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Mattress Buying Guide

 

Is it time you bought a new mattress...? Read our mattress buying guide for advice on buying the right mattress.

Back in 1988, a ground-breaking study by sleep expert Dr Chris Idzikowski found that swapping an uncomfortable old mattress for a comfortable new one could account for an average of a whole hours extra sleep - six times that achieved by over the counter sleep aids....

So, if you need to improve the quality of your sleep, one of the most important things you need to do is to make sure you're sleeping on the right mattress. Unsure whether your mattress needs changing? Why not complete this mattress MOT check from the Sleep Council. Simply answer the questions below and we'll tell you:

  • Is your mattress seven or eight years old or more? The critical 'seven year itch' can be a make or break moment for many marriages AND mattresses.
  • Did you have your best night's sleep recently on another mattress?
  • Are you waking up more frequently unrefreshed and aching?
  • Do you disturb your partner or are you disturbed by them when changing sleep positions?
  • Does your mattress look used or worn?
  • Does it feel lumpy?
  • Does it make suspicious noises in the night?
  • Is it sagging in the middle? do you and your partner roll towards each other unintentionally in the middle of the night?
  • Are the base, legs or castors lumpy, worn or wobbly?
  • Would it be embarrassing if neighbours saw it without its covers?

Did you answer yes to three or more questions? If so, your mattress is crying out to be changed. Go buy a new mattress and you'll not only sleep good but you'll feel good as well. Remember, you deserve it!

  • A mattress is an important investment...especially when you consider that every £100 you spend on a mattress represents just 2.7p a night over 10 years (thats under 1.4p each if it sleeps two!)
  • The best mattress for you isn't necessarily the most expensive mattress...though it's worth spending as much as you can afford to get a really good mattress
  • The average lifespan of a mattress is about 8-10 years. After regular use a mattress may have deteriorated by as much as 75% from its original condition
  • An old mattress isn't hygienic...we sweat as much as half to a full pint of fluid (per person) a night, and house dust mites accumulate in mattresses too
  • Consider the space you need at night. While you may plump for a standard double mattress, a kingsize mattress gives couples more room to relax and stretch out during sleep
  • It's all about support! Firm mattress aren't neccesarily the best thing for bad back, you need to lie IN a mattress, not on top of it. Here is a mattress support guideline, but only you know what's comfy!

     Up to 11 stone (70kg)  SOFT

  11-16 stone (70-102kg)  MEDIUM

16-20 stone (102-127kg)  FIRM

Above 20 stone (127kg+)  EXTRA FIRM


Types of Mattress

Mattresses may look broadly similar, but there are vast differences between them all. Here we give you a run through of the different types of mattresses available:

open_coil_4_225Open Coil - is the most commonly used spring system on the market today, variations of the open coil can be found in Silentnight's Miracoil mattresses or Sealy's Posturepaedic mattresses.

Springs are arranged in rows and connected to one another, top and bottom by a spiral helical wire with a heavy gauge outer rod to strengthen the perimiter.

There are typically around 325 coils in a kingsize open coil mattress. Changing the number of coils, thickness of the wire and height of the spring unit will alter the feel, firmness and weight distribution of each mattress.

Sides are generally machine stitched on an open coil mattress, purely for aesthetic reasons.

Please click here to view open coil mattresses in our online store.

Pocket Springspocket_springs_225 - are more luxurious, with small (typically softer) springs housed in individual fabric pockets, allowing them to function independently of one another, profiling to the shape of your body to reduce pressure points, Hypnos, Somnus and VI-Spring mattresses are perfect examples of tried and tested traditional pocket springing.

Independent support means that there is very little transfer of movement from one sleeping partner to another, a vast improvement when compared to an open coil unit. They are ideal if there is a size or weight difference between you and your partner.

Spring counts can vary anywhere from 600-18,000, typically speaking a higher spring count will give more independent support, spreading the sleepers weight more evenly accross the mattress. Remember a mattresses spring count isn't everything as many variations such as quantity and quality of fillings are equally, if not more important.

Please click here to view pocket sprung mattresses in our online store.

memory_foam_2_225_01Memory Foam - is a polyurethane foam with additional chemicals to adapt its viscosity and density.

Higher density memory foam will soften with reaction to body heat, lower density memory foam is prodominently touch sensitive and moulds to the shape of the body quickly, returning to its original shape once the pressure is removed.

They facilitate good blood circulation and contribute towards muscle relaxation.

Helps to maintain a correct posture and align your spine horizontally when lying on your side.

Memory foam mattresses are hypo-allergenic with anti-microbial properties and are generally completely free from dust mites throughout their life, perfect for allergy sufferers.

Please click here to view memory foam mattresses in our online store.

latex_2_225_02 Latex - is a very durable and versatile naturally derived material that is produced by tapping the 'rubber' tree.

