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Are you in the market for a new mattress? If so, you have made a good decision. A new mattress will aid restful sleep, reduce aches and pains, decrease tension, and improve your ability to focus.

Most experts, including those at the UK Sleep Foundation, recommend replacing a mattress every 6 to 8 years. How long a bed lasts will depend on the mattress's type and quality, plus the usage and environment. If your room is very dusty and prone to mites, or if it gets lots of use, you might need to change the mattress more frequently.

There are several signs that it is time to replace a mattress. These include:

  • You have used your current mattress for eight years or more.
  • You wake with a backache or other soreness and pains.
  • You don't sleep well and wake up during the night.
  • The mattress sags in the middle or feels lumpy.
  • You can feel the springs, or they squeak when you move.
  • You have suffered an injury and might need more specialist mattress.

One mistake mattress buyers commonly make is they assume a higher price tag means higher quality. With mattresses, this is not necessarily the case. When choosing a new mattress, the important factors are whether it supports your back, disperses your weight evenly, and has adequate ventilation.

UK Bed Sizes

In the UK, we have seven standard bed sizes. Before choosing a mattress, you must measure the length and width of your sleeping area. Once you have the dimensions, you'll know the size options available to you.

A large mattress might appear to be the best choice, but you need to recognise that a big bed will leave less space available for other furniture items. Having said that, a small bed can look odd and out of place in a master bedroom.

Mattress Dimensions

Super King: (W x L) 6ft x 6ft 6", or 180cm x 200cm
King: (W x L) 6ft x 6ft 6", or 150cm x 200cm
Double: (W x L) 4ft 6" x 6ft 3", or 135cm x 190cm
Small Double: (W x L) 4" x 6ft 3", or 120cm x 190cm
Large Single: (W x L) 3ft 6" x 6ft 3", or 105cm x 190cm
Single: (W x L) 3ft x 6ft 3", or 90cm x 190cm
Small Single: (W x L) 2ft 6" x 6ft 3", or 75cm x 190cm

Small Single/Single: If you're purchasing a mattress for an adult or teen who sleeps alone, a standard single will usually be large enough. Small singles are common in a hostel or student accommodation. This size is also ideal for a child or a small guest bedroom.

Small Double/Double: If you sleep by yourself but like a roomy bed to sleep well, a 4ft 6" double or 4ft small double mattress is ideal. This size allows you to stretch out without legs or arms dangling off the side of the bed. Double-size is the most sold UK size mattress and is wide enough to sleep two sleepers.

King size: King size beds easily fit two sleepers. This mattress size is popular among couples.

Super King: A luxury super king mattress has enough space to fit two large adults and plenty of room for young children to visit in the morning. With a bed of this size, the most frequent issue is your bedroom may not be large enough to accommodate it.

Which Mattress Is the Best One for Me?

The list below provides a brief description of different mattress types.

Pocket Sprung & Open Coil

Pocket sprung, and open coil mattresses contain steel coils. The coil gauge and count characterize a coil mattress. The gauge refers to the coil thickness; coils with high gauges have thin coils, while low gauges represent thick coils. The lower the coil gauge, the firmer the mattress.

Coil count describes how many coils the mattress contains. A mattress with a high coil count will offer more support than a model with a low number.

Pocket sprung mattresses typically have between 400 and 4000 coils, with 800 - 1200 being average.

The difference between open coil and pocket sprung mattresses

Open coil mattresses have an interlocking coil system which allows for bounciness. It is easy to turn over on an open coil bed, but there will be some movement transfer when sleeping with a partner. Pocket sprung mattresses have individual pockets that lessen motion transfer.

A mattress with an exceptionally high coil count is not always significantly superior to a model with an average coil count. If a coil mattress has a count of at least 800, you should find it comfortable and supportive.

Memory Foam

Memory foam and latex mattresses adjust to the body and keep movement transfer to a minimum, so they are often the choice of couples. The layers of foam evenly spread body weight over the bed's surface, helping to prevent aches and pains. Memory foam is an excellent material for side sleepers because it shapes moulds around the hips and shoulders, reducing pressure.

Latex Mattresses

Latex is a natural substance derived from rubber trees. Like memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses conform to the body's shape. Latex mattresses are lighter and bouncier than memory foam but do not adjust as well to the body. Latex is a breathable and hypoallergenic material.

Orthopaedic Mattresses

Orthopaedic beds offer superior support for the joints, back, and overall body. Many back pain sufferers find an orthopaedic mattress lessens their symptoms.

An orthopaedic mattress is usually soft at the bed's head and foot but firm in the middle. This structure helps support the natural curve of the spine. Without proper spine alignment, the muscles, and tendons experience stress, which can cause damage.

What Is the Difference in Mattress Firmness?

Firmness is a key feature of a mattress. Depending on your weight and preferred comfort level, you can go for an exceptionally soft to a very firm mattress. For a great night's sleep, find a mattress that moulds to your curves and gives enough support to sustain the spine's natural alignment. We suggest choosing a firmness based on your comfort preference, but the following information can be helpful.

