Not sleeping well? You may need a new mattress. “A bed with the correct support, comfort and space will ensure you wake less, move about less, are less disturbed by your partner and are less likely to wake up feeling tired or aching,” says a spokesperson from the Sleep Council, who advises replacing your mattress every seven years and/or when you start waking up with stiffness or aches and pains; you don’t sleep as well as you did a year ago; you sleep better in other beds; or your mattress shows signs of wear and tear.
Traditionally, the most popular type of mattress has been pocket sprung, in which the springs are sewn into individual fabric pockets. But foam and latex mattresses – whether pure foam or latex, memory foam or a hybrid – are catching up fast, with many of the “new generation” ones arriving in a surprisingly small box, inside which they’ve been vacuum packed. Although the downside of these is that you can’t try them out as they’re only available online, we found that many of them offer just as good support as pocket sprung, with the main difference being that they mould around your body, keeping you warmer. And because these manufacturers are so confident you’ll like them, the vast majority offer a trail period of around 100 nights, during which you can send it back and ask for a full refund if you don’t like the feel of it.
Whatever type you go for, find it out if it needs turning. Some people prefer a non-turn mattress, which only needs rotating rather than turning. Remember that the mattress and frame need to work in tandem, so you should also check which kinds of mattresses will work well with your bed base. The filling is also important to think about too as these offer different properties, comfort and warmth options – and don’t forget to look into the thickness and tensions, which can vary greatly.
1. Casper: from £350, Amazon
This American-made foam-core mattress, with memory foam layer, has backing from the likes of designer Steven Alan and actors Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio. But it only recently launched in the UK as a bed-in-a-box option. A particular hit with our testers, it’s marginally softer than the Simba, one of its closest rivals, and great for all types of sleepers, including people who sleep on their backs – and if you treat it well, it should last you a decade or more. It’s stable and breathable, but there aren’t any handles, so rotating or turning this mattress (which should be done every three to six months) is no mean feat. Available in sizes single, double, king or super king.
2. The Simba Hybrid: from £399, Simba
Another vacuum packed mattress, this one comes from a UK start-up and is made from a foam core (16cm), with an outer layer of memory foam (3cm), followed by a final layer of micro-pocket springs (4cm). It’s marginally softer than average and is a great all-rounder, winning particular brownie points for lighter people who sleep on their backs. It’s stable, keeps sweat at bay if you get hot at night and you won’t need to replace it for years as it’s as robust as they come – there’s a 100-night sleep trial period available too. But although it’s not that heavy, we’d have been grateful or some handles when it comes to turning. Available in a massive range of sizes: the UK standards for single, small double, double, king and super king, as well as the EU standards for small single, single, double, large double and queen.
3. Eve: from £399, Eve
Another rolled and vacuum packed mattress that’s ordered online and delivered to your door, the difference with this yellow-branded one – which has two foam layers and a 3.5cm layer of memory foam on top – is that the manufacturer makes the bold claim it’s the most comfortable mattress in the world. Some side sleepers and lighter people may well agree, but we’re not sure larger people (particularly those who sleep on their back) will be so gratified. It’s soft, yet supportive, and very stable, although it’s a pain to rotate (it doesn’t need turning), with no handles. Oh, and check out the bedding too – it’s fabulous. Available in 11 different sizes, from single to 7 foot x 7 foot.
4. The One by Made: from £349, Made
As with the Casper, there are no try-before-you-buy options with this firm memory-foam mattress as it’s only available online, arriving in a remarkably compact box. But take it from us that it provides impressive support for most people, except perhaps larger folk who sleep on their back, who tend to need greater support. It’s stable and long-lasting, with no signs of softening even years later, but avoid it if you tend to get sweaty at night. And thank goodness you don’t need to turn it as it is incredibly heavy and has no handles. Available in sizes single, double, king and super king.
5. Dormeo Memory Plus: from £199.99, Dormeo
This is a great price for such a top-quality memory-foam mattress. It supports people of all shapes and sizes, particularly those who are lighter and shorter. It’s just a smidgeon firmer than average and its high breathability factor means it doesn’t get damp if you sweat. It doesn’t sag over time, particularly if you rotate it – although good luck with that as there are no handles. And your partner can roll over to their heart’s content without you feeling a thing. Available in sizes single, double, small double, king and super king.
6. Leesa: from £390, Amazon
Made from three layers of differing density foam – including memory foam – this is another bed-in-a-box mattress, which was slightly firmer than the others we tried. It provides great spinal support for all body types – even superseding the Casper for people who sleep on their backs (although not quite as comfy as the Casper for people who sleep on their side). It’s brilliant for restless sleepers as it’s so stable that no other part of the bed moves when you do. Both the breathability and longevity are second-to-none and the company makes a donation to charity for each mattress sold. But it’s awkward to move. Available in sizes single, double, king and super king, as well as the EU equivalent of those.
7. Sleepeezee Spirit 2000: from £370, Amazon
We love the spring and memory foam combo (pocket sprung core, with two outer layers of memory foam and pillow-top surface) of this cloud-like mattress, which is bound to send you straight to sleep when you hit the sack, although we were confused by the manufacturer’s claim that it’s firm as we found it slighter softer than average, although not squidgy. Indeed, it’s supportive for most people, except taller people and the overweight, and you can easily move around without annoying your partner. Not as breathable as some, though. Available in sizes single, double, king size and super king.
