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How to Choose a Mattress

There are some everyday purchases we all make without even thinking twice: it’s easy to throw caution to the wind when picking out a lamp shade for your living room, or trying out a new brand of washing up liquid–no harm, no foul, right? But when it comes to buying a new mattress, it’s more than simply a purchase you’ll use every day, and it’s definitely one you don’t want to get wrong.

You’re investing in your sleep, and so a new mattress is one of the most important “life” purchases you’ll make. And when it comes to making such a big purchase, you’re not alone in wanting to make sure you make the right choice. To help you sleep easy, we’ve compiled the only mattress buying guide you’ll ever need. No second-guesses; no stress, and no doubt: your guide to smart shopping and sleep happiness starts right here.

So read on to discover the top reasons people decide to buy a new mattress, how to find your perfect match, and why buying online not only takes the worry out of mattress shopping, but provides long-term satisfaction and great sleep: guaranteed.

Understand What Triggers the Mattress Purchase

Now, let’s begin! We’ve all been there: we go to sleep one night on our trusty old mattress, and in the morning we wake up to the discovery that’s just not working for us any more. Here are the top four reasons people decide to buy a new mattress:

  1. Back pain: If you’re waking up feeling less-than-refreshed, then your mattress might be to blame. Aching limbs and sore muscles worthy of a gym-workout are a sign that your mattress is no longer providing the contouring and support that you need. While you may have grown used to the way your body rolls toward that sag in the middle of the mattress, if your body is suffering, then so is your sleep, and that’s really not worth putting up with, is it? In the short-term, you’re going to feel mighty cranky on that less-than-deep sleep you’re getting each night, and in the long-run, you’re looking at some serious discomfort.
  2. Mattress deterioration: Think it’s just your car that needs a regular MOT? Just as your tyres wear down with usage, so does your mattress–especially when you consider just how much use it’s getting! To make sure you’re sleeping right every night, it’s recommended that you replace your mattress every 5-10 years. So if you’re finding the couch cosier to sleep on than your own bed, or ‘gramming pictures of hotel beds from your holiday, then it could be time to check that your mattress is still ticking all the boxes. Not sure what qualifiers of a mattress MOT pass should include? No sagging; no sleep disturbance when you or a partner rolls over; and no aches and pains. If any sound (and feel!) familiar, your existing mattress might be a write-off.
  3. Moving to a new house: Moving to a new place can be exciting, but let’s face it–it can be pretty stressful, not to mention exhausting, too. It’s bad enough trying to locate the kettle when you unpack, let alone the very idea of hauling a mattress on and off a van, and trying to get it to fit up that particularly narrow staircase you hadn’t even considered until you’re stuck facing a very sweaty manoeuvre with a friend who’s now questioning whether they really want to stay for a cup of tea after all that leg-work. Moving is a big enough hurdle, and when there’s new room sizes to consider, transportation, and above all, peace of mind, it pays to eliminate as much stress as possible so you can relax and starting enjoying your new living space as soon as possible. With Nectar, you can relax safe in the knowledge that your order comes with free shipping (within 48-hours of purchase within the UK mainland–how’s that for convenience?) and returns, and the added bonus a premium delivery service who will unbox your new mattress in the room of your choice–leaving you free to find that kettle and make that all-important first cup of tea in your new home.
  4. Need a bigger mattress: Life happens. A new family member; a new partner; a new room. It’s natural to outgrow your mattress as your lifestyle changes. Adapting to such shifts with a larger mattress, rather than compromising on your sleep, can be the difference you need to keep enjoying all the new things life throws at you year after year–after all, we all need a little room to grow.


Finding that just-right firmness in a mattress is vital for happy, healthy sleep night after night, which is why we recommend look for something that’s medium-firm. It should contour to your body while still providing optimum support to all those key pressure-points.