As with memory foam, latex is hypo-allergenic with anti-microbial properties, being great for allergy sufferers. Latex mattresses are selling as well as memory foam mattresses in todays market.

This material has little holes within their cores to avoid the latex from scorching during the manufacturing process, these have a side benefits of making the foam pliable and more breathable. The larger and more numerous the holes are, the more softer the mattress will feel.

Please click here to view latex mattresses in our online store.

Other Spring Systems

Miracoil springsmiracoil_22_200 - The unique Miracoil spring system is manufactured from one continuous spring that runs head to toe distributing body weight up and down the mattress. This ensures that the mattress gives you and your partner a good support. Miracoil 3 is Silentnight's popular sleep range and gives you zoned support that is better for your back, aiding pressure relief. Miracoil 7 is the slightly more advanced sleep range.  It gives you all the benefits of our Miracoil 3, but has been enhanced to feature an extra sensitive support layer to provide more targeted support.  With even more gentle cushioning around the shoulder and neck area and more sensitive support around the hips.

open_coil_3_133_01Sealy PosturepedicSealy's Posturepedic mattresses feature Titanium alloy springs which retain 98% of their original height and support characteristics for the life of your mattress. Sealy mattresses also feature the CoreSupport Center. The center third of the mattress (the area that gets the most use) is power-packed to enhance support where you need it most. Sealy's Edge Guard is a construction around that edge of the mattress that gives it more stability. This means you can sleep right up to the edge of the mattress without it buckling so your sleep won’t be disrupted. The Sealy Edge Guard extends the sleeping surface of your mattress by about 6 inches compared to other mattresses and also helps retain overall mattress structure.

posturfil_or_sensa_195Posturfil - is arranged in sheets of mini pocket springs, designed as an enhancement to the contouring properties of the mattress and helping to reduce the settlement of the finer fillings. Posturfil pocket springs are only 38mm high and works in conjunction with the Revolution pocket spring by contouring and filling the natural curves of the body and also improves the loft of the upholstery. The typical spring count of one sheet of posturfil to fit a king size mattress is 1000 pocket springs.

High Density (HD) Pocket Springs - HD springs distribute your weight between more springs and so reduces the build up of pressure points that cause sleep disturbance. The HD Spring is only 18mm high and comes in pocket sheets that further enhance the comfort and support of the spring system. Spring count for the HD spring is equivalent to over 2000 springs per king size sheet.

Sensa Pocket Springs - are unique to our Somnus range of mattresses, this multi-tiered spring system is believed to be the most advanced in the world allowing significantly more springs to be built into every mattress in the Somnus Collection. The superior system dissipates the sleeper's weight across a greater number of independent Sensa pocket springs.

Revolution Springsrevolution_180 - offer a great level of support by contouring perfectly with your body. A larger pocket spring with an additional smaller pocket spring nestling inside provides additional tension when more pressure is applied, meaning you get exactly the right amount of extra support when and where it is needed, whilst the outer spring remains soft and responsive against your body.

Fillings

Mattresses are made up of a number of layers of materials. The differing properties of these materials and the way they are layered have a profound effect on the feel, comfort, breathability and quality of any mattress. Fillings are chosen for their resilience, durability, flexibility and ability to dissipate body moisture and can be natural, synthetic, or a combination of both.

Synthetics

Polyester - is a synthetic, and one of the most cost effective materials with good recovery properties

Visco Elastic - or more commonly known as 'memory foam', with a unique feel, it slowly responds to body temperature and weight, taking the shape of the user, and slowly recovers its original shape when heat and pressure are removed (see above for more information)

Latex - is a premium quality material derived from the sap of the rubber tree. It has a destinctive, resilent feel, is very durable and has anti-microbial properties that offer benefits to allergy sufferers. Latex has a natural elasticity and recovers its shape immediately when pressure is removed (see above for more information)

White Fibre - is a synthetic upholstery which is a man-made subsitute for the more traditional style hair fillings. White fibre has good resilience and is much more cost-effective to produce than horse-hair, but does not have the same responsiveness

Naturals

cotton_225

Cotton - is a unicellular, natural fibre that grows in the seed pod of the cotton plant. Cotton does a perfect job of wicking moisture away from the body during sleep, we can perspire as much as one pint of fluid in one night, or two if you are sharing the mattress, so it is the material of choice for most high end manufacturer's to use near the surface of the mattress to disperse this excess moisture. It also gives soft feel and has an excellent ability to breathe to ensure you a healthy nights sleep.

pg12_wool_rt_141  Lambswool - is a naturally resilent fibre, creating a luxurious feel with good fire retardancy properties, again a very popular filling choice amongst the elite mattress manufacturers. Because wool is a by-product of a natural fibre, it has hydroscopic properties that enable it to absorb dampness or moisture from perspiration and moves it across the fibres without becoming wet itself. Similar to cotton, wool can regulate body temperature well, keeping you cool in the summer, and acts as an insulator during winter.

