How to buy a mattress – 5 expert steps to the perfect slumber

Is it time to make the change? This is how to buy a mattress – the professional way

Pandora Taylor statement yellow headboard with wall art
(Image credit: Pandora Taylor)

There is a host of reasons why you might be wondering how to buy a mattress. Whether you want to improve your sleeping habits, find a better posture, or you’ve moved into a different sized bedroom – it’s a question that everybody asks themselves at some point in their lives. 

You spend approximately 33% of your life asleep, so it’s important that you find the best mattress for you. But what do you need to know before you make the investment?

How to buy a mattress – the expert way 

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(Image credit: Polly Wreford / Kiera Buckley-Jones)

With a host of various shapes, sizes, and softnesses available, it can be hard to know how to shop for a mattress the right way. However, these sleep experts will make turn the process into a dream.

1. Consider your sleeping style  

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(Image credit: Chris Everard)

Before you look for a new mattress, it is important to think about the way you sleep, as this will determine the level of support your body requires. Alex Savy, a Certified Sleep Science Coach and the Founder of Sleeping Ocean (opens in new tab), explains that this primarily comes down to your sleeping position. 

‘Side sleepers need more of a hug for the protruding shoulders and hips. That’s why they are usually advised to pick softer mattresses,’ Alex explains. Meanwhile, back sleepers need a good balance between support (for the spine) and cushioning (for the hips), so they should opt for medium-firm mattresses. 

‘As for stomach sleepers, they require sturdy support and don’t really need much cushioning. That’s why they are recommended to stick to firm mattresses,’ he says. 

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(Image credit: Vanrenen GW Designs)

H&G’s mattress editor Jaclyn Turner agrees. According to Jaclyn, most people find comfort with a medium mattress, but it depends on how you sleep. ‘While a super soft, cloud-like mattress may sound like a dream, it might not be doing you any favors,’ she adds.   

2. Assess the best mattress type 

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There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to mattresses, suggests Logan Foley, a Sleep Science Coach & Managing Editor of Sleep Foundation (opens in new tab). However, you shouldn’t always follow the most popular bedroom ideas of the moment.  

‘People may hear that Tempurpedic mattresses are the best in the business, but then it comes, and they don’t like how memory foam feels, and it traps too much heat for them,’ Logan says. 

If you’re looking for ways to sleep better, Jaclyn suggests researching the different mattress characteristics available to find the one that works best for you. ‘It comes down to how you want your mattress to feel: bouncy, responsive, contouring, or a mix, which will lead you to choose among hybrid, foam, and latex options,’ she says. 

3. Assess any health issues 

Pink bedroom

(Image credit: Lincrusta)

If you have any health conditions, Alex suggests consulting your physician before making the investment. ‘In some cases, memory foam would be the best choice (for example, tender joints, back pain, or ulcers),’ he explains. 

However, in some other cases, your doctor may suggest a different organic mattress or a hybrid bed that is better for dealing with mobility issues.  

4. Regulate your temperature 

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(Image credit: Polly Wreford)

Another similar but nonetheless important factor to think about is your bedroom’s temperature. Its placement will play a part in how hot you feel throughout the night, but the type of mattress you choose will also have a direct impact on your slumber. 

‘People who tend to overheat during sleep should consider mattresses that use cooling components (such as gel infusion),’ Alex says. 

‘Breathable models like hybrids and spring mattresses should work too. Another option is mattresses that have convoluted layers. Such models can achieve improved breathability that aids temperature regulation during the night.’

5. Check safety certifications before buying  

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So you’ve found the mattress that is right for you? The process doesn’t quite end there. Alex warns that shoppers should look for such seals of approval as Certi-PUR, GreenGuard, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), or Organic Content Standard. 

If your mattress is missing any certification, you may want to rethink your choice. ‘They signify that the mattress does not contain potentially harmful chemicals or materials,’ the expert explains. 

Now you know how to buy a mattress; the only thing left to pick up is one of the best mattress protectors on the market. Because the perfect mattress deserves nothing but the best, naturally.  

Megan Slack
News Editor

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.