• Buy the best bed and mattress you can afford – when you are going to spend at least 8 hours a day, every day, for the next 10 years on a mattress, it’s essential to buy the best quality you can afford.
  • Hard beds are not necessarily best for bad backs – orthopaedic simply means firm and in most cases, very hard mattresses cause more harm than good.
  • If your partner weighs more or less than you do, go for a pocket sprung mattress. As each spring is independently nested, the mattress will mould to the shape of both your bodies which will provide the correct support and prevent ‘roll together’.
  • Always measure up the size of your room before you buy – a large bed is everyone’s dream but it won’t work if it leaves little room for anything else in the bedroom. Remember also that a bedframe will take up more space in the room than the mattress size suggests so factor this in to your measurements as well.
  • Contact The Sleep Council for its selection of comprehensive Bed Buyers Guides (

Springs provide the core support for a mattress – the thickness (gauge), number of coils and density of springs affects the feel and firmness of the support. Some mattresses also provide ‘zoned’ sections to cater for particular body parts and weights and others combine two layers of springs for added performance.

  • Open Coil: most widely used with rows of hour-glass shaped springs connected top to bottom by spiral wire, with the edge of the unit strengthened by a retaining flat or round rod edge.
  • Pocket Springs: rows of smaller diameter, light-weight springs, bonded together, each housed separately in a fabric pocket. Allows for more flexible response to compression and body contouring.
  • Continuous Springs: made from a single length of wire knitted into a series of interwoven springs which link vertically up and down the bed. Very high spring count and more responsive feel.

Foam is less expensive than pocket sprung mattresses but with the same contouring qualities.

  • Polyurethane: short-term solutions for sofa or spare beds.
  • Latex: benefits include hypo-allergenic and anti-microbial properties, ideal for allergy sufferers, no need to turn them, well ventilated to dissipate body moisture and silent (no springs, no squeaks).
  • ViscoElastic: this new technology, developed by NASA scientists, enables the bed to mould to your body through heat sensitivity, holding it more securely and enabling a better nights sleep

Divan bases: generally upholstered in the same fabric as the mattress, going down almost to the floor. Sprung edge divans have a spring unit mounted on a frame; solid top divans combine wooden-sided frame with an unsprung panel.

  • Slatted bases: standard slats (solid pieces of wood, usually pine, running across the bed to support the mattress) or sprung slats (which provide more support and comfort than standard slats).
  • It’s vital to choose a mattress which has been designed specifically to suit the type of base, whether a divan or slats.

September 15th, 2009

Posted In: Top Tips

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