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3 common mistakes to avoid when buying a mattress

Buying a mattress is one of those life events that can be confusing, stressful and annoying if you get it wrong. The lure of marketing and the overwhelming variety of brands and types of mattresses as well as “expert” salespeople, can make the decision more complicated than it needs to be.

Here are 3 common mistakes people make when they are purchasing a new mattress:

  1. Going for the most expensive mattress. Let’s face it, if you have a spare $10K lying around then by all means drop that on a new mattress. Why not buy a few and then you can really test em out. You will get some serious bragging rights when telling people that you have the best mattress money can buy. Whether or not it is the best is another story. You really need to find a mattress that suits YOU, not someone else. So if the $1000 mattress in a box feels amazing, then go for it. You can spend the other $9K on a nice holiday.

  2. Not selecting a mattress for the position you sleep in. The rule of thumb for sleeping is that if you are a front sleeper you should have a firmer mattress to support your whole body and keep your spine aligned, otherwise it will sink into a soft mattress. For a back sleeper you will need a firm to medium mattress to keep your spine aligned. If you are a side sleeper then you need a softer mattress to allow you spine to stay aligned so the curves can sink into the mattress a little. Also your shoulder and hip will create pressure points and may cause or exacerbate pain if you have existing pain in these areas if the mattress is too firm. Generally mattresses that are extremely hard or soft are no no’s, unless your personal preference is for these.

  3. Blaming your old mattress. Unless your old mattress is 30years old and sinking in the middle it is a good idea to first look at how you are sleeping before you blame the bed. Sleeping in a bad position on a good mattress can cause pain and a disturbed sleep. If you sleep on your stomach with your neck cranked to one side all night, no mattress you buy is going to help. The best positions for sleeping are either on you back or on your side with both knees bent to keep the spine in a neutral position. On your back you can place a pillow under the knees to take the pressure off your back. If you are on your side you can place a pillow between your knees to prevent your knees from hurting and to take pressure off your hips.

Considerations when buying a mattress:

  • If you are sharing a bed then how does your partner sleep? If you sleep in the same position then this will be easy but if one is a back sleeper and the other sleeps on their side predominately then you will have different needs. Likely if you get a firm mattress the side sleeper will find it uncomfortable. The good news is bed companies have thought of this and some have options for either changing the foam inside on either sides or having 2 separate mattresses together, called a Split Mattress. Sleeping Duck ( offer a foam mattress like this. There are many others that have separate beds together from Sealy and others.

  • Your sleeping position and pillow position are more important than the mattress or pillow. As I said before you can sleep in a terrible position on a really expensive mattress and still be in pain. It’s the same with office chairs. If you sit with poor posture in a really expensive office chair you will still get pain.

  • Returns policy. Lots of the Mattress in a box companies like Koala and Ecosa offer 100-120 day trial periods where you can try it and if you don't like it they will come and pick it up, take it to a charity and give you a full refund. No issues. They may try to convince you to keep it by offering you a pillow top, depending on why you don’t like it. Some in store mattresses are also offer these periods too, which makes it a great time to get a new mattress.

  • Never pay full price! Never ever! This mostly goes for retail shops like Snooze and Forty Winks. They usually have 40% off sales so even if there is no sale you should be asking what their best price is and shop around. Expect to get 40% off the retail. For the online mattresses they will usually be discounted anyway. You know the drill - “ Was $15,000,000, reduced to $1000”. There is no way to bargain with these but they are already affordable enough that you shouldn’t need too. Often they have promo codes especially from previous purchases, so if you have a friend who has recently bought an online mattress then they may have a discount code for you to save more.

  • Are you sharing the bed with kids? You need a king size mattress. Even with this you will probably still find yourself clinging to the edges of the bed for dear life. These days King Size mattresses aren’t as expensive as they used to be so it will be a very wise investment.

Types of mattresses:

Coil Mattress:

There are two types of coil mattresses:

Continuous coil mattresses - are made from a single piece of wire looped into springs.

Open-coil mattresses - are made of single springs fixed together by one wire.


$400 to $10,000 (based on queen size)


They're usually lighter than other options.

Typically cheaper.


Can wear out quickly.

Because the springs move as one unit the mattress is less responsive to your body.

Any tossing and turning is likely to disturb a partner.

Springs can rust.

Memory Foam:

Topped with a layer of temperature-sensitive viscoelastic material, aka memory foam. This contours to your body when you are in the bed. When you get out it goes back to its normal shape - this is where the “memory” comes in. Don’t worry, it won't remember what you get up to in the bed.


$1500 to $6500 (based on queen size)


Absorbs your weight as you sink in, taking pressure off your joints and increasing circulation.

Can mould to the shape of your body.

No risk of rust (if foam only).


Can make you feel "encased".

Can feel too solid and dense (not springy). Not likely to please someone wanting a softer, more cushioned night's sleep.

Can get warm easily due to limited air circulation so you can end up a sweaty mess in summer. Not great if you run hot.

Very heavy compared with spring mattresses so this can make it hard to move.

Latex Foam:

A blend of natural and synthetic latex that moulds to body shape.


$1800 to $4900 (based on queen size)


Durable and breathable.

Better for people with allergies as they don't gather dust mites.

No risk of rust


Has a solid feel, so they're not likely to please someone wanting a softer, more cushioned night's sleep.

Very heavy compared with spring mattresses so this can make it hard to move.

Cheaper versions can get saggy over time.

Pocket spring:

Has up to 3000 springs sewn into individual fabric pockets.


$1200 to $6400 (based on queen size)


Good air circulation.

Firmness can be set by tweaking spring tension (by manufacturer).

Good support by distributing your body weight evenly.

Can support two people of two different body weights well because the springs are separate.


Can be heavy to turn, as they're filled with natural materials, such as lambswool.

Natural materials can exacerbate allergies.

Springs can rust.

So there you have it, buying a mattress is a minefield at the best of times. But if you take this advice with you then you should at least be able to make a more informed decision that works best for you.

Please note that this is purely based on experience and opinion. We haven't received kick backs from any of these companies so this independent advice.

If you have any further questions on pain you are experiencing from sleeping then feel free to get in touch and we can help you out before you drop $10K on a new mattress.

Mattresses are only part of the picture when it comes to sleeping. If you would like to find out about pillows you can read our blog post on them here.


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