Written by How To, ROOM IDEAS

How To Choose A Mattress? Complete Guide For Sleeping Mattress 2023

Choose Your Mattress

Faced with all the sleeping mattress lined up on the shelves, you quickly feel a little lost. Spring, foam, latex, memory foam… the choice, the technologies used and the prices are so varied that it is not easy to find your way around, whether in a store or on the Internet. Especially since the quality of the mattress is closely linked to the quality of sleep. It’s better to ask yourself how to choose a mattress is the right questions before buying a mattress rather than relying on the salesperson’s arguments or the buzzwords of the technology.

How to Properly Test a Sleeping Mattress?

The key to choosing a mattress is to try it out! There is no such thing as an ideal mattress. The choice of a mattress is very personal and depends on many criteria, including your morphology, your habits, and also your feeling, a very subjective criterion. A good sleeping mattress must be comfortable and, above all, offer good support for the spine in order to avoid back pain.

how to choose a mattress

In order for our sleeping mattress test results to be applicable to as many people as possible, our tests are carried out with two people of opposite sizes, a small, thin woman and a corpulent man.

How To Sleep With Body Pillow – Tips & Guide

Support and freedom from spinal deformity are measured in the back and side positions. But a mattress that fits one person may be considered uncomfortable by another. In other words, when you sleep with someone else, you should try out mattresses with someone else before you buy, and take your time:

  • Lying on the mattress, you try to pass your hand between your loins and the mattress. If you succeed, it is a bad sign: it is too firm.
  • Then you change position. If it is laborious, it is too soft or its memory foam layer is too intense.
  • Finally, we push the elbow in the mattress. If the hollow remains marked, we eliminate the model, it is too soft.
  • The choice is then a matter of feeling, the sensation of well-being, and even price.

Mattress Support And Firmness

The support of the mattress should not be confused with its firmness. The support corresponds to the sagging of the mattress, to its resistance to sinking, but also to its stability and its cushioning. Good support of the spine will help avoid back pain.

The firmness corresponds above all to the feeling of comfort when you lie down on the mattress. This is also known as the reception. It depends on many factors such as the fabric or the thickness of the filling of the surface.

There are different levels of firmness:

  • Very Soft
  • Soft
  • Balanced
  • Firm
  • Very Firm

Whatever the desired level of firmness, you should not rely on the label. Since there is no standard firmness scale, each manufacturer defines it in its own way. A mattress that is “firm” for one manufacturer may be called “soft” by another. The only good way to evaluate the firmness of a mattress is to try it out.

Note that many manufacturers present tables that relate morphology to mattress firmness. But there is no absolute rule! It is up to each person to choose according to his or her preferences. The important thing is how to choose a mattress that supports your body and your spine in particular.

What Is The Best Suspension Technology?

When we talk about the suspension of the mattress, we are referring to the technology that composes it, which is also called the core. If historically, there have been many (straw, wool, etc.), today, they are grouped into 4 large families: spring suspension, foam with the declination of memory foam, latex, and l ‘water. How to choose your latex or spring mattress? Foam or spring mattress? It is normal to ask these questions.

What Is Sleeping Independence?

Sleeping as a couple is not necessarily easy. Indeed, it is estimated that nocturnal awakenings linked to the movements of one’s spouse are around 80 per night. What justifies this feeling of fatigue that remains even after a long night’s sleep? Which mattress to choose in these conditions?

sleeping dependence

This is why, when you choose a sleeping mattress, you must pay particular attention to the sleeping independence it offers. It makes it possible to dampen the movements of the members of the couple, in order not to disturb each other. Some suspension technologies, such as pocket springs, favor it more than others, as you will discover by reading our article dedicated to sleeping independence.

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Which Mattress To Choose For Good Ventilation?

If you want to keep your mattress healthy for as long as possible, it is essential to air it well. Indeed, we sweat a lot at night, and some of us live in humid areas. As a result, the mattress does not have time to dry between two nights of sleep, mold develops, and dust mites and bacteria feed on it. Not very pleasant, is it?

