Mattress Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Type of Mattress

Struggling to find the right mattress? We’ve prepared this comprehensive guide to give you all the information you would need to get the best mattress for your needs.

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How to choose the best mattress for a great night's sleep

In recent years, the bed market has been flooded with thousands of different models of mattresses.

With the majority of retailers branding their mattresses as high-quality and best value for money. At Winston’s, we understand that purchasing a bed can be a daunting experience, and therefore we are here to break down the different options to help you see which option best suits you and your needs.

Getting a great night’s sleep is crucial to staying fit and healthy, but buying a without first doing your research will lead to aches and pains in the morning and restless nights if you aren’t sleeping on a supportive mattress.

And mattresses can be priced anything from £70 to well over £40000, so you’ll want to be sure your chosen model is worth the investment before you buy.

Here, we’ve put together everything you need to know before you browse the web. Whether you’re a stomach sleeper or suffer from prolonged back pain, read on to discover what choice is best for you.

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Types of mattress

Open Spring
  • Known as open coil or bonell spring These comprise one long piece of metal wire twisted into many springs. There’s also an added border wire to sustain shape and provide structure. Although side borders are machine-stitched rather than hand-stitched, it’s an excellent value for money option, but they are much lighter than other mattress types, making them easy to turn and rotate. Unfortunately, they tend to be a lot less supportive than other mattresses, so they are most suited to guest bedrooms, where they are occasionally used.
Pocket Spring
  • A pocket spring mattress is the most luxurious, as it’s constructed from individual springs encased in their own fabric pocket, which means each spring moves independently, providing more support and comfort than open spring mattresses. You can buy soft, medium, firm or extra firm versions, depending on your preference. Unlike memory foam mattresses, they are highly breathable, making them ideal if you’re always getting too hot during the night. This is a good choice if you’re looking for a mattress for two people, as the individual springs will provide for your different sleeping positions and weights. At the same time, they will also eliminate the risk of you rolling towards your partner in the night.
Bed-in-a-box
  • These mattresses have transformed the way we buy our mattresses. Emma, one of the first bed-in-a-box companies, launched in the UK in 2015, and its demand has seen other brands such as Eve and Simba follow suit. The name bed in a box refers to the delivery process, removing the unpleasant task of touring mattress shops and waiting weeks for delivery; bed in a box orders are placed online and arrive within a few working days. Typically compressed, folded and rolled into a box, there’s no need to call friends around to move one of these. Unbox the mattress, and it will be ready to use within several hours. They are generally made from foam or a hybrid between springs and foam.
Natural
  • If you’re after a luxurious and regal experience when you’re resting your head, natural mattresses could be the right choice for you. These mattresses have (you guessed it) naturally fillings, comprised of materials such as wool, alpaca, bamboo, and mohair. All materials act as a practical way to give the ultimate sleep and divine dreams. Of course, with such high-quality material, you can expect to pay a sharper price. So be aware of this.
Memory foam
  • These modern mattresses are made from memory foam, a mouldable material that reacts to temperature and pressure and has hypoallergenic features. This means a memory foam mattress will mould to the contours of your body and relieve pressure on your joints. It’s ideal for those who suffer from a bad back, as it will sustain posture and align your spine when sleeping on your side. Unfortunately, not all consumers enjoy the sinking motion of this type of mattress, and it can get relatively warm.
Latex
  • These mattresses are filled with latex foam, a highly breathable material so that you won’t overheat in the night. It’s also durable and will last for many years, and is an excellent option for those with asthma or allergies. Latex can feel relatively hard at first, though, so they’re better suited to those who favour a firmer mattress. Usually heavy, latex mattresses can be tricky to turn and rotate, and cheaper variants can develop dents and lumps over time.
Hybrid
  • A mixture of materials that generally include latex, memory foam and pocket springs, hybrid mattresses are intended to give a more unified sleeping experience. They often come with a pocket-sprung core and a memory foam top layer, providing both support and comfort– relieving aches and pains by reacting to your body’s shape.

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Should You Buy Online?

First, let’s talk about online versus purchasing in-store.

