How to choose the right mattress

One of the biggest questions when choosing a mattress is, which is the right one for you? With so many options available, doing your research before you buy is vital to make sure that you don’t invest in one which leaves you with sleepless nights and sore joints. If you need help deciphering the difference between a pocket sprung or foam mattress, take a look at our guide to help you find the mattress of your dreams.

Different types of mattresses

What is a pocket spring mattress?

A pocket spring mattress is made from individual pocket springs which are enclosed within its own fabric pocket. This type of mattress achieves a great level of personalised support and response for the user as the springs work independently from each other, reacting only to the pressure applied to that area.

Are pocket spring mattresses good?

Pocket spring mattresses are one of the most popular types due to their high levels of support and durability. Our Marlborough Posture Pocket Spring Mattress has a special temperature regulating open cell foam top layer, allowing for a cooler sleeping surface and contains 6000 foam encapsulated pocket springs which reduces the transfer of movement you can often experience when sharing a bed.

What about a foam mattress?

Foam mattresses rely on trapped air rather than springs - aerated foam provides the support and ‘bounce’ you need for a good night’s sleep.

Our Maxi Cool Foam Mattress is constructed from foam, with a high resilience core and extra layers for comfort at the top, meaning that the mattress doesn’t need to be turned. It’s gently supportive with a comfortably quilted cover that will keep you cool while you sleep, using a special fibre to take away heat and moisture by capillary action. It’s the perfect mattress if you’re looking for your guest or children’s bedrooms.

What are the standard mattress sizes?

It’s important to make sure your mattress will match your bed frame, so ensure you have measured the height and width correctly.

Average mattress sizes

A common mistake is to use the mattress dimensions when calculating whether it’ll fit in your space, but you should always use the internal dimensions of the actual bed frame itself for exact measurements. Most modern mattresses sold in the UK are generally sold in metric dimensions:

Mattress Super King King Double Single
Dimensions 180cm x 200cm 150cm x 200cm 135cm x 190cm 90cm x 190cm

Mattress firmness

How firm your mattress is will affect how well you sleep. Firmness preferences are down to what you prefer and ultimately will depend on your sleeping position, height and weight. Here we explain what level of firmness means for the way you sleep.

Firmness Level Characteristics
Soft The mattress sinks and conforms to a significant extent
Medium Soft The mattress sinks somewhat and conforms fairly closely
Medium The mattress does not sink much and will conform to a noticeable extent
Medium Firm The mattress sinks very little and conforms to a moderate extent
Firm The mattress remains even with little to no sinking; conforming is minimal

Mattress types for different sleeping positions

The first thing you need to determine when purchasing your mattress is whether you need a soft, medium or firm one. Which density you choose should depend on your individual needs considering your sleeping position, your comfort preference and how your partner fits into the sleeping scenario. Whether you go for a mattress with a pillow top or a temperature controlling technology, it’s important that you let a variety of considerations dictate your choice of mattress firmness.

Soft vs Firm Mattress:

The most notable difference between a firm or soft mattress is the feel. A firm mattress has less give, whereas a softer mattress will compress more easily under pressure.

The best way to choose what firmness you need is to identify what kind of flexibility you require. While as you get older it’s likely you’ll prefer a firmer mattress, whereas as a child a softer mattress is often preferred. But, it’s important to remember it’s all about personal preference.

Pros of a softer mattress - If comfort is what you’re looking for, you may want to opt for a softer mattresses to sink into, such as our Marlborough 6000 & 3000 or Malmesbury 2000 mattresses. You may also find that if you’re a side sleeper then sleeping on a softer mattress is going to be more beneficial to you.

Pros of a firmer mattress - A firmer mattress, like our Fairford Ortho Pocket 1000 or Charlford 600 mattresses, helps to maintain a neutral spine position and keep your body straight. The firmness can also reduce the amount of pressure that is being put on your circulatory system which helps with blood flow.

Best mattress for back sleepers

Back sleepers specifically should consider the mattress’ firmness. While it is up to personal preference, scientifically, the best mattress for a back sleeper is a medium-firm mattress that will give your lower back the support it needs so you don’t wake up with lower back pain.

The Chalford 1000 Pocket Spring Mattress has a specially designed combination of pocket spring technology and high-grade comfort foam encapsulation that gives back sleepers the medium-firm feel and support they need for a great night’s sleep.

Medium Support Mattress Options:

Posture Pocket Plus range - Our Posture Pocket Plus Extra 2000 Pocket Spring Mattress gives superior support by using special high-density foam and closely-packed pocket springs in the construction, with the addition of a 30mm memory foam layer for body contour comfort.

Malmsbury 4000 - The Malmesbury Pillow-top 4000 Pocket Spring Mattress brings you support and comfort thanks to closely compacted pocket springs which are encased in unique high grade sleep foam to create a supportive mattress surface. It has an innovative pillow-top with its own mini pocket springs and comfort layers, and is finished with a high loft fabric cover which allows for increased air circulation for a cool night’s sleep.

