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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.

Comments
Member

Well I did wait a good while but nobody seems to want to reply to Emily , this isn’t my area of expertise but I have lain on many beds including the old fashioned steel mesh types and Co-op ex wd types all of which you could jump up and down on with no ill effect .
Later when older and having some money in my pocket I purchased a well know 60,s mattress with “posture springing ” , it wasn’t cheap but I felt like I was a crowned KIng as it felt luxurious compared to the hard versions before that .
It was also guaranteed , if I remember correctly , for 25 years and yes it lasted longer than that.
I know the adverts now say-replace after 10 years but if after that time they sag well all I can say they are not up to the engineering standards of the old days.
I hope this “upsets ” somebody and more post on your convo if only to criticise me .

Member

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.

Member

Ah John ! but you have posted on it and that makes it 2 posts .
I also have “Latest Comments” tagged but I always check to see if there is a new convo as you wont get any emails to follow it unless you post on it.
I like the “play on words ” –sleep on it –a mattress,by the time you wake up you will be an expert on mattresses.
If you have one of those new combination nylon filled springs mattresses you will be an “Expert Witness ” on that type of mattress or as you “spring off ” your mattress in the morning you could comment on how it feels .

Member

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

Member

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

Member

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

Member

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

Member

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

Member

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.

Member

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…

Member

Patrick , as somebody who has to live with a lower spinal injury I would buy a very good firm mattress not one of those “sink into it ” types even though they feel comfy .
Dont skimp on your spine it comes back to haunt you when you reach my age.

Member

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

Member

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 🙂

Member

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

Member

You had the right angle, though 🙂

Member

Beryl as someone who has spent his life suffering from migraines-hospital investigations/brain scans /etc and tried every drug under the sun, the only pills that work for me are-
Sumatriptan -100Mg(can be had in 50Mg ) BUT they are “dangerous pills ” if you have high blood pressure /strokes/heart conditions/liver problems and a very long list of other illnesses –but they are “guaranteed ” to work by reducing the blood vessels in the brain but not many people can live with the side-effects which over decades are reduced as my body grew used to them .
Disclaimer ! I am not approving them for everybody and I speak for myself here not Which ? as I am not kidding when I say they are dangerous for many people.

Member

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.

Member

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.