At Winston’s, we believe that buying in a store is outdated and unreliable, as you will be bombarded with sales jargon, as well as the mattresses giving you a false sense of comfort. In stores, the mattresses are always laid on sprung bases. Sprung bases contain pocket springs, so they change the feel significantly. Also, the bed that you test would most likely have been sitting there for a good few months would have had over 100 people test it, meaning the fillings would have fully settled and would give that mattress a different feeling to a brand new model.

Furthermore, due to the reasons stated above, we advise that when purchasing a bed, you do it online. When you are buying online, there is no pressure to buy and there usually is a lot more information about the specific model available. At Winston’s, we try to be as transparent as possible.

We do this by stating what is inside our mattresses, which allows you to see the value you would be getting for your money. Also, we provide guides; these will help customers understand which bed is right for them based on their sleeping position, weight and personal preference. Lastly, in most cases, you’re more likely to get a better deal online, as the mattress should be cheaper as there is no middleman.

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What can I expect for my money at Winstons Beds?

Here is a summary of our prices at Winston’s Beds:

£999.99 – £1849.99
  • This will get you a bespoke hand made primarily natural fibre, high-quality mattress.
£1899.99 – £3999.99
  • A bespoke hand made mattress with a high spring count as well as using the worlds most luxurious and best natural fibres that are on the market.

What can I expect for my money at other mattresses retailers?

Here’s what you could expect from our competitor’s prices:
Under £500
  • The very best you will get at this price is a 13.5 gauge open coil, a layer of thin polyester, or a solid foam cheap mattress with a short shelf life.
£500 – £799.99
  • Entry-level spunbond springs with little form of synthetic upholstery. Mostly one-sided mattresses.
£750
  • The most basic pocket springs unit with 800 – 1000 count. Little amounts of filling other than foams and synthetic materials. Two-sided mattresses.
£1000
  • Gets you away from most low range mattresses and into the mid-range pocket spring models.
£1250
  • A decent pocket sprung mattress with little Natural Fibre content.
£1500
  • Most manufacturers mid-range models with Natural Fibres should be available.
£1500-£2000
  • Potentially gets you a hand made mostly natural fibre Quality Mattress.
£2000+
  • Expected to get 100% natural fibre and a traditional hand made mattress with pocket springs.
£5000+
  • A bespoke hand made mattress, with a high spring count ensuring they use the world’s most luxurious and best natural fibres available on the market.

We hope that it is as apparent to you as it is to us that at Winston’s Beds, your value for money is undeniable. We offer the first-ever 7 Row hand-stitched mattress globally with luxurious fillings for the same price as our competitors would charge for a 3-row hand-stitched bed, with far less GSM.

Winstons beds are affordable because we genuinely believe that sleep is one of the most important factors to a happy and healthy life. Therefore, we want to offer mattresses to everyone at a price that everyone can afford, to hopefully contribute to everyone having a good night’s sleep.

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Let's talk about springs

There is a difference between spring type and firmness levels, and to buy the best mattress, you have to know what spring type and what firmness is right for your body type and sleeping position. At Winston’s, we use pocket springs; now, these are the best support system available on the market, as they last significantly longer than the open coil and foam beds and eliminate motion transfer.

Spring Tension, Wire Diameter (Gauge) and Weight Range

Here is what you can expect from our range of mattresses:

Soft
  • 1.2mm
  • up to 10 stone
Medium
  • 1.4mm
  • Up to 16 stone
Firm
  • 1.6mm
  • 16 stone to 18 stone
Extra Firm / Orthopaedic
  • 1.8mm
  • 18 stone plus

pocket spring unit

GSM: What you need to know

To work out your value for money based on the fillings inside your mattress, you need to know the GSM (Grams per Square Metre). In most cases, this information will not be made available for you to see, as the manufacturer’s do not want you to know how much of each filling has been put in purely for the sinister reason, they’re ripping you off.

Furthermore, at Winston’s Beds, we advertise our GSM on each of our models as we want to be as transparent as possible. It just strengthens the fact that we have nothing to hide as we offer the best value for money.

You must be able to recognise quality fillings in a mattress. This can only be achieved by knowing the GSM (Grams per Square Metre) of fillings in the mattress and something many retailers do not want you to know about. However, once you understand the essentials, you will tell which mattress is full of springs and which ones have a good amount of fillings.

