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Is it time for a new mattress in 2019?

Sleep is vital for physical and mental health. With many of us struggling to get a good night’s rest, it’s time to look at our mattresses.

New mattresses are rarely at the top of the priority list. Their recommended life span is around eight to ten years, but even if you’ve been sleeping on yours for a year – or a decade – longer than that, it’s not going to break down and force a replacement in the same way that a washing machine or laptop might.

But that doesn’t mean an old mattress isn’t doing damage. Some mattresses that feel comfortable aren’t actually supporting your body correctly, which could be why you struggle to get off to sleep or wake up with aches and pains.

Lots of mattresses lose their support over time; while they might start off comfortable, the worst ones will soon begin to sag. So how do we find the best?

See the best mattress brands

What we want from a great mattress boils down to a few key things: it should keep your spine aligned correctly, no matter how you sleep; it should be easy to turn and move on – preferably without disturbing your partner; it should keep you at a comfortable temperature; and it shouldn’t sag, soften or become less supportive over time.

How we test

Our testing programme runs through each of the requirements in turn. To measure body support, people of different shapes and sizes lie on each mattress on their backs and sides while we measure how well their spine is held in its natural position.

Next, the mattresses head to climate-controlled chambers, where we measure how much moisture and heat they absorb – and therefore how breathable and warm they will feel.

To find out how stable the mattresses are, we drop weights on to them and measure how much they bounce before the movement is absorbed.

Top 10 mattresses for 2019

Choosing a stable mattress is important for light sleepers who share a bed, as you’re less likely to be disturbed if your partner moves around in the night.

Finally, heavy barrels are rolled across the mattresses thousands of times to simulate eight to ten years of normal use. After all of this, some will show signs of sagging and damage, but the best should be as supportive as they were at the start.

It’s taken an awful lot of bouncing, but we’ve found some Best Buy mattresses that we think you’ll really love.

This contribution to Which? Conversation first appeared in the January 2019 edition of Which? Magazine (page 15: ‘Inside view’).

How long have you had your mattress? Do you sometimes wake up with aches and pains? If so, is 2019 the year to start afresh?

Let us know if a new mattress is in your new year shopping list.


This comment was removed at the request of the user

Unless a comment is posted I tend to be unaware of new Conversations as I usually go straight to “Latest Comments”. I think it would be a good idea if the author or a member of the editorial team posted the first comment just to introduce it. Many Conversations take a few days to get started. I haven’t thought of anything worth writing on this one yet so I shall sleep on it and perhaps rejoin it when I see what others think.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Not a bad idea that, John. I’ll see how posting first to ‘introduce’ them goes.

John, if you click “all recent activity” instead of “latest comments” it shows both new comments and new conversations.

I realise that Malcom but, unless I am mistaken, I don’t think it shows all new comments – and anyway I prefer the presentation of the Latest Comments pagesI

I agree and I rarely check new Convos unless a comment of interest arises.

Mattresses are intensely boring. I spend most of my time on mine asleep.

Lying on something in the shop for a few minutes doesn’t tell me very much. The Which test is useful for longevity and general information. The claims and counter claims from the industry confuse. I bought my last mattress on line with a money back guarantee. So far, so good, a year later. One night on a water bed and I was looking for a pin and feeling spiteful.

13 February 2019

Just recently bought what we thought was a good mattress! This is after trying approx 16 plus mattresses – I suffer from chronic pain and fibromyalgia and need a good supportive mattress!
Got the mattress delivered and it’s not In the least bit comfy as it’s on a 40 day trial – they said not to report problems until nearer 40 days as it takes that length of time to ensure a mattress is good for you!!! But we are going to have to report it prior – as we tried all the mattresses that ” were good for my condition” that we can afford we will get a refund and have to go through the process again!!
Cant remember going through this palaver in the last fourty plus years weve been buying new beds!!!

I am incredibly tempted to buy a new mattress, and all of the mattresses advertising with first names (Eve, Emma, Simba etc) has increased awareness more than other years for me.

I sometimes get a bad back and I think it’s likely due to my mattress – now to decide how much to spend…

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That’s fantastic advice Duncan – you may have convinced me to take the plunge…

I second that, don’t forget to choose a mattress protractor as well Patrick just in case the new mattress turns out to be just a tad too firm!

Sweet dreams 🙂

Ooooops! A mattress protecter might be a better choice! Just recovering from a migraine headache all day today 🙁

You had the right angle, though 🙂

This comment was removed at the request of the user

My mattress is less than three years old, but not one of my better purchases. A friend told me that Marfks & Spencer had some highly discounted prices and I bought one of their pocket-sprung mattresses. It is softer than I had expected and to start with I was sometimes waking up with a sore back, a problem that I have not encountered before. I seem to have overcome the problem now.

Looking at the Which? reviews of mattresses I see that the only current ‘Don’t Buy’ is one of the more expensive ones with a typical price of £1429. performing poorly in the durability tests.

13 February 2019

I know what you mean Beryl about Sumatriptiline – Imigran – I used the injections when a migraine was starting and it helped greatly but had come off that medication when I started with high blood pressure!
I am now on effervescent paracetamol which works quicker than tablet form but is not as effective as Imigran!
One medication can be effective but another will work against it! I suffer from fibromyalgia and suffer far more migraines than previously!!