Have you noticed? Mattress ads are everywhere right now. On TV, billboards, public transport, social media.
And these ads are clearly working. I, myself, in the hope that a memory foam mattress would soothe the back pain I’ve suffered with for years, treated myself to a brand new mattress in last year’s Black Friday sale.
Two months into the 200-night trial, I’ve no intention of returning it – I love how squishy yet supportive it feels when I sink into the memory foam – but my big ticket purchase made me wonder one thing: was Goldilocks right? Does your mattress actually affect how well you sleep?
In a bid to find out, I asked sleep specialists to answer these common mattress queries…
Why is your mattress important in terms of sleep?
Mattresses have two essential functions – support and temperature control. "One-third of your life is spent lying in bed – that’s why it’s important to have a comfortable mattress," says Dr Guy Meadows, co-founder and clinical lead at Sleep School. "Poor mattresses lead to night-time discomfort, pain and sleep disturbance."
James Wilson, a sleep expert from Beingwell, adds that mattresses are also "very important for helping our body be the right temperature for sleep. If our mattress gets these two things right, then we will be more likely to get the sleep we need," he says.
How can you find the right mattress for you?
"When looking at mattresses, we need to consider two things," says Wilson. "Does it offer the support we need, and does it feel right for us? Generally, a heavier person needs a firmer mattress, while a lighter person needs a softer one, in terms of support, but this is not always true."
That’s why personal preference is such a big factor as well, and why staying in hotels or other people’s homes can affect your sleep: "Something that doesn’t feel like what we have slept on before can feel alien, and make us tense and stressed."
Meadows says: "Ensure the mattress is the right size for you. Think about your personal sleep space, especially if you’re sharing a bed." And in terms of temperature, he says: "Spring mattresses keep you cool (by ventilating air), while foam mattresses keep you warm (by trapping air)."
Is it worth investing in an expensive mattress?
"We spend more time on our mattress than pretty much any product we own, yet we often don’t give the time or money needed to ensure we get a mattress that is right," says Wilson.
While he’s somewhat sceptical about the recent explosion in mattress brands – "the innovation has been in the marketing, as opposed to the product," Wilson notes – he does recommend trialling your purchase thoroughly to decide if you’re really happy with it, which is where those 100-day or more money-back guarantees come in handy.
If you’re sharing your mattress with a partner, Wilson suggests to "consider one that allows you to have different support on both sides" – which is what he has at home. "My side of the mattress is designed around my sleep posture and body type, as is my wife’s. It is amazing and has been a real game-changer in my sleep quality and also preventing me from waking with aches and pains."
If the mattress of your dreams is out of your price range, look out for Black Friday or end-of-season sales for big reductions. Meadows adds: "If you’re on a budget, a mattress topper is an affordable way to enhance night-time comfort."
How often should you change your mattress?
"To ensure optimum support, you should ideally replace your mattress every eight years," says Meadows. Signs that your mattress might need replacing sooner include: sagging or visible damage, noisy springs, and waking up with sore muscles or stiffness.
Wilson says: "I do not believe in a prescriptive number when it comes to changing the mattress. If your mattress is not supporting you or making you too hot (and less commonly cold), then change it today."