Some technologies are naturally more airy than others, so you would favor latex or springs. Also find some tips for ventilating your mattress, in the form of hygiene tips to follow to discover by reading our article, mattress ventilation

Expert advice: The technology that offers the best ventilation is the pocket spring mattress

Which Mattress Ticking To Choose?

What is ticking? This is the envelope that surrounds the suspension and the padding of the mattress. Just like this one, the ticking determines the comfort of the reception when you lie down. It can be made of several materials, natural (cotton, silk, wool, etc.), or synthetic (polyester, etc.).

It is most often the subject of treatments, chemical or natural, intended to protect your sleeping mattress against bacteria, or even against fire. You are generally isolated from the ticking by the fitted sheet.

Expert advice: If you suffer from allergies, choose bamboo, a naturally anti-mite material.

Is A Thick Mattress More Comfortable?

The thickness and density of a mattress depend primarily on the type of mattress: spring, foam, or latex, its filling, but also whether it is for daily or occasional use. Generally, foam and latex mattresses are thinner than spring mattresses. Foam mattresses have an average thickness of between 18 and 25 cm. This can vary depending on the layers (memory foam, for example). Between 14 and 18 cm, they are more suitable for an extra bed or a child’s bed. Spring mattresses offer a thickness of 25 cm or more.

thick mattress

But if thickness and density can modify the welcome, it is not a guarantee of quality and good support! This is why we evaluate the support of mattresses during our tests: we calculate the resistance to sinking by applying a force to the center of the mattress, it must resist without compressing strongly. This test provides information on the mattress’ ability to absorb movement without hindering it.

Which Sleeping Mattress To Choose When You Have Back Pain?

Back pain plagues professionals, companies, and social security. In 2017, companies paid out more than a billion euros for the back problems of their employees, via the occupational accidents and diseases branch of Social Security. This is the equivalent of 12.2 million lost working days. Last year, one in five work accidents was linked to back pain, due to an unsuitable mattress and therefore poor quality sleep.

Back pain is therefore really not to be taken lightly because it also indicates that you are not sleeping optimally, your sleep is disturbed. The quality of the bedding and the mattress, in particular, can be an important element of prevention. It has been scientifically demonstrated that a misalignment of the spine at night causes pain, but also degrades the quality of sleep.

Back pain in the morning is mainly related to a single factor: the support of the mattress. That is to say, the firmness of the mattress does not correspond to you. It may be too firm or too soft. It is therefore important that the firmness of your mattress corresponds to your morphology. A mattress that is too old can also cause discomfort because it no longer fulfills its role of keeping your spine well-aligned.


It is also necessary to take into account choosing a mattress to relieve your back, your sleeping position. If you sleep on your stomach, you don’t need the same support as if you sleep on your back or side. The sleeping position on your stomach also requires special care in choosing your pillow, because too thick it can easily generate neck pain and even lower on other vertebrae.

How To Choose Your Back Pain Mattress

There’s no mattress technology to avoid when choosing a new sleeping mattress if the support is right for you. On the other hand, memory foam (or viscoelastic foam) is the technology that can bring you maximum relief thanks to the good distribution of the pressure points of your body.

Finally, too often we do not consider the difference in morphology of a couple. That is, it would require a different mattress firmness for each sleeper. The solution is however simple, two single mattresses, with two different firmnesses, adapted to each person. A single box spring, or two different box springs, all connected by fasteners, will be suitable. On the other hand, this configuration has another important advantage, it offers the best sleeping independence to the two sleepers.

Which Mattress To Choose For A Child Or A Baby?

It is often difficult for parents to make their choice even before the baby arrives. It is also not easy to know which models are the most suitable for each age of your children, which softness, which density. Mattress sizes can also be a source of questioning. For this, we are going to give you all our advice and trends to help you choose with peace of mind the mattress and the bed best suited to the needs of your children.

How To Choose A Hygienic Mattress?