Coir Fibre - is found between the husk and the outer shell of a coconut. It is generally manufatured into pads which are then packed next to the springs to help with insulation and also to prevent the spring penetrating the fabric, typically used in divan bases as a cheaper alternative to pressed wool or synthetic pads.

pg17_horsehair_rt_141_01Hair - is a highly resilent fibre, often described as "nature's spring", when you have enough curled horse hair in a pile, it creates a supportive platform that allows air and moisture to move right through it. Horse hair acts like having thousands of springs due to it's quick response as a mattress upholstery, bouncing back after compression due to the fibres strength. Horse hair is one of the few natural materials that is comfortable to sleep on, but doesn't absorb any water from perspiration.

Mohair - refers to the silk-like textile fibre produced as a simple fleece from Angora goats, it is one of the oldest textile fibres in production today. The lustrous, long and strong hair has distinctive properties offering great durability, resistance to moisture-wicking, stretch, flame and crease. Mohair is also warm as it has great insulating properties.

pg17_cashmere_rt_141_01Cashmere & Pashmina - is a luxury fibre wool obtained from the soft fleecy undergrowth of the Kashmir goat, generally sourced from southern Asia. Cashmere is characterized by its fine, soft fibers. It provides a natural light-weight insulation without bulk, some manufacturers will add a 10% silk content to their cashmere or pashmina mix for added loft to the mattresses upholstery.

Silk - is a prized natural filament fibre produced by the silkworm; one of the oldest textiles in the world. For centuries silk has had a reputation as a luxurious and sensuous fabric associated with wealth and success. Natural silk constantly equalizes temperature; so it feels cool when you are hot and warm when you are cold.

Hempure / Hemptex - with it's excellent properties for absorbency and strength and because it's grown without the use of pesticides, Hempure and Hemptex actually absorb carbon dioxide so are therefore a natural and greener alternative to the oil based polyester fibres which are used in many other mattresses, as can be found in our Somnus range of divan sets one of the very few ranges that can promote 100% natural fillings.

pg108_needle__thread_rt_141_01Flax - the common name for Linacae, a family of annual herbs, flax is strong, and very durable. The twine is used for the genuine hand side-stitching on high end specification mattresses such as ViSpring, Somnus and Millbrook. Genuine side-stitching can take up to 8 hours per mattress, a skill only aquired by the most accomplished craftsmen empolyed by the mattress manufacturers elite.

Cover / Finishes

 Ticking - is the cover used for the mattress, and is important in the overall comfort feel of your mattress. Top end manufacturer's like V-Spring and Somnus use a 100% viscose cover, a strong, naturally derived material that is extremely durable when stretched.

Jacquard - is a type of fabric, woven on a complex loom to create elaborate patterns on one side of the material. In contemporary furnishing the term Jacquard is used to refer to the type of loom that is used to weav modern fabrics such as damask.

Damask - is a reversible, soft, glossy fabric woven on a jacquard loom to form intricate and decorative patterns. It is made of several fibres and blends such as linen, and offers a rich and durable finish.

Microquilting - or 'panel quilting' is a type of decorative stitch which holds the fillings inside the mattress in place by running a stitch across the surface of the mattress in a pattern creating a flat sleeping surface, it is ideal for those who prefer a very smooth, even feel.

tufts2_141Hand Tufting - involves pinning the fillings at specific points on the surface of the mattress with a long stitch that runs from the surface down through the inside of the mattress to the core of the spring unit, they look like buttons pressed onto the mattress and create a wavy surface. Hand tufting is found on most of the more expensive pocket sprung mattresses.

side_stitching_800x600_141Side-stitching - is a labour intensive process involving the perimeter rows of pocket springs to be directly sewn to the side panels of the mattress to give complete and absolute edge to edge support and prevent the side panels from bulking out over time. Genuine hand side-stiching is normally only found amongst the elite mattress makers, lower end manufacturers will generally machine stitch their mattresses, purely for aesthetic reasons.

Aloe Vera - the medicinal uses for Aloe Vera have earned it well deserved recognition as one of the best natural or herbal sleep aids in existence today. The Aloe Vera element of our mattresses helps to ward off Bacteria, Mould, Mites and Insects. Aloe Vera is widely known for its ability to renew skin cells and remove dead skin cells, helping to maintain the natural balance of your skin, just a couple of examples of what this magical plant can do for your health.

Tencel - fibres help keep you cool and dry, and can be found in the majority of our Sealy mattress collection. The fibrils of Tencel are hydrophilic and optimize the absorption of moisture with excellent cooling properties, this excelent moisture absorbtion guarantees that the sleeping area remains pleasantly dry thus enhancing sleep.

 

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