Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to a good day ahead so it’s no surprise that your mattress and bedding should be as comfortable and welcoming as possible. Your mattress is literally the building block for better sleep, so it makes sense to make sure you know how to choose the best mattress and look after it and knowing your fact from fiction will help. Your sleep matters to us so we’ve put all our years of expertise and knowledge into helping you with our myth-debunking guide. To flip or not to flip, is 10 years too old and is firmer better? Read on for all the answers!
Myth #1 - The age of your mattress doesn’t affect your quality of sleep
Much as you might have grown to love the bumps and sags in your mattress, they are actually signs that it is time to invest in a new one! To get the best night’s sleep, your mattress should offer support, even padding and an allergen-free sleeping environment. How quickly your current mattress needs replacing depends on your level of upkeep, if you rotate it, clean it and how you sleep in it. The Better Sleep Council recommends you replace your mattress every 5-10 years, but if you’re not sure, keep an eye on your comfort level when waking. If you feel fatigued, tired, achy or generally unrested, it’s probably time to go mattress shopping. Think of it as a performance enhancer... An athlete would change his running shoes if they started to show signs of wear and tear or if they caused feet cramps and your mattress should be treated the same!
Myth #2 Buying an all-foam mattress is just as good as a pocket-coil mattress
Although an all-foam mattress might appear as a cost-productive way to get a comfy night’s sleep, this is not necessarily the case. While foam offers some level of comfort by contouring around your body, this can lead to a ‘sinking’ feeling which many sleepers find uncomfortable. In addition, it may make it more difficult for you to move freely on your mattress. In addition, the level of support in an all-foam mattress cannot compare to the support of a pocket coil mattress where individual springs react to the pressure placed on them which offers constantly adapting support all night. Moreover, the lack of air circulation in an all-foam mattress means it can become hot and sweaty if your environment is not cool enough. That’s why high end hotels, resorts and other places that put a premium on the best sleep possible use pocket coil mattresses. In fact many of the best hotels in the world use hybrid mattresses (mattresses that combine a supportive foundation of pocket coils with foam comfort layers on top).
Myth #3 The firmer the better
For a long time we were told by the bed industry that a firm mattress was better for you and your body while you slept. However, this is not true. It’s not firmness that matters, but support. To get the best night’s sleep you need a mattress that conforms to your favorite sleeping positions and offers support while in them. Yes, it’s tricky. A soft mattress may feel comfy, but offers no support. An ultra firm mattress may feel supportive, but because it cannot conform to your body, it may lead to pain points or poor sleeping posture. We recommend medium firm mattresses, something that is comfortable on the top but offers deep support on the bottom. We also recommend you take advantage of sleep trials and try the mattress (yes, actually sleep on the mattress) in the comfort of your own home.
Myth #4 Your mattress will remain the same weight over time
Ever noticed that your mattress feels a little heavier when you lift it to change your sheets? It’s not in your head, your mattress does actually get heavier over time! Ok, not by a huge amount, but it’s scientifically proven to gain a little weight. Why? The average person loses 285ml of fluid per night and nearly half a kilo of dead skin cells over a year. It makes sense then that your mattress may be slightly heavier now than when you bought it. If this idea makes you uncomfortable then you can keep your mattress protected and cleaner by purchasing a mattress protector that can not only be washed regularly but will also protect it from stains and liquid spills.
Myth #5 A mattress should be flipped every few months to keep it in good condition
While the construction and materials of older mattresses meant that rotating and flipping was necessary to ensure even wear and tear, this is not true of today’s modern mattresses; in fact many are now made with single-sided padding and a no-flip design. Having said that, it is still wise to rotate your mattress every couple of months and sleeping in a variety of positions will help to compress the materials evenly, especially in the first year of purchase. On this note, don’t panic if you see small compression on the surface – that’s actually a good sign as it means the materials are conforming to the weight and shape your body.
Myth #6 Spring count is the best measure of support
Although spring count is important, it is by no means the best measure. It should always be combined with the type of spring and other mattress layers when considering overall support. There are three common types of spring - Bonnell coils, continuous coils and pocket springs. Both Bonnell and continuous coil springs offer decent support, but because the springs are attached to each other, this can lead to sagging where parts of your body get less than ideal support. Pocket coils (also known as pocket springs) are the most advanced type of spring technology whereby individual coils are encased in pockets of fabric and are not wired together. Each spring works independently which allows for more ‘even weight distribution’ by adapting to your unique body and ‘motion isolation’ where movement on one side of the bed is not felt on the other – great for those with a fidgeting bed partner!
Myth #7 A mattress topper can add years to your mattress
If your sofa has seen better days, adding a few extra pillows isn’t going to make much difference, and the same is true with your mattress. Adding a topper might make it seem more comfortable, but if your mattress is lacking support, you are simply masking a bigger problem. According to one US study, nearly two-thirds of back pain sufferers reported sleeping better after purchasing a new mattress. If your mattress is very firm, the softness of topper will help with pressure point pain and provide an extra layer of comfort generally, but it won’t extend the life-span of what’s underneath it.