How to Choose a Mattress: Buying Guide

How to Choose a Mattress: Buying Guide

We spend a lot of our lives asleep in bed, so choosing your mattress is a very important decision. With all the options out there, it can be tricky to know where to start. With that in mind, we’ve put together a mattress buying guide so you know how to choose the best mattress for you.

Mattress size

The first thing you’ll need to consider when choosing a new mattress is the size. If it is for your existing bed frame, you’ll need to make sure that it fits - whether it’s a single bed or a king-size bed!

We have a full mattress size guide, including all standard sizes, to help you understand what you need.

Mattress firmness

Another big decision you need to make when choosing your mattress is how firm you want it to be, which is also known as mattress tension.

If you are unsure whether you prefer a firm or soft mattress, it is a good idea to do some research. We tend to find customers who visit our showrooms on average will opt for the what we consider to be a medium tension/softness mattress, such as our Superb Sprung Mattress with a medium spring unit.

The best way to work out which mattress tension is right for you is to visit one of our showrooms and try our range for yourself. We have showrooms in London, Cornwall, Devon and The Cotswolds - you can find the directions here

Although mattress firmness is mostly down to personal preference, your sleeping position may also affect the type of mattress you choose, which we explore below.

Here at Naturalmat, we have options available to suit everyone. Our Pocket Sprung mattresses have a more traditional, springy feel and are available in soft, medium and firm tension. Our Natural Fibre mattresses have a firmer and denser feel compared to our sprung mattresses and the tension is dictated by the layering of natural materials.

You can find out more about the tension of Naturalmat mattresses in our mattress firmness guide.

Mattress types

Even once you have decided on size and firmness, there are multiple mattress types to choose from.


A sprung mattress has a coil-based support system, with fabric layered on top to create a soft comfort layer. With pocket spring each spring is individually enclosed within its own fabric pocket and only responds to pressure in that area.

They have a bouncier feel and are usually available in soft, medium and firm tensions. Air can circulate freely with a sprung mattress, which makes them breathable. They also tend to have a lower price point than other mattress types.


These mattresses are made entirely with foam and no coils. They provide contouring to the body and can be good for pressure relief and motion isolation.
However, they are not as breathable as spring mattresses so this can make them a bad option for hot sleepers. They also tend to be made from synthetic materials which you may prefer to avoid (more on this later!).


As the name suggests - this is a mattress that is made from latex. It can be made entirely from latex, or it can be layered with other materials such as foam, springs, or natural fibres. Mattresses, like ours, can include natural and organic latex in their composition which we certainly believe is the optimal make up for the most comfortable mattress

Natural fibre

While they are not as well known, you can also buy mattresses that are made from natural fibres. These can either be made purely with layers of natural materials, such as lambswool, cashmere and natural latex or combined with springs.

Since these mattresses are made from natural materials, they are very comfortable and breathable. We offer two types of natural mattresses - mattresses made with layers of natural fibres and pocket-sprung mattresses with a natural top layer.

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Synthetic vs natural mattresses

We’ve hinted about this, but one thing you want to look out for when choosing a mattress is whether it’s made from synthetic materials or natural and organic materials.

If you want to steer clear of sweaty synthetic foams and chemical fire retardants and you are environmentally-minded, then you should certainly consider opting for a natural mattress.

Foam mattresses in particular have become very popular in recent years, but they are mostly made from these synthetic materials which aren’t as good for your health or the planet and can make you very sweaty while you sleep.

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Sleeping position and body type

The position you tend to sleep in is another factor to consider when choosing a mattress, particularly when it comes to firmness. It still depends on personal preference and other factors, but the general rules are as follows:

If you are a back sleeper, you want to go for a medium-firm mattress as you will put the most pressure on your lower back which needs to be supported.

If you are a front sleeper, you should generally opt for a firm mattress as you will also put pressure on your spine and you don’t want to sink in too much.

If you are a side sleeper, a soft-medium mattress may be best for you so that you can be properly aligned while sleeping on your side.

Another thing to consider is your body type. If you are heavier in build, you should consider a firmer mattress no matter how you sleep, as this will ensure you are properly supported. Finally, if you are tall, you want to make sure the dimensions of the mattress will fit you!

Sleep concerns

Other sleep concerns may also affect the type of mattress you choose, and need to be taken into consideration to ensure that you have the most comfortable experience possible.

For example, if you tend to run very hot while sleeping and often wake up sweaty, a breathable mattress will be very important for you.

Those with particular back pain issues may need a specific mattress that offers the best support for them, but it is generally best to seek medical advice on this as it depends on where you are experiencing pain.

When should you replace your mattress?

The time you should replace your mattress very much depends on the quality of the mattress, so you should always replace it if you notice it's affecting your sleep.

The Sleep Foundation suggest that - in general - you should replace your mattress every 6-8 years, depending on wear and tear.

A Naturalmat mattress has a lifespan of around 10 years and we have a Mattress for Life Initiative™ initiative to ensure that your Naturalmat mattress never ends up in landfill.

We hope this guide on how to choose a mattress has been useful and helped your decision-making process. If you’re unsure, it can be worth testing before you buy, so make sure to visit one of our showrooms to find your perfect mattress, or book an online showroom consultation.