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Quality sleep is key for optimal health, therefore, your sleep environment (a fancy way of saying bedroom) is to be taken seriously.
Think: black-out curtains that block light pollution, a white noise machine to conceal intruding sounds, and the comfiest, best-suited-to-you bedding – including a super-supportive mattress.
Your choice of mattress can, unsurprisingly, have a huge impact on both your wellbeing and your sleep quality.
Mattresses that are past their lifespan (7-10 years, typically) or provide poor support can result in aches and pain and disrupted sleep (which, in turn, can affect everything from your memory to your risk of developing illnesses).
We can probably all agree, then, that it makes sense to shop for a quality mattress that’s tailored to your very personal requirements. It can be a bit of a minefield though, so, let’s break down everything you need to consider.
The mattress type - which is right for you?
Memory foam provides superior pressure relief – this type of mattress also has hypoallergenic properties and, because it moulds to your shape, gives you that cocoony-kind of sleep. That said, it does provide a slightly warmer sleep, so if you run hot maybe not choice number one for you.
Pocket spring mattresses boast individual springs each within their own little fabric compartment for a supportive and breathable mattress. Downsides: they’re heavy, and they tend to be filled with animal fibres which can trigger allergies.
Latex mattresses are a super durable and allergy-friendly option. They’re filled with latex foam which offers up a firm sleep. They’re heavy, though.
Hybrid mattresses are made from a mix of materials usually including memory foam, pocket springs and latex. Often, they have a pocket spring base and a foam top, which is meant to give the best of both worlds brand of sleep – supportive yet snug.
How you sleep - a mattress can be matched to your sleep position
A soft-medium mattress is advisable for side-sleepers, whilst back and stomach sleepers are more likely to get a sound night’s kip from a medium-firm mattress.
Combination sleepers – those who tend to oscillate between various sleep positions – should select a mattress based on the position they spend the most time in.
What else should I look for in a mattress?
It’s also worth thinking about mattress size – which suits you best – mattress care (as some are easier to maintain than others), and any specific requirements, such as pregnancy or back pain support.
Best mattresses at a glance
- Best for luxury: Brook + Wilde’s Elite mattress
- Best memory foam mattress: Emma Original mattress
- Best for firm back support: Hypnos Wool Origins 6 mattress
- Best for a hotel-style mattress: Sleepeezee Hotel Edwardian 2000
- Best for zipping two singles together: Loaf Perfect Mattress
- Best hybrid mattress: Eve The Original Mattress
- Best chemical-free mattress: Shetland 13250 No Turn Mattress
- Best for eco credentials: Herdysleep Mattress
Want a perfect night sleep? Read our guide to how to pick a set of bed sheets - linen or cotton, thread count, and the best sets of bed linen UK 2022, or the best earbuds for a sound night’s sleep.
Our expert also rounds up the best boxed mattresses here.
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After a dining table? These are the most elegant ones we recommend.
Without future ado, here are 8 of our favourite mattresses...
Depth: 28cm Firmness: Choose soft, medium, firm Sizes: Single, double, king or super king Material: Foam and springs Needs flipping? No Delivery: Free (inc set-up) Returns: Free Trial: 100 nights Guarantee: 10 years
We won’t beat around the bush – if you’re on a budget, this is unlikely to be the mattress for you. However, if unparalleled quality is your priority, then Brook + Wilde’s Elite mattress should be in the running.
Comprising eight layers, including a removable, washable top, it has top tier comfort levels.
It’s a hybrid, so there are both supportive, body-hugging foam layers and pocket springs (3000 of them, to be exact), for added bounce. Plus, it features Brook + Wilde’s wave technology, which aids alignment whilst you sleep.
There are three firmness options available, so all sleepers are well catered to and, bonus, all Brook + Wilde mattresses are designed and manufactured in the UK. If you’re looking for luxury – don’t sleep on this one!
Depth: 25cm Firmness: Medium Sizes: Single, small double, double king or super king Material: Memory foan Needs flipping? No Delivery: Free (inc set-up) Returns: Free Trial: 200 nights
You have to hand it to the Emma marketing team – every snoozer and their co-sleeping Shitzu knows all about the Original mattress and its supreme comfort offerings – even if purely anecdotal.
Its popularity isn’t without warrant though – it’s true, Emma’s Original mattress is deliciously doughy and comfy, if that’s your vibe.
It’s made entirely of memory foam, so it’s great for alignment and isolating movement (ideal for bed-sharers), plus, it’s nice and lightweight, too. It has an Airgocell foam top layer, which aids airflow and absorbs moisture, and a removable, washable cover also.
With a 6-7/10 firmness rating it’s a mattress suitable for most people, but is probably best-suited to those with a preference for soft-medium mattresses.
It arrives vacuum-packed and boxed – it takes, on average, 2-4 hours for it to fully expand (though it can take up to 48 hours), and does have a subtle chemical smell upon unboxing. However, a couple of hours in an aired room will help to speed up the fade time.
Depth: 28cm Firmness: Firm Sizes: Single, single extra length, extra-wide single, small double, double, king, continental king, super king, small emperor, zipped super king, emperor, zipped small emperor, zipped emperor Material: Pocket sprung Needs flipping? Yes - seasonal turn Delivery: Free (inc set-up) Returns: Free Trial: None Guarantee 10 years
We’ll begin with a word of caution: if you’re someone who likes to spring out of bed at sun-up, the Hypnos Wool Origins 6 might not be for you – for you’re unlikely to want to part with it.