Not sure what firmness level will work for you? A fail-safe rule is to choose a firmness based on your go-to sleeping position:

Sleep position and firmness

Sleeping Position - Shooting Star


If you favour sleeping on your back, then you’ll appreciate a little extra support–the kind that a spring mattress just can’t provide, as they are often considered far too stiff for back sleepers. If you’ve ever woken with aches and pains after a night’s sleep on your mattress, then you know that support is crucial–especially for your lower back. Most chiropractors recommend a medium-firm mattress that hugs the spine–and we do, too.


You’re the kind of sleeper that needs a good mattress on your side. With pressure on your shoulders and hips, you’ll need a mattress that allows for a little sinkage to provide that all-important night-long comfort. Look for a memory foam mattress that contours around these areas to ensure your spine remains properly aligned overnight and you wake feeling rested.

Sleeping Position - Yearning
Sleeping Position - Log Roller


Whether this is your preferred position, or you find yourself rolling onto your stomach subconsciously, chances are that you can suffer from lower back pain. A firm mattress will have your back while you sleep happily on your stomach. Too soft a mattress, and you’ll find your body (and your mood) sinking.


You’re not one to pick favourites, and you tend to sleep in whichever position takes your fancy, so you need a memory foam mattress that’s as adaptable as you. You’ll want some sinkage on your side with plenty of comfort and contouring, and a firmness that’s not too hard on your stomach, but brings you the support you need when you choose to sleep on your back.

Sleeping Couple

Types of Mattress, Difference and Budget

So we’ve discussed the circumstances that can lead to purchasing a new mattress, and how to match your search to your sleep style for that perfect night’s rest. But we’re just getting started. You know now that a medium-firm memory foam mattress has got your sleep at the forefront of its comfort mission, but that’s just scratching the surface. Just as your Mum told you: beauty really runs skin deep, and with a Nectar mattress, the beauty of our design is all within its smart layers.

Nectar has four smart layers each designed to bring you blissful rest.We use the best materials, integrated with hardworking, innovative design to give you comfort without ever sacrificing support. Each tier of our four layered mattress construction works together to make sure that your sleep will be as good on the thousandth night as it is on the first. But what makes memory foam so superior–and what’s the difference between memory foam and other materials on the mattress market? We’re glad you asked.

  • Memory Foam Mattress: This science-savvy material was originally developed by NASA in the 1960s in order to keep pilots and passengers cushioned during flights. It’s come a long way since then, but it’s still the gold-standard for mattresses, offering reliable support, comfort, and back pain prevention, no matter your sleep position. Memory foam is also a favourite with couples, too, as it not only absorbs motion caused from movements in the night (which means you can continue to sleep soundly even if your partner gets out of bed to nip to the bathroom) but provides just the right amount of bounce for those moments when sleep isn’t yet on your mind. A double size memory foam mattress can start at around £600 and, depending on quality, rise steeply. Nectar prides itself on only using premium foams while keeping the price low by cutting out the middleman: we don’t believe quality sleep should be inclusive to those with deep pockets.
  • Latex Mattress: While memory foam will contour to the exact shape of your body (think of it like a personal sleep tailor), latex just doesn’t have the extra-give, and can only conform to the general outline of your body. Latex also isn’t as quick to react to those movements you want to minimise in the night, so if you sleep with a partner, you’ll be more aware of sharing your sleep space. Despite being less sleep-smart, Latex is expensive to work with, with a double-size mattress staring at around £900, so you end up parting with more money for a less-than-satisfying sleep experience.
  • Hybrid Mattress: There is some hype behind hybrids, due to their interesting mix of materials. With an innerspring core covered in foam, and completed with multiple memory foam top layers, the result is a bouncier, and bulkier mattress than others. If you’re curious about hybrid mattresses, it pays to do some research and shop around thoroughly, as hybrids can hugely vary in quality from one brand to another. And just as the quality-gap can vary, so too, can the price, with some models costing as little as £400, while others can demand a price tag of well over £1,000, depending on construction.

Mattress Sizes and Room Sizes

Which mattress size to choose based on room size

Choosing the right mattress size is enough to make anyone lose sleep, with a lot of different perspectives to consider. There’s the size of the room, how much sleeping-space is going to be needed (especially if a partner or a pet is going to be sharing with you), and how you want your sleeping and living space to look and work alongside one another (because no one likes stubbing their toe on the corner of the bed to navigate their way to the bathroom). Some simple maths makes light work of all those considerations so you can focus on your sleep instead.