8. Sealey Pocket Teramo 1400: from £650, Next
A top name in the industry, Sealy has hit the jackpot with this soft pocket-sprung mattress with an added latex layer. It’s instantly comfortable, lulling you off to the land of nod as soon as your head hits the pillow and although it’s best for those who are lighter and shorter than average, it’s good for pretty much anyone except the very tall or heavy. It’s very easy to roll over on it in the night without annoying your other half. Plus, it’s breathable, lasts well and is a doddle to turn. Available in single, double, king or super king.
9. Silentnight Studio: from £349, Amazon
Don’t make the mistake (as we did) of lying on this as soon as it’s out of the box. Ours took a good 24 hours to feel comfy, but it was worth the wait as the unique combination of gel and memory foam responds perfectly to the contours of your body, creating no nasty pressure points that you get with many pocket sprung mattresses in the same price point. Plus, it bounces back into shape quickly. You can choose from soft, medium or firm and there’s a contemporary bed frame range to match it with if you’re looking for a complete change. It’s reasonable on breathability, although if you’re really prone to clamminess, there are better options. Available in single, double, king and super king.
10. Warren Evans Tranquil: from £235, Warren Evans
London-based bed maker Warren Evans has more than three dozen mattresses in its range. This pocket sprung model is among the firmest and feels solid and supportive thanks to 1,500 springs, which mean that when your significant other rolls over, you’re not bounced around, too. All the company’s mattresses have a no-quibble five-year guarantee – apart from the ones guaranteed for 10 years. Available in seven sizes, from small single to super king size.
11. The Woolroom Deluxe 5000: from £755.30, The Woolroom
Drifting off into the land of nod will be a breeze when you sink into this sumptuous pocket-sprung mattress, made purely from British wool, which means it’s 100 per cent chemical free and flame retardant. You’ll probably enjoy an uninterrupted night’s sleep with no morning aches and pains too, thanks to excellent support. There are cheaper versions in the range, but this one won us over because it’s more breathable and is available in different tensions and bespoke sizes (the standard sizes are single, double, king and super king). It’s mighty heavy for turning, though.
12. Ministry of Sleep: from £325, Ministry of Sleep
It can take a few nights to get used to the new texture of layered memory foam, which seems to mould itself to your body as you turn, providing great stability. But once you become accustomed, you may genuinely find it hard to sleep on anything else. It is easy to move around on, as well as being breathable. But as with many other bed-in-a-box options that you order online, it’s hard to move around. Available in sizes single, double, king and super king (all of those are available in special, Ikea-friendly dimensions, too).
13. Bruno: from £350, Bruno
This fabulous bed-in-a-box mattress is the only product sold by Bruno and boasts a 20cm foam core, with a thinner layer of natural latex on top. It has the same softness and comfort levels as the Casper (softer than average; incredibly comfy) and it’s a joy for smaller or average size people, including those who sleep on their back. It stands the test of time and it’s breathable. It’s easier to turn than the Casper, but it restricts your movement more than some others we tested, so if you’re a restless sleeper, another option may suit you better. Available in single, double, king and super king, as well as the EU equivalents of those sizes (which differ marginally in dimension).
14. Harrison Georgette 8200: from £729, Harrison Beds
This naturally-filled mattress features clever spring-within-a-spring technology and has huge attention to detail which – along with the high number of springs – means it’s exceptionally supportive and comfortable right up to the very edges. The airflow is outstanding, so it always stays dry even if you perspire, and there are two levels for firmness and support to choose from, so all body weights and types of sleepers are covered. Better still, it doesn’t need turning.
15. Ikea Morgedal: £165, Ikea
This is just a single lump of foam, but don’t let that put you off as it passed our body support-tests with flying colours (including for those who sleep on their back) and it’s comfy, stable, long-lasting and, best of all, cheap. To get the best out of the mattress – which isn’t too soft or firm – give it a few days after unrolling it to regain its shape and ideally use it with a slatted bed base or mattress base. It actually benefits from not being turned, but be warned it can get damp if you get clammy. Available in standard double.
16. Somnus Supremacy Marquis 14000: from £1,389, Somnus
With a name like that, this mattress has a lot to live up to – and thankfully it does. Made from all-natural materials including Egyptian cotton, wool, horsehair and mohair, it also boasts a whopping 1,4000 springs which – together with the unique pocket spring technology – means it’s in a league of its own when it comes to comfort. It’s excellent at ensuring the best possible support for your posture. It’s available in various levels of firmness, including ortho-tension (extra firm) and it can be halved and zipped together for differing preferences, as well as made to both standard and bespoke sizes.
The Verdict: Mattresses
The Casper is our favourite of the new-generation bed-in-a-box options. It’s built to last, supportive, breathable – just a great all-rounder. The Leesa – which is ever so slightly firmer – comes a close second. From the pocket sprung options, the Somnus Supremacy Marquis 14000 comes with an eye-watering price-tag, but is utterly divine, while the Sealey Pocket Teramo 1400 is a real find for a more mid-range price. If price is your main consideration, we were amazed by the value for money provided by both the Dormeo Memory Plus Mattress and Ikea Morgedal.
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