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According to the Sleep Health Foundation, 33-45% of Australian adults are affected during the daytime by inadequate sleep, whether they’re not sleeping for long enough or just not getting good quality rest. Research shows that some main causes of lack of sleep include stress, depression, an overheated bedroom, a bad bedtime routine, and a low-quality mattress.

Finding the best mattress can be difficult. How do you know what works for you? Since everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the type of mattress they like, there’s no definitive guide to finding the best mattress to help you sleep.

However, there are some tips you can follow. Read on to discover what’s important when buying a mattress, to make sure you make the choice that will have you snoozing comfortably and feeling well-rested day-in, day-out.

How firm should your mattress be?

Mattresses don’t just fall into two categories; firm and soft, but actually are rated on a spectrum between the two. To help you decide which part of the spectrum you should veer towards, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of both firm and soft varieties.


A soft mattress

A soft mattress has a lot of give and so is great if you like sleeping on your side, as it contours easily to the curves of your body and provides a cushion. If you have back pain or pre-existing problems, a softer mattress might be best for you, though it’s important to check with a specialist as there are different kinds of back pain.

For some people, a soft mattress might actually be detrimental to their back health, as it provides less support than a firm surface. If you share a bed, you may find a soft mattress upsets the balance of both of you, as the heavier person can sink towards the centre.

A firm mattress

When sleeping on a firm surface, the bones absorb most of the pressure, alleviating stress on the muscles and improving circulation. A firm mattress keeps the spine aligned so is suitable for those that sleep on their back, which could allow for greater oxygen intake while you’re asleep.

If you’re making the switch from a soft to a firm mattress, it might feel a little uncomfortable at first – though most people get used to this. For specific back problems, such as arthritis, your doctor may advise against a firm surface. Again, get professional advice before making your final decision.

What type of mattress do I need?

Mattress shopping can feel like a minefield. From memory foam, to pocket spring to coils; how can you decide which one is best for you? We’ve rounded up some of the most popular types to help clear this up for you.

  • Coil mattresses: Coil mattresses are divided into two types; continuous (a single piece of wire that’s arranged into loops) and open coil (consists of single springs). This type is ideal for a spare room or short-term living arrangement as they’re often cheaper and lighter than other options but can wear out quickly and if the springs move, this can cause discomfort to the sleeper.
  • Memory foam mattresses: Popular amongst people that value comfort and spine health, memory foam mattresses are topped with a viscoelastic material. This material contours to the shape of your body and absorbs your weight, to minimise any impact to the joints.

Pocket spring mattresses: A pocket spring variety can have as many as 3000 springs sewn into fabric pockets, allowing for good body distribution and spine support. Available in a wide variety of firmness levels, this mattress is the most popular amongst Australians of all ages.