Small Double
Super King
  • Single: The single mattress measures 35.5 inches by 75 inches making it 6 inches wider than a small single. A single is ideal for young children and teens, or in guest bedrooms where spare space is lacking but comfort is still key.
  • Small Double: The small double is the go-to choice for a starter mattress. It measures 47 inches by 75 inches, which gives a single sleeper room to stretch out. It’s also an ideal choice for most average-sized rooms and those living in smaller city apartments.
  • Double: A double bed, 53 inches by 75 inches, is the most popular choice, and for good reason, as this comfortable size means two people can sleep peacefully with plenty of room. You will need a bedroom at least 10 by 10 square feet to keep things feeling comfortable.
  • King: A stately king bed measures 59 inches by 79 inches and requires a larger room that is at least 10 x 12 square feet to allow room to walk around. If you like plenty of extra room (and you happen to be a bit taller), or have a friendly dog who tends to think of your bed as their own, too, then those extra inches make all the difference.
  • Super King: A luxurious super king is a generous 71 inches by 79 inches, meaning you get the same length as a king size mattress (good news for those with longer limbs), but you also get the added bonus of extra width, too. This does mean that, like the king, the super king mattress requires a more generously-sized bedroom to comfortably house such a royalty-worth mattress.
Nectar Mattress

What to Consider Before you Purchase a Mattress

Now that you know what kind of mattress you want, it’s time to consider those equally-important finer details in order to make your decision a smart one. No small print necessary: here are three top things to keep in mind:



We believe that the only really way to know you’ve made the right choice is to sleep on it. Your new mattress, that is. Nectar offers the longest home trial in the industry: 365 nights. This means you can rest easy in the knowledge that you can truly make sure that your new mattress helps you sleep right night after night. It’s that extra peace of mind for you, and that extra vote of confidence from us. We think you’ll fall in love with your mattress well before the seasons get underway, but if the mattress doesn’t work for you, you can return it for free.



We love reading reviews (and not just our own--but you should read a few!). If you’re anything like us, we bet you scroll through other customers reviews on all sorts of products -- from washing machines to microwaves -- so why should buying a mattress be any different? Not only can you find honest opinions from people all with different needs (some of which you might not have considered for yourself), but it’s always refreshing to gain a different perspective, and just hear it from someone else, too. Reviews strongly influence decision-making, and can provide extra insight that you might find useful--for example, if you’ve been wondering about your back pain, and comparing memory foam with latex, it can be really handy to read someone else’s experience with similar mattresses they’ve tried in the past.



Knowing a product comes with a warranty doesn’t always provide people with the peace of mind they’d hope for: for one, the warranty details are often laden down with confusing jargon and terms and conditions, and if you’re not buying directly from the supplier, then you can feel like you’re being fobbed off if an issue does unfortunately arise. When it comes to making such a big purchase you want to make sure that what you buy is what you get. It’s important to consider the warranty on a mattress if the mattress experiences sagging or compression which can disrupt your sleep and cause unwanted aches in the morning. You’ll also want to think about how long a company is guaranteeing the life of its mattress. When you’ve invested all this time in researching and shopping for a mattress, do you really want to repeat the process again in another 5-8 years - the average life of many mattresses? Nectar offers an unrivaled Forever Warranty. This means that Nectar stands behind its products: within the first ten years, we will replace any mattress purchased from us with a brand new one if it has any defects in materials or workmanship. After year 10, we’ll completely repair or re-cover your Nectar if a manufacturing or materials defect is verified. Nectar will also happily cover any transportation costs involved. No complicated terms. No hidden agenda. Forever means forever.

Where to Buy a Mattress

When it comes to buying a mattress, it seems simple, right? You can buy online, or in a store. So which options comes out on top? Let’s look into the pros and cons of each method:

Buying a Mattress from a Store

In a store you can see and feel the bed for yourself. Depending on what kind of store you go to, you might also be able to compare different brands under one roof. There will also usually be a sales assistant who can answer your questions right on the spot.

