August 2013

Understanding your mattress

Understanding how your mattress is constructed with accepted design principles will better arm you when searching for a new mattress. If you fail to understand what youre looking for them you're at risk of buying a unsuitable mattress and losing out. This guide will help make you a mattress master!

Obviously, your purchase is going to depend on your budget and how you can achieve the comfort you want or require for this particular budget. The bottom line is you do not have to spend a fortune to get this. But, you do have to know what it is you are trying to achieve.

Pocket spring mattress stitching 2
Calico Pocket Springs being hand-tied

Mattress construction is a two-part process

  1. Springs: to give you the support your individual body weights require
  2. Comfort: the upholstery that will cushion you from the springs

The one important factor to understand is that despite how much you are willing to spend there are very few mattresses out there that will be 100% suitable for you and your needs in retail shops unless you know exactly how all the components work.

It is imperative that once you select your mattress you may have to tailor it yourself to give you the comfort level you currently need. Knowing the exact breakdown of the mattress is essential to do this. However, most manufacturers won’t want to tell you this readily. I know this does not make sense at the moment but I assure you it will.

Fundamental basics of a mattress

If we look more closely at the basics of mattress construction it is nothing more than a compact unit of support (springs) and upholstery (comfort). No mattress can offer anything more! The more you have to spend will get you a better quality and quantity of upholstery and a better level of spring support. The trick is to be able to break up your available budget to get the best combination of support and comfort you can afford. You need to know the exact breakdown of any mattress to do this.

1. The Support Unit

The actual mattress as a whole will be the support pad and you will have to add supplementary layers of comfort that will make the mattress entirely suitable for you. You are also trying to ensure the mattress will stay as new for as long as possible without losing any of the support quality.

The higher quality spring unit you can afford will ensure a far longer lifespan than a cheaper cage sprung model. Calico pocket springs will outperform any other support unit. It’s not unthinkable to have them last 10-20 years if well looked after.

The Support unit is the foundation for all mattresses

2. The Comfort Layers

This means that once you have the correct level of support from the mattress to suit the weight (load) that will be applied, you then have to mix and match separate comfort layers to make the mattress ideally comfortable for you. To sleep directly on a mattress without a protector and or topper is akin to wearing trainers without socks! It will not be too long before the mattress is stained and flattened beyond redemption.

A thick mattress on a divan base
Understanding the comfort layers and upholstery of your mattress is key

It seems absurd that 99% of all mattresses are sold under the premise that they are the finished product. In most cases, this is not true and there is no way that this can be deemed to be the case. Especially when looking at the midpoint mattresses sold at most retailers. There is no way that these models with limited fillings can be the perfect end result for your best nights sleep. There’s simply not enough quality upholstery to provide the comfort you may need.

If we look at a real-life example we can see that Savoir Beds, Hastens, Marshall and Stewart, Vi-Spring (all premier mattress manufacturers) will partner their mattresses with additional removable toppers or supply such. This is to increase the comfort layer and provide you with a much more advanced sleep surface. Adding a topper can turn a good mattress into an amazing mattress and is definitely worth the investment in your search for sleep perfection!

John Ryan Latex Topper 2
Toppers can help soften the mattresses overall feel

Toppers can be an integral part of your mattress for many reasons;

  • Provide a barrier from the copious amounts of perspiration we expire each night
  • Provide an additional level of upholstery that can be replaced once wear and tear have taken its toll
  • Able to be shaken and aired as regular maintenance
  • Protect the primary comfort layer built into the actual mattress

Support and comfort as separate parts

Once you subscribe to this thesis of separate purchase of support and comfort you will be able to adapt your mattress to make it entirely suitable for your needs. This site goes into great depth about the different spring types and the different types of upholstery to show you where your money is going and to explain whether you actually need all the bells and whistles that are applied to such.

Understanding what your budget can feasibly get you will make your purchase easy. You will soon come to realise that many products are over-hyped, overpriced pieces of tat. Spend your money on what your body actually needs!

A kingsize mattress in a bedroom
Where possible natural fibres should always be preferred if your budget allows

It is worth bearing in mind that there is only so much upholstery that can be contained in any mattress. When considering your mattress purchase, you will have to keep looking at whether any additional £100 or so is better spent on upholstery contained or would it be better spent on separate comfort layers? It does become a juggling act but after a few comparisons, it can become relatively easy.

The more you have to spend the better the combination you can expect to achieve. But, there does come a point where the price paid and comfort achieved balances out. The additional money being spent will be on the higher quality of materials used which in many cases does not significantly equate to increased comfort.

Hand side stitching mattress 3
All our mattresses are lovingly made by hand; for us by us.

Mattresses are made up of 2 main components. Support and comfort.
Mattresses are made up of 2 main components. Support and comfort.
'Support' is dictated by bodyweight whereas 'Comfort' is your personal preference
'Support' is dictated by bodyweight whereas 'Comfort' is your personal preference

This is just a starter post on what you are up against. It is very hard to give a general explanation considering the vast array of price points and what these price points will give you. After you have read a few of our articles you will soon come to understand what it is you should be looking for and more importantly where your money is going.

Why not ring our friendly team on 0161 437 4419 for a personalised recommendation?

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