How to choose your new mattress

Hybrid mattress

What do you feel like when you wake up in the morning? If your answer is ‘well rested and ready to tackle the day’, you’re clearly a winner – but if you just thought ‘a bit achey, really’, it might be time for a new mattress.

But how do you know which one is right for you? After all, there are so many materials out there that choosing one can feel tricky.

Been there, done that – and believe me, as an indecisive person who overthinks everything, I definitely know what I’m talking about.

Buying my own mattress from my very first, hard-earned cash took ages (really – we’re talking hours of trying here), but was so worth it in the end.

So, what materials are there? And what are they good for?

Well, I’ve done my homework so you don’t have to – read on for a quick, handy low-down on all you need to know about what mattress might suit you.

Sprung mattresses

There are actually two different styles, but to keep it easy I’ll group them together.

In a pocket-sprung mattress, the springs are in their own, individual – you guessed it – pockets, which isolate your movement.

The other design in this group is called coil sprung, which means everything is joined.

Pocket-sprung mattresses offer plenty of bounce and good air circulation. These are from Soak & Sleep, and prices start from £240 for a medium-to-firm 1000-pocket double.

Both types, however, have very much the same benefits: they allow good airflow, which keeps you dry and cool at night.

These mattresses may also be filled with other materials such as woo and cotton to up the breathability and comfort, plus keep moisture at bay.

They’re also very, very bouncy, which is fun, and affordable – but because of how they are made, they might need replacing sooner than other materials.

Memory foam

Buckle up, we’re going into space – kinda. As the resident fun fact delivery person, did you know that memory foam was actually invented by NASA?

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They developed it to improve seat cushioning and crash protection for airplane pilots and passengers.

These days, it’s very commonly used in mattresses and pillows. The material cradles your body, relieving pressure points and encouraging proper alignment of you spine – ideal if you sleep on your side.

It’s also resistant to dust mite and allergens, which is always a bonus. To get personal: I suffer enough with hay fever as soon as the first green thing even thinks about releasing pollen – it’s nice to know my mattress has my back (quite literally, too) when it comes to other allergens.

However, as nice as memory foam feels, some mattresses can trap heat… so if you’re a human furnace, really do your research.

A foam mattress holds its shape and will cradle your body to better support it. This Essential mattress from Casper is priced from £400 for a double and comes as a handy bed in a box, straight to your doorstep.

Gel mattresses

These designs have all the benefits of memory foam, as they are made from the same material, but feature tiny gel beads in the filling.

This helps your body regulate its temperature, keeping you nice and cool at night.


Although it’s also similar to memory foam, a latex mattress is generally considered a more natural option as the material is a by-product of tree sap.

These designs also cradle your body, but provides more bounce, so it all comes down to personal preference.

If sinking into a bed sounds like the ultimate luxury, you’ll probably prefer memory foam, but if you’d like to stay cooler and want a bit more bounce, consider latex.

When choosing this mattress for its eco benefits, make sure to choose a natural latex – there are also synthetic options, which are very much not made from a tree.

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Hybrid mattresses

These designs combine the best of multiple worlds. You’ll usually have a bottom layer of coiled springs, paired with layers of foam or latex for softness and comfort on top.

This allows for a more customised set-up, as you can combine the pros of a number of solutions into one mattress.

Sounds heavenly right?

Okay, but how do I choose a mattress?

Beds in a box are a popular concept right now – but whether you get your new mattress delivered to your home or go try one out in a showroom first, it all comes down to research and trying things out.

Those delivered right to your door often have a 100-day trial period, which you should definitely use, but always familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions.

In a showroom, take off your shoes and spend considerable time lying down on any mattress that potentially fits.

Don’t just flop down, rest for a minute, and jump back up – stay down for a good five, 10 minutes.

If you have a particular sleeping position, try it out. There’s nothing worse than realising something doesn’t sit right when you’re really looking forward to going to sleep.

Yes, it will feel awkward, but believe me: the sales assistants won’t judge. They want you to find the best fit, too, and you can’t do that by making rash decisions.

In short, take your time.

So, which one suits you best?

Featured image: A hybrid mattress combines the best of both worlds. Duvalay‘s EasySleep Three, for example, pairs cooling, comfortable Freshtec foam which actively fights heat retention with a clever 3D breathable mesh cover for a cooler, fresher night’s sleep. This hybrid mattress also features unique S-Line pocket springs, for edge-to-edge support. From £399.95.

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