What might seem as pros at first, can also end up making it onto the cons list, too. While you do get to see the mattress in person, it’s not really the most comfortable, or reliable of situations, is it? How much can you really gage from those couple of minutes awkwardly laid out on a mattress with your shoes on while the sales assistant looks on, hoping to make another sale that day? If the store is busy, or there’s a target to hit, you can begin to feel rather uncomfortable–seen as just another sale, rather than a person deserving of a mattress that provides them with the right comfort for them night after night.

Buying a mattress online

Sat in the comfort of your own home; no traffic, no overwhelmingly large store to walk around; a cup of coffee by your side… yup: it’s hard to beat the convenience of online shopping. You can read reviews and compare product information, all available at the click of a mouse, and look through as many brands and types of mattresses as you want without leaving your home–all at your own pace. Better yet, you’re not just saving petrol and weary legs, but money in your bank account, too, as shopping online is often cheaper with no cost of a physical store location to have to consider.

Online retailers also tend to offer generous trial periods as they’re eager to get people to try their products for themselves. This might just be our favourite pro, as we know nothing compares with seeing how the bed fits into your bedroom and how you feel sleeping on it night after night. With Nectar you could even try it for 365 days, and return it during that time if you have a change of heart.

While it’s true that you don’t get to feel the mattress before you buy it, you don’t have to wait long to do so (48 hours for all mainland UK orders)–and there’s no risk in waiting for your mattress to arrive before you get to experience it. From the comfort of your home, you can touch, lie down, sleep, and relax on your Nectar mattress for a whole year before you need to make your decision. And if, for whatever reason, your mattress doesn’t work for you, you can simply return it (and we even take care of that for you, too). We’ve made it easy to buy a mattress online so you can feel safe and secure in your decision, pros and cons all considered.



From Single to King: Bed Size Dimensions Broken Down




To ease back pain, we recommend you aim for a medium-firm memory foam mattress. This type of mattress will mold to your body and support the curvature of your spine along key areas such as your lower back and neck while still providing comfort. It’s helpful to read reviews from other customers who have purchased the mattress to see if it’s helped with their aches and pains.

Sleep experts suggest you replace your mattress every 5-10 years. If you you notice any sagging spots in your current mattress, or find yourself waking with aches and pains, then it could be time to invest in a new mattress. If you’re susceptible to body aches due to age or medical conditions, then it might be helpful to give your existing mattress a good check for signs of wear after five years.

Look for a medium-firm mattress in a material that contours to your body, like memory foam, for optimum support and comfort. You’ll also want to carefully consider your lifestyle and your sleep habits: if you’re sharing your bed with a partner or pets, then you’ll most likely want a double-sized mattress to ensure that everyone’s got enough room to stretch out. Finally, do your research: make sure to read reviews and look out for warranty terms and and the length of the trial period.

It’s actually a myth that a firm mattress is best for your back, as a too-firm mattress could add pressure to different parts of your body, which can lead to disruptive sleep at night, and pain in the morning. Instead, aim for balance and get a medium-firm mattress. This will give you both the support and softness you need to wake up feeling fresh and well-rested.

Yes, mattresses can cause back pain. A too-firm mattress adds pressure to certain parts of your body such as your shoulders and hips if you sleep on your side, which can cause pain. On the other end of the spectrum, a too-soft mattress will let your body sink into an unnatural position, meaning a lack of support, and poor spine alignment, which can equate to back pain when you wake.

Nectar Mattress


Customers seeking the best sleep of their life will love the many perks that buying a Nectar mattress offers them. We’ve figured out the perfect combination of cool, breathable comfort and support with four smart layers of memory-foam technology, partnered with our dedication to provide you with the best rest possible, every single night. We’ve got your sleep covered, and your peace of mind too, with friendly customer service, a Forever warranty and a 365 night home trial period with free shipping and returns at the heart of our mission to bring you the best practices in the industry.

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