The smart, six-turn pocket spring system is largely to thank for the exceptional comfort, as it aids weight distribution and provides full body support.
The mattress also boasts 8 layers of cosy, 100% traceable British wool fleece, which helps with temperature regulation – so you’re pleasantly toasty but not too hot.
On the bright side: it’s UK-made and has received countless glowing reviews.
Some things to think about before investing: it’s heavy – you’ll want an extra pair of hands to manoeuvre it – and there’s no sleep trial, so choose wisely.
Depth: 28cm Firmness:Sizes: Single, double, king, super king, zipped super king, Material: Pocket sprung Needs flipping? Yes - seasonal turn Delivery: Free Returns: Free Trial: None Guarantee 5years
The Hotel Edwardian 2000 enables you to recreate the kind of luxury sleep experience you get when guesting at nice hotels, but in the comfort of your own home.
No, really – it’s a hotel-grade mattress that was designed with some of the world’s top tier establishments in mind.
It has 2,000 pocket springs (hence its name), and is stuffed with natural fibres, including Britain-sourced wool, silk, and cotton, making it both breathable and incredibly comfy. Medium-firm support makes it suitable for most sleepers.
We love that it’s double-sided, so you can flip and rotate it as need be, which extends its lifespan, and that it’s handmade right here in the UK. There’s no trial period, however, and the guarantee is half that of other leading mattresses.
Depth: 26cm Firmness: Regular, firm, extra firm Sizes: Single, double, king, super king Material: Pocket Spring Needs flipping? Requires rotating Delivery: £49 Returns: Free Trial: 100 nights Guarantee: 10 years
With three different firmness options, Loaf’s Perfect Mattress is suited to pretty much everyone (it’s called Perfect for a reason).
It’s incredibly supportive – shoutout to the 1,400 pocket springs – and there’s very little bounce, so it’s great for co-sleepers (particularly if one’s a fidgeter).
Made from layers of breathable fibres including cotton and wool, it’s great for temperature regulation – and, teamed with polyester for added support, means it’s made to last.
We love that you can build your own super-king by zipping two singles together, if your co-sleeper favours a different level of firmness to you, however, one big sticking point is that these mattresses require rotating once every two weeks to keep them in tip-top shape, but they’re weighty!
Depth: 24cm Firmness: Medium firm Sizes: Double, king, super king Material: Hybrid Needs flipping? Requires rotating Delivery: Free Returns: Free Trial: 100 nights Guarantee: 10 years
All things considered, Eve’s Original mattress is excellent value for money. It’s made entirely of foam, so it contours to your frame and provides a pillowy sleep that feels like a big, cushiony hug.
The three layers of foam were specially designed to create a mattress that’s supportive, cosy, and breathable too – and the balance is pretty spot on.
For an all-foam mattress, it does a pretty good job of regulating temperature, and the fact it has minimal motion transfer helps to further reduce the likelihood of sleep disturbances.
It arrives boxed and whilst they generally only take a few minutes to fully expand they can take up to a few hours.
It’ll have a chemical scent when you first unwrap it, so leave it in a ventilated room and give it a quick vacuum to reduce the smell before sleeping on it.
Depth: 29cm Firmness: soft, regular, firm Sizes: Sizing: single, single XL, small double, Euro single, double, Euro double, king, Euro king, super king, emperor Delivery: Free Returns: Free Trial: 100 nights Guarantee: 10 years
If it’s a snug sleep you’re after, look no further. Woolroom’s Shetland 13250 is a lesson in quality kip kit – 13250 springs (yes, really) give it superior support and a generous lifespan, whilst fillings of hemp, flax, cotton, British wool, Egyptian cotton, and mohair make it cosy and breathable.
So breathable, in fact, one Shetland 13250 shopper’s online review reads: ‘as a woman of a certain vintage I was looking for a mattress to help with temperature control. Bingo!’ The proof is in the pudding.
The mattress is completely chemical free – there are no glues, foams or synthetics – interestingly, it naturally meets British flammability requirements thanks to the merino wool outer fabric.
There are 10 sizes available (we aren’t sure who’s opting for the emperor but we’re envious, nonetheless), and three levels of firmness.
Depth: 30m Firmness: medium-firm Sizes: single, double, king, super king Delivery: Free Returns: Free Trial: 100 nights Guarantee: 10 years
Herdysleep’s award-winning mattress is a bit of a marvel in that it’s both super cosy and it has pretty solid eco credentials, too.
The triple-layered Cortec™ spring system provides a supported sleep for side and back snoozers alike, and the natural fibre filling makes it impossibly snug. Hand-tufted, stitched and tape-edged, Herdysleep mattresses are completely foam and chemical-free, and are recyclable, too.
Plus, the base is made from recycled plastic bottles.
There’s only one level of firmness so if you have specific needs or preferences this might not be the one for you, however, on the whole, it’s a well-rounded mattress that most would find extremely pleasant to snuggle up in.
It’s great for temperature regulation, offering up a toasty kip in the chilly months and a cooler sleep when it’s warm out, and it doesn’t need to be flipped or rotated.