Charlford 1000 - Our Chalford 1000 Pocket Spring Mattress has a high quality pocket spring core, which features the pioneering sleep technology from Leggett and Platt, when it introduced its bedspring more than 135 years ago; their 15 cm pocket springs mould to your shape. The springs are each in their own fabric pocket to minimise noise and to let them move independently.

Best mattress for side sleepers

A medium/medium-soft mattress is recommended for side sleepers as they allow plenty of flexibility to contour to your body's natural curve and keep the spine aligned while providing maximum comfort.

Our Marlborough Posture Pocket 6000 Pocket Spring Mattress is the best bet for side sleepers as its 6000 foam encapsulated pocket springs work together to give individual support across the mattress, really moulding to your shape. Completed with a special temperature regulating open-cell foam top layer which increases air circulation through the mattress to help improve sleep, and a breathable quilted knit cover.

Medium, Medium Soft & Soft Options:

Marlborough 6000 & 3000 - These Marlborough mattresses are perfect if you need individual support. As the core pocket springs are encapsulated in performance foam, this ensures you get edge to edge without ‘roll together’ through the night. Its ClimaSmart technology is temperature sensitive, giving your mattress climate control so you’re never too hot or too cold.

Malmesbury 2000 - With 2000 pocket springs encased in high quality foam, comfort and support are guaranteed across the whole mattress. The quilted outer cover is made from high loft fabric, allowing air to circulate and to give a soft and cool surface for sleep, all topped with a luxury pillow-top comfort layer ensuring a soft layering on top.

Best mattress for front sleepers

Due to the level of support stomach sleepers will need for their spine, a firm/medium-firm mattress is recommended to provide support to maintain the natural alignment of the spine. The firmness of your mattress will allow maximum comfort while preventing you from sinking in and arching your spine.

Firm Mattress Options:

Marlborough 4000 & 5000 - The Marlborough range combines foam and pocket springs to provide a cooling and comfortable sleep. Our 4000 & 5000 options are the firmer options available in this range but still incorporate ClimaSmart technology, a cooling fabric that helps to dissipate heat.

Charlford 600 - The Charlford ranges provides options for a soft, medium or firm mattresses. The Charlford 600 incorporates 15cm pocket springs, and a micro-quilted fabric, perfect if you’re looking for a firm yet luxurious and snuggly feeling.

Zest Mattress - Our latest mattress to join the family is our Zest 1000 Ortho Pocket. Specialist foam layers allow for comfort and temperature control and extra comfort. The zest also comes with two cold cured-moulded pillows and a zip topped section that can be easily removed.

Fairford Ortho Pocket 1000 - Perfect if you prefer a little extra support while you sleep, the Fairford Orthopocket provides a firm surface to help with Orthopaedic backcare and is completely hypo-allergenic.

Best mattress for couples:

If you’re in a couple with different needs, our Zest mattresses perform double duty. Their dualness means one side is firmer and the other side is softer - ideal for couples who have different needs as it offers the best of both worlds.

What is the best mattress type for support?

A good mattress needs to give both support and comfort which is especially true for those who suffer from back pain. It's important to look for a mattress that keeps your back aligned while sleeping and relieves pressure points along your spine and joints.

Mattress options for joint or back pain:

Our Fairford Ortho Pocket 1000 Mattress has been designed to provide you with excellent orthopaedic support to bring you a more natural, uninterrupted sleep. The individually wrapped pocket springs provide firm support across the mattress for excellent back care and no roll-together during the night. The springs are encased in foam to provide edge-to-edge support, it features a hand-tufted damask finish for added luxury. A perfect addition to any bedroom.

Mattress toppers & protectors - What’s the difference?

Once you’ve chosen your preferred mattress firmness, other elements to consider is a mattress with a topper, and how to protect your mattress with a protector.

Mattress toppers are a thick layer of cushion that can provide an extra layer of comfort and support. A great alternative to spending extra money on a mattress topper is to find a pillow topped mattress. Pillow top mattresses provide an extra layer of padding and softness and moulds to the curves of your body and will stand the test of time. The Coombe and Malmbesbury ranges are the pillow topped mattresses available from our selection which will allow for a supportive base but soft top.

A mattress protector is a removal element of bedding which protects your bedding from stains or spills. They can also be a protective layer sealing out allergens like pollen and dust.

How to care for a mattress?

To keep your mattress as good as new for longer, there’s no need to turn - simply vacuum it weekly. You can also keep it protected by using a mattress protector.

How long should a mattress last?

The average mattress should perform for approximately seven years before a replacement is needed. However, the expected lifespan can be affected by a wide range of factors, making some models much more durable than others.

The table below breaks down lifespan expectations for these five mattress types.

Mattress Average Lifespan
Pocket Sprung Mattress 8-10 years
Memory Foam Mattress 6.5-7 years
Latex Mattress 7.5-8 years
Airbed Mattress 8-9 years
Futon Mattress 5 years

When you invest in a mattress from Oak Furnitureland you can be rest assured that all of our ranges have been 10 year tested and don’t need to be turned. They’re dust free and completely hypoallergenic, and pressure tested to avoid pressure points.

If you’re looking to invest in a good night’s sleep, shop now to find the perfect mattress for you.

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