Almost a third of our lives are spent in bed according to The Sleep Council, so it’s really important to get the optimum amount of seven to eight hours’ sleep each night.
And as only 39 per cent of adults sleep well - taking an average of 37 minutes to nod off - the mattress will play a fundamental part in helping the rest of the population to achieve its much-needed ‘zee’s’.
Testing your mattress
The important thing is for the consumer and their partner to try as many different beds as possible before purchasing, as how manufacturers grade their comfort level (firm, medium or soft) varies between the makes and models. Finding the right type depends on the weight, size and sleep positions of the user, so it’s essential to take off your shoes, jacket or coat - relax - and adopt your natural sleep position.
Don’t believe that a firm mattress is best for those suffering with a bad back (this advice was withdrawn over 20 years ago), or assume that a bed with a pseudo-medical name like orthopaedic is necessarily better for a person’s health.
When asleep, the body moves 60-70 times a night, with up to a dozen full body turns. So if the mattress is too soft or old, the body will sink into the mattress, increasing the likelihood of aches & pains. But if the mattress is too firm, discomfort may be experienced at certain pressure points, such as the hips and shoulders.
Ultimately, look for a mattress which is large enough, comfortable, not too firm, but has enough tension and support to enable the user to achieve a good posture in bed. The mattress should hold the spine in correct alignment and mould itself to the body’s natural curves so that it remains horizontal when a person lies on their back or side.
However, an adult couple may have different requirements, so ideally look for two single mattresses that zip together where different degrees of firmness can be combined.
Finally, choose the biggest bed the bedroom can accommodate. Remember that a standard 4’6” double bed only allows 2’3” of space for each partner - that’s less than a single bed, and less space than a baby has in a cot!
You can find out more about the best mattress size to buy in our helpful guide here.