on personal preference. We have the experience to know whether a mattress is comfortable just by the posture of the body. As stated at the beginning, comfort is key, and so the bed you choose may not be the most expensive, or the prettiest, or the one with the most features, but it will be the right one - so invest wisely and buy the bed your body tells you to because, in the end, your head will thank you for it.
Ready to find your next bed or mattress? Shop direct with us here or visit our showroom on London Road, Sheffield, and speak with one of our furniture specialists.