Take one mattress that lists its contents as containing a cotton layer. If you don’t know how much cotton is inside, you can’t possibly know if it’s good value. It may be 300gsm or 1250gsm of cotton; the difference is enormous!

The very minimum is 3000 grams per square meter of fillings in a mattress.

Anything less than this will mean you’re looking at a cheap, short lifespan mattress.

natural mattress fibres

Understanding mattress fillings

Two parts go into constructing a mattress – the fillings and the springs. Once you understand the basics of fillings, you are halfway there. But be wary; as mattress brands try and deceive you into blended fibres with low natural fibre percentages.

You have two options with mattress fillings:
  • Synthetic entry-level materials like polyester and foam
  • Natural Fibres such as horsehair, alpaca, mohair, wool, bamboo & cotton

You should always choose a natural fibre as these are highly breathable, more durable and have more resilience for a great night’s sleep. Unfortunately, 100% natural fibre mattresses are not available for under ££999.99. Any that claim to be will only contain a small percentage of actual natural fibres blended with more inexpensive synthetic fibres.

The fillings within a mattress deliver the overall comfort of the mattress. This is where most people misunderstand the spring tension as comfort. You need to know precisely what natural fillings are used and how to work out how they will feel and react to you.

wool natural mattress filling

Mattress firmness

How firm your mattress is will determine how well you sleep. The type of firmness you require will depend on your weight and sleeping position. Here we explain what level of firmness is most suitable for what type of sleeper.

Soft

Stomach sleepers, back sleepers or those who change positions during the night and weigh up to 10 stones and side sleepers who weigh up to 16 stones are best suited to soft mattresses. This is because a soft firmness level will relieve pressure from your spine and mould to your body’s natural position.

Medium

This is ideal for those who sleep on their back, front or change their sleeping position during the night and weigh between 10-16 stones and side sleepers who weigh from 16-18 stones as it will mould to your body’s natural position and provide more support.

Firm

This is ideal for people who sleep on their stomach, back, and those who change their position during the night and weigh between 16-18 stones and side sleepers who weigh 18 stones and over as you require extra lower-back support this type of firmness offers.

Extra Firm

This type of firmness is ideal for those who sleep on their back, front, stomach, and those who change their position during the night are 18 stone and over or suffer from back pain. An extra firm mattress will keep your back in a comfortable and stable position without letting you sink into it as you sleep, which can cause lower back pain.

How should you sleep while pregnant?

During your first 12 weeks, you may feel sleepy and want to take a nap. First, of course, you must get the rest you need, so sleep in whatever position feels most comfortable for you, including on your back or front.

From 13-28 weeks, you will feel the baby’s weight more, which at times can feel uncomfortable and put pressure on specific areas of your body. This is the time when a soft mattress will benefit you most, while your more prominent bump means the suggested position to sleep in is on your side, as sleeping on your back will make your bump press against the main blood vessel, which can cause you to feel a little faint.

During 29-40 weeks, your lower back may be a source of pain as it supports the increasing weight of your baby. To reduce this pain, proceed to sleep on your side and with a medium firmness pillow under your head, between your knees and below and around your bump to ease pain and take pressure off your hips and muscles.

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What mattress do you need if you experience back pain?

A good quality mattress needs to give comfort and support, especially for those who suffer from back problems.

Although some retailers recommend a firm mattress, you should always look for a model that keeps your spine aligned while sleeping and soothes pressure points along your joints and spine. But, of course, this has much to do with your weight and sleeping position (the more you weigh, the firmer your mattress must be), so it’s recommended you try your chosen model before committing to anything – many online retailers now offer lengthy trial periods from 100 nights to 200 nights, where you can return or exchange the mattress if you don’t think the firmness is right for you.

The pillow you use will also alter your back alignment and sleeping position, so be sure you choose one that satisfies your needs.

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What is the best mattress for side sleepers?

Side sleeping is one of the most natural sleeping positions; it helps minimise acid reflux, alleviates sleep apnea symptoms, and reduces snoring. However, it’s not unusual for side sleepers to feel pain in their hips and shoulders due to pressure build-up around those areas. When you sleep on your side, all of your weight is put onto your shoulders and hips, so it’s essential to find a mattress that can support this sleep style. It would be best to look for a bed that offers a balance of support and comfort.

