Choosing the best mattress for you

The best mattress; the mattress matters.What is the best mattress for you? Memory foam? Sprung? Latex?

A bewildering choice.

Here’s a quick guide to the main types with the pros and cons of each.

Some last longer than others, some are better for a double bed than others, some for people who sleep on their sides, some are better for bad backs, some for people who are overweight.

A national newspaper recently carried out a review, and at the bottom of this page I give a link to the one I think is the best mattress out of their recommendations. But first, the guide and the pros and cons:

Open spring

This is also known as an open coil or continuous coil mattress where the springs are in fact one long piece of metal. Wires at its border help maintain its shape.

Pros: relatively, making them easy to turn. Also not as expensive as other types.

Considerations: they tend to offer less support than other types.

Uses: the best mattress for guest bedrooms, where the beds are not subjected to long-term continuous use: also children’s beds where the mattress will need frequent replacing as the children grow.

Pocket Spring

Made from individual springs in their own wrap of fabric so each spring moves on its own.


  • You can imagine that many independently moving springs mean more support than the Open Spring.
  • They come in soft, medium or firm versions. This is a matter of personal preference and comfort for a soft or harder mattress.
  • If you tend to get hot at night, these have the benefit of being more breathable than latex or memory foam mattresses.
  • They are a good option for sharing a double bed,  as the separate springs will support you both differently and appropriately and minimise the risk of you rolling towards each other.


  • Probably not the best mattress if you find turning mattresses difficult. With all those springs they are heavier to turn.
  • Sometimes they can be filled with natural materials such as lambswool which may agitate allergies.

Memory foam

The one everyone is buzzing about, made from memory foam which moulds to the shape of your body.


  • It responds to temperature and weight and will relieve pressure on your joints.
  • It has hypo-allergenic properties. (But always check!)
  • It offers support for a bad back, as it aligns your spine horizontally and prevents that ache-making spinal curve from happening if you sleep on your side.


  • Not everyone likes the sinking motion of this type of mattress and some find the moulding action prevents ease of movement in the night.
  • In spite of being temperature sensitive, things can get rather warm. However, see the best mattress link at the bottom of the page for a manufacturer who has solved this one.


These mattresses are filled with, well, latex foam.


  • It’s breathable, so you are unlikely to overheat.
  • It’s also extremely durable and should last for many years.
  • And it’s a good option for those with allergies or asthma.


  • These mattresses can feel rather solid at first though, so they’re better for those who prefer or need a firmer bed.
  • Latex mattresses are often heavy so they can be difficult to turn but beware that cheaper versions can develop lumps and dents over time.

So much for fillers and structures. Now what about:

Soft, medium or firm?

Your choice of the best mattress for you regarding firmness aren’t only to do with how comfy you are. It’s also to do with your sleeping characteristics. Here are some tips and foods for thought:

Soft: good for you if

You sleep on your side a lot or change positions often during the night. The (rather active!) way you sleep is already preventing too much contintued pressure on your spine. You no doubt want your mattress to mould to your body’s natural position – what that is as the night progresses.

Medium soft: good for you if

You change your sleeping position during the night, as it will still mould to your body position but provide a little more support.

Medium firm: good for you if

You sleep on your back as you require extra lower back support, which this type of firmness offers.

Firm: good for you if

You sleep on your front, are over 15 stones or suffer from back pain. This is because it will keep your back in a relatively comfortable and stable position without allowing you to sink into it as you sleep, which can cause lower back pain.

How often do I need a new one?

On average we will need to replace our mattress every eight to ten years for reasons of hygiene as well as support. Perhaps the best gauge is how you feel when you wake up. Aching, sort or stiff for a few mornings on the trot? If you feel sore when you wake up or you find you sleep better in other beds, it’s time for a change.

Having bought the best mattress – how to take care of it

When you get your mattress home, make sure you let it air for at least six hours. This lets it breathe and air, and also allows it to expand to its ‘natural’ dimensions.

Air your mattress weekly by removing the bed linen for a day. Turn it over regularly too to stop hollows, and to stop your weight and preferred sleeping positions creating an imbalance in the overall support of the mattress.

What next?

That should help narrow things down, but there’s still a potentially bewildering choice. Reviews and testings are a great help, and the Independent Newspaper carried out a review quite recently. The result is surprising and not the most expensive, by any means. To see more, see the winning mattress review