When choosing a mattress, it is strongly advised to choose a model treated against dust mites. This avoids respiratory problems, especially if you are allergic to these insects.
Most of the mattresses offered by La Maison de la Literie are specially treated against dust mites, in order to offer you an ideal quality of sleep.
However, be careful: to fight against dust mites, having a treated sleeping mattress does not exempt you from applying basic hygiene measures, in particular airing the room and bedding in the morning.

Which Mattress To Choose If You Are Allergic?

Finally, if you suffer from allergic reactions when you sleep on an ordinary mattress, it is highly recommended to choose a hypoallergenic or anti-dust mite mattress. This will help reduce the risk of allergies and provide you with a much better quality of sleep. In addition, this type of mattress is generally treated against dust mites.
Once again, Maison de la Literie offers a wide range of hypoallergenic mattresses made with very healthy materials.

Does A Mattress Topper Provide Better Support?

mattress topper

The mattress topper is placed directly on the mattress. It is then protected by the undersheet and maintained thanks to the fitted sheet. It provides more comfort in terms of reception and protects the sleeping mattress more. On the other hand, the overlay does not change anything in terms of support: the support of the spine is identical, whether there is an overlay or not.

What Kind Of Filling?

The filling is an element of comfort: it conditions the welcome, regulates the temperature, and absorbs humidity. On the other hand, the filling has no influence on the independence of sleeping. There are two types of filling: synthetic or natural (cotton, wool, silk, latex, cashmere…). If you tend to perspire a lot at night, choose a filling made of natural materials.

Mattress Ventilation?

Every night, we evacuate water in the form of perspiration. Good ventilation of the mattress helps to preserve it. Ventilation depends on the type of mattress (foam, springs, latex, etc.) and its quality. If you tend to perspire a lot, avoid viscose or viscoelastic (memory foam) mattresses. Latex, on the other hand, can be interesting.

Foam, Latex, Or Springs?


This is the fundamental difference in technology between mattresses, with innovations with promising names being mostly marketing hype.

Although the choice is eminently subjective and the market is still dominated by foam models, spring mattresses are gaining in comfort by adding layers of foam, and, on the whole, they now cushion movements as well as foam mattresses.

However, this does not mean that they are suitable for everyone: a sleeping mattress must be tried out and you may feel much better on a foam or latex mattress. In addition, the spring mattress is best combined with a spring base. This is an additional expense that is avoided by buying a foam mattress when you have a slatted base.

Spring Or Suspension Mattresses

1. Pocket Springs

pocket spring

Sold since 2000, pocket spring mattresses are the most present on the market. Each spring is individually wrapped: each one reacts individually according to the pressure it receives, thus offering an independent sleeping position. The bags also prevent the rebound effect. Pocket spring mattresses are also well ventilated.

2. Multi Spring

Multi-coil mattresses were introduced in the late 1960s. They are made from a continuous steel wire that runs through the entire mattress. They are known for their firmness and strength. However, if you sleep with two people, nighttime movements can quickly become annoying.

3. Biconical Or Non-Pocketed Springs

Biconical or non-pocketed springs mattresses are made of wire springs and foam, cotton, or wool filling. Unlike the pocket spring mattress, the pressure on the mattress is felt over the entire surface. The springs can also make noise. This type of mattress is therefore not recommended for people who tend to move around a lot at night.

Foam Mattresses

Polyether Foam Mattresses

Polyether foam mattresses are entry-level products. Their life span is relatively short. They also react badly to humidity. However, they are perfectly suitable for children or for extra sleeping space.

polyeather form

Polyurethane Foam Mattresses

The major advantage of polyurethane mattresses is their hypoallergenic aspect. On the other hand, its main disadvantage is its sensitivity to humidity.

There are two types of polyurethane mattresses:

  • High Density: this type of foam mattress generally has a density of less than 30 kg/m3. It is to be used occasionally;
  • High Resilience: high resilience mattresses are preferable for daily use. They offer a firmer and more toned sleeping experience than polyether mattresses. This foam is more ventilated and more resistant over time.