Side Sleepers

If you like to sleep mostly on your side, soft to medium firmness is a good option. This firmness level enables the body to sink into the bed and aligns the shoulders and hips.

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers often find a medium-firm level is best for optimal comfort. The mattress will conform to the lower back's curvature while giving enough support to keep your spine aligned.

Stomach Sleepers

A mattress with a firm or extra-firmness level fits stomach sleepers, as it will stop the body from sinking into the bed.

Where possible, an effective way to check if a mattress's firmness is to check if your spine is aligned when laying on your side if you can easily turn over.

If a mattress is too soft, you will sink into it, and your spine will be misaligned. If a mattress is too hard, it won't feel comfortable.

Mattress Firmness Guide

Extra Soft: Ideal for side sleepers up to 130 pounds
Soft: Good for side sleepers over 130 pounds
Medium Soft: Recommended for all sleepers weighing under 130 pounds or side sleepers weighing under 230 pounds
Medium: Good for back and side sleepers of between 130 and 230 pounds
Medium-Firm: Suitable for all persons weighing between 130 and 230 pounds; or side sleepers over 230 pounds
Firm: Good for side sleepers over 230 pounds; and back and stomach users over 130 pounds
Extra Firm: Good for stomach and back sleepers of 230 pounds and over

While this guide lists which firmness is likely to suit each type of sleeper, comfort preference is personal. Some people simply prefer a firm or a soft bed.

Which Mattress Is Best for Back Pain?

If you experience back pain, choosing the best mattress means recognising the type of pain. Some back pain is temporary and starts after lifting something heavy or another similar mishap. Doctors refer to this as acute back pain.

Other times, the pain is felt over a more extended period, known as chronic back pain. Backache can start as acute after an injury and ultimately become chronic.

Someone with acute back pain might only have to use extra pillows or change their sleeping posture until the pain subsides. Further measures may be required for chronic back pain, such as changing to a firmer or softer mattress.

The optimal mattress will also depend on if you have pain in the lower back or middle and upper back.

Low Back Pain

Lower back pain is felt in the lumbar area. It is the most widespread type of back pain, as this section of the back bends and twists in a way that can
damage the muscles or spine.

Spending too long in the same sleeping position can generate lower back pain. If a side sleeper's shoulders and hips aren't supported well, the spine will be out of alignment. Back or stomach sleepers may get back pain after sleeping on a mattress that is either too soft or too firm, which puts pressure on the spine's curve.

Middle and Upper Back Pain

Middle and upper backache are less common than lumbar pain because these back sections are more stable, lessening the chance of strains from twisting. Pain here can indicate a more severe problem and should be checked by a medical professional.

Poor posture generates stress in the middle or upper back. A mattress designed for spinal alignment can decrease this type of pain. A quality pillow of the correct height also helps with supporting the neck and upper spine.

Will a Mattress Get Softer with Time?

If you buy a mattress that feels too firm, this could be because it is new, and it will become softer over time. The tips given below will help speed the process.

The mattress type that most frequently feels too firm when brand new is memory foam. Some manufacturers compress their foam mattresses into airtight bags for easy delivery. If your mattress is compressed, you should find it is already soft.

However, if your foam mattress is delivered uncompressed, you'll likely need an adaptation period. It could take one month or more.

If you think you might have made the wrong purchase, and it is simply too firm for your liking, you could try contacting the seller and seeing if they allow returns.

However, this could be a lot of bother for you and the company, so alternatively, you can take steps to make the mattress softer.

How to soften a firm mattress

Not all mattresses suit all types of bed bases, and the base could be the cause of your too firm mattress. For example, if you buy a new memory foam mattress pair it with an innerspring base, you'll probably have to ditch the box spring base for the memory foam to feel comfortable.

  • A bed base will either be a solid platform or slatted. Platforms make a bed surface feel firmer, so if you are uncomfortable, consider changing the frame.
  • You can soften up a new mattress by walking on it for a few minutes several times a day.
  • Using a mattress topper is an efficient and low-cost way to make a hard bed softer. Adding an extra layer to the mattress you will have can improve pressure point support and contouring. Various toppers are available, made with wool, cotton, feather, latex, polyfoam, and memory foam. The most popular option is memory foam. The lower the density of the foam, the softer the topper.
  • Another way to soften a too-firm memory foam mattress is to warm the room up. A warm room makes memory foam softer, and a cold room will make it firmer.

Why Shop with Us

There are many excellent incentives to shop with Home Furnishings UK. We have been in the home furniture sector for more than twenty years and supply products that meet every furniture need without substantial price tags.

We aim to give first-class customer support and will replace an item or give you a refund if your order is not as expected.

We have thousands of products in stock, and with such a wide choice, you are sure to find exactly what you need.

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If you have any questions, call 0800 043 6510 or email support@hf4you.co.uk. Our helpful customer service team is always on hand to help.