Best Overall Mattress for Side Sleepers
  • Winstons Premier British Wool 1500 is our recommended top-rated 100% natural mattress for side sleepers to alleviate shoulder and hip pain. This model uses pressure-relieving British wool and hessian to reduce and prevent aches and pains. Plus, it comes with a 200-night sleep trial and a 30-year guarantee.

We designed our Winstons Premier British Wool 1500 with 4850GSM of pressure-relieving wool and hessian in the comfort layer, so it allows the hips and shoulders to sink in the perfect amount to receive sufficient pressure relief. Still, it’s also responsive enough to stop you from sinking too far. We’re confident with the top-notch materials we use in the design of the Winstons Premier British Wool 1500, side sleepers can get healthy, pain-free sleep.

Best Foam Mattress for Side Sleepers
  • Winstons Ultimate Hybrid Latex is our recommended 100% natural foam mattress for side sleepers because of its climate control properties, targeted shoulder and hip support, responsiveness, and cradling surface. Every natural bed from Winstons is backed by a 200-night trial and a 30-year warranty.

Our Ultimate Latex Hybrids advanced spring technology, and natural fillings make it ideal for side sleepers. First, latex feels firmer around your midsection to offer extra lumbar support and prevent your body from sinking uncomfortably. Then, luxurious wool, cashmere, silk, horsehair, mohair, and cotton allow for deeper compression and pressure relief near your hips and shoulders. When you sleep on your side, your hips and shoulders take on most of your body weight, so pressure-relieving technologies are needed to prevent pains.

Frequently Asked Questions

Extra King 6’0 x 6’3 (182cm x 190cm)
Super King 6′ x 6’6″ (180cm x 200cm)

The extra king and super king can be ordered in a zip and link set.

We trust that this helps, but please call our office on 0161 250 9200 and speak with one of our experts if you require specific advice.
orthopedic mattress means firm and ordinarily relates to the spring gauge of 12.5g. Your bodyweight and sleeping position should be dictating the spring tension you need. Incorrect spring tension can cause back pain.
In our opinion, may or may not be high end or quality, and it will depend entirely on what is inside the mattress. From Emma, Simba, Eve, Ergo Flex, Brooke = Wilde, we would say the Simba Luxe and Winstons No1 Hybrid are the only high quality and best mattress UK for bed in a box.
Vispring mattresses are one of Great Britains premier mattress makers.

The main difference between these natural fibre mattresses is the fillings. The Herald is a firmer feel given the extra horse tail layer compared to the Regal Superb. The Regal Superb is softer in the top layer, giving it a medium feel.
Without the exact detail of your body weight, we can't confirm what mattress tension will be best suited to you. Still, as all of our mattresses are available in soft, medium, firm and extra firm, we suggest going for the Winstons Premier British Wool 1500 as its generous layers of wool will give you that same cloud-like feeling a pillow top will.
Mattress sizes:

A King is 150cm wide and 200cm long

A Double is 135cm wide and 190cm long
Age-old advice for anyone with any back pains was to go for a firm mattress. These days that method has been debunked; We will always advise going for a firmness level that suits your body weight and sleeping position. Visit any one of our product pages and scroll down to our firmness chart to assist you in choosing the proper firmness level for you. If the correct firmness is chosen, all of our mattresses will help with sciatica and back pain.
Small single: 75cm x 190cm

Single: 90cm x 190cm

Small double: 120cm x 190cm

Double: 135cm x 190cm

King size: 150cm x 200cm

Super-king size: 180cm x 200cm
Once your mattress has been delivered, be sure to let it air for at least 6 hours. This will eliminate any warehouse smells of cold or dampness. Ideally, it should then be aired every week by removing the bed linen. Remember to turn and rotate your mattress frequently too. This will stop dips and sags forming and your weight altering part of the mattress, causing uneven sleeping and body impressions.

Having a mattress protector will also keep it fresh, prolonging its lifespan. This is a bedsheet that goes on before your linen to shield your mattress from any dirt or stains.
A topper is an additional layer of cushioning that goes on top of your mattress prior to putting your bed sheets on. They provide extra comfort and support while also making your mattress feel more cosy and luxurious.
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Published: 30th October 2020 (Updated: 2nd August 2021) | Graham