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How to choose the right mattress

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Find the perfect mattress and get a great night’s sleep

We spend a large amount of our lives asleep, so getting the right mattress with the correct level of support and comfort is vital. However, with such a large number of mattress sizes and types available, finding the perfect fit isn’t easy. In this guide we take you through everything you need to know to choose your mattress.

Mattress sizes

Mattresses are available in a range of different sizes. The table below outlines some of the most common sizes you'll find:





60cm (23”)

120cm (47”)

Small single

75cm (2.6’)

190cm (6’3”)


90cm (3’)

190cm (6.3”)


137cm (4.5”)

190cm (6’3”)


150cm (5’)

200cm (6’6”)

Super King

180cm (6’)

200cm (6’6”)

When choosing your mattress size, there are a number of factors to consider:

  • What size bed can you fit in your bedroom?
  • How much space do you and your partner need?
  • When will your children grow out of their bed?

For more information on choosing the correct size, take a look at our bed buying guide.

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Mattress Types:

  • Open coil
  • Pocket sprung
  • Foam
  • Memory foam
  • Latex
  • Gel mattresses
  • Box mattresses

Open coil mattresses

Open coil mattresses feature individual springs that are connected by one wire. These mattresses are some of the most affordable, ideal if you’re looking to complete your bedroom on a budget. Open coil mattresses will usually be firmer than other mattress types.

Pocket sprung mattresses

Like open coil mattresses, pocket sprung mattresses feature springs. In these mattresses, each of the springs is enclosed in an individual pocket which allows them to work independently and adapt more closely to your body shape. They are also ideal if you share a bed with a partner and tend to move during the night, as this movement won’t be transferred to them. Pocket sprung mattresses can also help eliminate the ‘roll together’ feeling some mattresses will give you.

Foam mattresses

Foam mattresses don’t feature any springs. Instead, the support is provided by the air which is trapped between the different layers of foam. Foam mattresses will provide better individual motion isolation for couples but they can be warmer than spring mattresses.

Memory foam mattress

Memory foam mattresses use foam that’s designed to conform to the shape of your body. You’ll see this if you push your hand into a memory foam mattress, a handprint will appear which will slowly disappear as the mattress goes back to its original shape.

Memory foam mattresses give you the feeling of being cradled and will take pressure off your joints and back. This makes them ideal for anyone with back, shoulder or hip pain.

It’s important to note some of these mattresses can be very heavy, which will make them harder to take up a flight of stairs. They can also be warmer than other mattress types.

Latex mattresses

Latex mattresses will give you a similar feeling to memory foam. They will still ‘cradle’ your body and give you a sinking feeling, but one that is less pronounced than a memory foam mattress. This mattress type is very supportive, which makes them ideal for anyone suffering with back pain.

One of the benefits of latex over memory foam is its natural cooling properties, perfect if you sleep particularly hot.

Gel mattresses

Gel mattresses work in a similar way to memory foam mattresses but they’re designed to be much cooler. They will also bounce back into shape faster than a memory foam mattress.  

Box mattresses

Mattresses in a box have increased in popularity in recent years due to their ease of setup. These mattresses, such as the Emma mattress, will be delivered to you rolled up in a box. All you need to do is open the box and unroll the mattress once you’re in your bedroom, rather than struggling through doorways and up stairs.

The Emma mattress offers you a 200-night trial, so you can be completely sure you’ve chosen the right mattress for you.

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Mattresses for different sleepers

When choosing your mattress, you should also consider the way you sleep, as different sleeping styles will require different mattresses.

Below we’ve outlined the best mattresses for different sleeping styles, but it’s important to remember weight and body shape can also have an impact.

Side sleepers

This is the most common sleeping position in the UK. Sleeping on your side puts pressure on your hips and shoulders and mattresses that are too firm can cause pain in these areas. However, mattresses that are too soft may not provide enough support.

For side sleepers, the sweet spot for comfort and support will be in the medium to soft mattress firmness range.

Back sleepers

Back sleepers will require a firmer mattress than side sleepers to stop their midsection sagging. However, if the mattress is too firm it could put pressure on your lower back causing pain.

Back sleepers are therefore usually suited to medium to firm mattresses.

Front sleepers

A front sleeper needs a mattress that can support their midsection to prevent arching in the lower back which could lead to back pain. Therefore, a medium to firm mattress is recommended.

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How often should you change your mattress?

In general, it’s recommended you change your mattress at least every 10 years. This isn’t an exact science and factors such as the quality of the mattress, hygiene and the number of people who have slept on it will affect how often you need to change it.

Can you put a new mattress on an old base?

Your mattress and bed base work together to create a comfortable sleeping space. As a result if you’re replacing an old mattress, it’s also recommended you also replace your bed base. However, as long as you choose the correct size you can put a new mattress on an old base.

How do you know if you need a new mattress?

It’s recommended you change your mattress every ten years, but there are a few other signs you should replace before this time. If your mattress has become uncomfortable, has lumps or has sagged in certain areas, it’s probably time to invest in a new one. Sometimes, a stay at a hotel or a friends house with a comfortable bed can be enough to show you a new mattress is needed!

That concludes our mattress buying guide. As you can see there are a large number of factors to consider when buying your mattress, so take some to consider your options as you’ll be sleeping on it for years to come!