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses are known for their durability and their elasticity that follow the body’s shape. Their cells offer good ventilation. This type of sleeping mattress is therefore interesting for people who sweat a lot at night. They are also very suitable for people with allergies, as latex is not very conducive to dust mites. On the other hand, latex mattresses are generally quite heavy, so the presence of handles can make them easier to handle.

latex mattress

1. Natural Latex Mattress

Natural latex is derived from the sap of the rubber tree. Mattresses are generally not made of natural latex only.

2. Synthetic Latex Mattresses

Synthetic latex is a petroleum derivative. It is less expensive than natural latex.

Should I Choose A Memory Foam Mattress?

Memory foam mattresses are made of thermosensitive viscoelastic foam. Viscoelastic foam can cover all types of mattresses, whether they are spring, latex, or foam. This type of mattress reacts to body heat and adapts to the morphology of each sleeper.

memory foam

If you change your sleeping position, the mattress returns to its original shape and readapts. Memory foam mattresses are part of the top of the range of bedding, with prices that are often high. They are the subject of very strong opinions. They are praised for their incomparable enveloping properties, which ensure a good quality of sleep, or they complain about being cramped without being able to move.

These models are also sensitive to ambient temperature. The foam can soften if it’s very hot, but it can harden if it’s very cold. The visco-elastic foam also makes it more difficult to ventilate the mattress. This type of mattress is therefore not recommended for people who sweat a lot at night.

Winter Side And Summer Side, Useful?

In general, the winter side has a slightly thicker ticking (the fabric envelope that covers the mattress), or even slightly more filling. But this has no effect on comfort, you don’t feel the difference.

That said, the summer/winter side is of undeniable interest. It encourages you to turn the mattress over at least twice a year, which prevents the filling from settling over time. Taking the opportunity to reverse the head and foot positions also allows for a better distribution of pressure.

Distinguishing the winter and summer sides is easy: the mattress label is sewn on the winter side. You can also recognize them thanks to the material of the ticking. It can be made of wool, cotton, linen, polyester… Depending on the material used, it offers a different comfort (robust, elastic, breathable…).

Remember to protect the cover by installing a mattress protector. For young children, you can opt for a waterproof mattress cover. On the other hand, it is not recommended for adults: it is useless, it would prevent the mattress from breathing and could give you a feeling of heat. Choose breathable materials such as cotton or linen.

Anti-Dust Mite And Anti-Bacterial Mattresses

Whether they claim to protect against dust mites or microbes, most mattresses that claim to be “anti” are chemically treated with biocides, classified as harmful.

Que Choisir recommends opting for a slatted base, vacuuming the mattress regularly, avoiding overheating the room, and airing the bed every morning with the window wide open.

Dimensions Of The Mattress

1. Single Mattress

The standard size of a single mattress is 90 x 190 cm. There are also single beds of 90 x 200 cm which are more suitable for tall adults.

2. Double Mattress

The standard size of a double mattress is 140 x 190 cm. However, 160 x 190 cm mattresses are increasingly available on the market and are becoming the standard size.

For more comfort, it is also possible to find slightly longer mattresses (140 x 200 cm and 160 x 200 cm) or even wider (180 x 200 cm).

Favoring standard sizes allows you to take advantage of a wider choice of bedding.


Which Bed Base To Choose?

The choice of mattress also depends on the type of base.

1. Boxspring

box spring

The box spring is less firm than the slatted base. It offers robust and soft support. It is suitable for all types of spring mattresses (bi-conical, multi-spring, or pocketed). However, it is not suitable for foam or latex mattresses.

2. Slatted Bed Base


The slatted base offers firm and regular support. It is suitable for all types of mattresses.

3. Lifting Slatted Base

lifting slatted base

The lift-up slatted bed base – manual or electric – is ideal for people with circulation problems or varicose veins. Raising the head can also make breathing easier for people with allergies. Finally, the lift-up slatted base offers better mobility for slightly disabled people. Spring mattresses should be avoided.

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Which Bed Base To Choose According To Your Sleeping Mattress?

 Spring MattressFoam MattressLatex Mattress
Box SpringYesNoNo
Adjustable Slated BaseNoYesYes

Many manufacturers recommend changing the mattress and box spring at the same time for better longevity of the bedding. However, if the box spring fits the mattress and shows no signs of wear, there is no need to change it.

