Having a great night’s sleep is very important for health and wellbeing – and, of course, we know that 100% wool filled bedding will aid a better night’s sleep. Wool’s temperature regulating properties, combined with its resistance to dust mites and the build-up of micro bacteria means that it not only helps you to maintain a balanced core body temperature whilst you sleep, but it’s also more hygienic - and great for asthma sufferers.
However, we often forget that investing in a good mattress is also a vitally important part of creating the right environment for a restful sleep. There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning all night because you just can’t get comfy or waking up with backache because your mattress sags and dips, so doesn’t give you the right support whilst you sleep. There’s also the hygiene aspect to consider too. A mattress used over an 8-year period can accumulate 23,000 hours’ worth of sweat, dead skin…and dust mites. It makes us all feel a bit squeamish to read the cold, hard facts - but this is why the general guideline for mattress replacement is every 8 years.
So, how do you go about finding the ideal mattress for you and your needs? Here’s some top tips.
1. Research the different types of mattresses:
- Innerspring – these mattresses use coils, which provide a traditional ‘bounce’ feel and offer support. Many are made with natural materials so they are breathable and can help to regulate temperature - this is particularly so with mattresses containing wool.
- Latex – latex comes from rubber trees. Mattresses made from latex can offer ‘bounce’ and responsiveness but are more effective at temperature regulation if they have air-circulating innerspring coils.
- Memory foam – these mattresses are designed to contour to the body, but some users find that memory foam can ‘sleep warm’ as they can trap heat.
- Hybrid – these combine memory foam or latex layers on top of an innerspring mattress, with the goal of providing a mix of softness and support.
- Air – these use an air pump to inflate the mattress to the desired firmness, many come with a separate chamber for each side of the bed to accommodate differing preferences.
2. Visit stores to test out mattresses: Everyone is different and so it’s important to get it right. Ending up with the wrong type of mattress could lead to disrupted sleep and discomfort and can be an expensive mistake! Do visit a range of stores to see what they have and make sure you lie on it. If it’s for two of you, you should try it together. Ideally, your neck and lower back should be in a neutral position (i.e. straight) whilst lying on your mattress, to promote good spinal alignment.
3. Beware of gimmicks: Some sellers may use the terms ‘orthopaedic’ or ‘medically-approved’ and whilst a mattress may have orthopaedic-friendly features or may be recommended by respected individual members of medical-related organisations, this does not mean the mattress has official certification from a registered body. However, if you have a back or neck problem it is worth talking to your doctor or physiotherapist to see what they might suggest. Whilst they are not mattress experts, they do know your medical history and may have advice from that perspective.
4. Firm mattresses aren’t always best: Don’t always assume that a firm or hard mattress is best. Some research has shown that the best mattress for lower back pain is a medium firm, rather than firm mattress. There is a difference between firm support and firm ‘feel’, and this is why it is important to test out first.
5. Think about adjustable beds: If you find you are more comfortable sitting in a recliner than lying down, then an adjustable bed with its specially designed mattress may be comfier. They allow you to elevate your head and knees slightly, which may relieve lower back pressure.
6. Read reviews from real customers: It is worth seeking out reviews from people who have purchased the mattress you are interested in.
7. Check the warranty: Before you buy, check there is a warranty for the mattress and what that warranty covers. They will not cover general ‘wear and tear’ (such as spillages) or damage through misuse. Mattress stains are likely to void your warranty, even if they have nothing to do with a future defect.
How often should you clean your mattress?
Once you have your new mattress, then regular cleaning will help to keep it fresher for longer. There are no set rules as it will depend on the mattress and the person sleeping on it but every six months is advisable. Which? magazine recommends tackling stains as soon as they appear, but make sure you test out ay cleaning solutions first. For traditional sprung mattresses, gentle vacuuming with a handheld attachment can help to remove dust but check first that this is suitable for your mattress. Which? also suggest airing your mattress for a few hours when changing your bedlinen and turning the mattress regularly if it is a mattress that can be turned - check the mattress label for instructions. A mattress protector will also help keep your mattress stain free and we’d recommend using one that is 100% cotton, unless you need an option with a waterproof layer. You can find waterproof protectors that are more eco-friendly at HippyChick.
Top up on the luxury
A good mattress topper will provide a layer of comfort if your mattress is a little on the firm side. Opting for one made with 100% natural fibres (and are therefore breathable) will also help with temperature regulation. Obviously, as we specialise in handcrafting 100% British wool toppers, here in Devon, we believe that wool is the best option and we’ve just won an Indy Best Buy Award for ‘Best Natural Fibre Topper’. As well as being breathable, temperature regulating, dust mite resistant and naturally fire retardant, wool is also sustainable and therefore eco-friendly. There’s another benefit too…many of our customers who have relied upon their trusty electric blanket have found that sleeping on a wool topper means they no longer need it, so that’s more eco-friendly too! If you’d like to know more, just get in touch or call 01752 345399 – we’re here to help!
Ref: Which Magazine, Spine Health, Sleep Foundation and The Godfather (for the blog title!).