Note. If the mattress is thick enough, the box spring will not change the characteristics of the mattress. In addition, there are now breathable mattresses that can be placed directly on the floor, without fear of mold. It is then no longer necessary to invest in a box spring.

How To Maintain Your Sleeping Mattress?

It is essential to take good care of your mattress for hygienic reasons as well as to preserve its good condition.

  • Air the bedroom every morning.
  • Protect your mattress with a mattress cover. Choose a breathable one: favor natural materials like cotton. For young children, choose a waterproof cover.
  • Try to keep the temperature in the room between 18 and 20°C to prevent bacteria from growing even faster.
  • Every six months, vacuum your mattress with the brush or nozzle of your vacuum cleaner.
  • Clean stains with a cloth slightly dampened with soapy water. Dry with a hairdryer.
    Turn your mattress over regularly: reverse the head and feet; if it is reversible, change the side. Be aware that some mattresses have support zones to support certain parts of the body such as the shoulders, pelvis, or calves. If you change the face of the mattress or reverse the feet, the mattress will no longer be able to properly support these areas.

When Should You Change Your Mattress?

When the mattress is damaged, it is important to change it in order to preserve your health and your back. Signs that should alert you:

  • regular waking up with back pain;
  • the imprint of the body marked on the mattress when you wake up;
  • a significant sagging of the mattress.

How Much Does A Mattress Cost?

It is possible to find mattresses at all prices, from a few hundred euros, such as the Ikea Matrand memory foam mattress, to more than $2,700, such as the Cloud 21 mattress from Tempur. But the tests of Que Choisir prove it, mattresses at less than $600 can be better in terms of comfort, support, and resistance to aging than models sold for more than $2150. If the silk ticking can explain the high price, it does not guarantee comfort or the absence of sagging over the years. Relying on the price to make a choice would be a mistake.

Low-Cost Mattresses

If you are looking for a cheap mattress, choose a polyether foam mattress. You will find entry-level mattresses at just over $120 for a standard single mattress, and around $280 for a standard double mattress.

For daily sleep at a low price, prefer polyurethane foam mattresses (budget between $330 for a single mattress and $650 for a double mattress). Biconical spring mattresses are also very accessible with prices starting at $140 for a 90 x 190 cm mattress and from $230 for a 140 x 190 cm mattress.

Attractive Prices And Fake Promotions

Sales periods, Black Friday, or discounted prices… Promotions on mattresses are very frequent. But beware of false promotions! Compare the prices of different models of mattresses with several sellers before falling for them.

Where To Buy A Mattress?

buying mattress

You can buy a mattress in a store or on the Internet, but it is best to try it before you buy it.


The main advantage of buying a mattress in a store is the possibility to compare and try several mattresses. But beware of transport and delivery costs.

On line

More and more manufacturers are selling their mattresses online, sometimes even exclusively. Among the leaders are the American brand Casper, the French Tediber, the British Simba and Eve Sleep, or the German Emma Matelas. In 2018, the Conforama chain launched its own “Bed-in-box” offer under the Tulo brand.

To adapt to the specifics of this purchase, manufacturers usually offer a hundred nights of trial. But if this offer reassures, beware of the conditions! Delivery is usually fast and free, but some brands drag their feet to take back the mattress and refund you. It is, therefore, better to try the sleeping mattress before ordering, in a showroom or partner store.

Good to know. Beware of scams! Sales at fairs, short-lived stores, home sales… As far as mattress sales are concerned, there are many scams.

Duration Of The Guarantee

Most manufacturers guarantee their mattresses for 5 years on average, and up to 25 years for Ikea. But as a general rule, the warranty does not protect against the wear and tear of the mattress. Only material or manufacturing defects are covered. The 25-year warranty of the furniture specialist is therefore of little use, especially since the life of a sleeping mattress is generally shorter. The warranty is therefore not an essential criterion to take into account. In the event of a defect, you are entitled to a 24-month guarantee of conformity.

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