An In-Depth Guide to Different Types of Mattresses

Posted by Pam Johnson - Head of Buying on 28th Jul 2022

An In-Depth Guide to Different Types of Mattresses

If you haven’t changed your mattress in many years, you may well find it isn’t providing you with the support that it should. People often only discover this to be the case when they can’t settle at night, or if they wake with aches and pains, or stiff joints each morning.

First thing's first - why might you need a new mattress?

If any of the following factors apply, it could be time for you and your mattress to part ways:

Your mattress is sagging

Do you find your partner and yourself rolling towards the middle of the bed at night? As romantic as this impromptu night-time triste may sound, the reality is probably a lot more uncomfortable. A sagging mattress won’t offer you the support you need for a healthy night’s sleep. In fact, you could find that you’re both waking with aches and pains and are not waking up in the best of moods owing to the lack of undisturbed sleep.

You’re getting a bigger, better bed

If the time has come to swap your double bed for a king size bed, or even a super king size bed, then you’ll need the right size mattress to match. Alternatively, you may be moving your bed into a smaller room, and therefore shopping for a small double bed and mattress.

Your needs are changing

As you age, you may find that getting out of bed isn’t as easy as it once was. And you could therefore be considering changing your current bed for an adjustable bed with the accompanying mattresses. It may be that you’re now in a relationship and need a mattress that will suit you both.



As your needs change throughout your life, you could find that the type of mattress you require changes too.

Man smiling measuring wall with extendable measuring tape. Profile of woman's face in foreground.

Mattress sizes

The first step on the way to purchasing a new mattress is to decide what size mattress you need.

What do mattress sizes really mean?

Being familiar with the names of different sizes of mattresses is one thing, but knowing what they actually mean in terms of length and width is another.

Mattress guide

To find out if the size of mattress you want will fit in your bedroom, whip out your tape measure and take a look at the mattress guide below:


  • Small single mattress - 75cm x 190cm (2'6'' x 6' 3'')
  • Single mattress - 90cm x 190cm (3’0” x 6’3”)
  • Small double mattress - 120cm x 190cm (4’0” x 6’3”)
  • Double mattress - 135cm x 190cm (4’6” x 6’3”)
  • King size mattress - 150cm x 200cm (5’0” x 6’6”)
  • Super king size mattress - 180cm x 200cm (6’0” x 6’6)


Woman in shouting gleefully into megaphone while jumping into the air.

Let's talk mattress springs -
What do the terms Pocket Sprung & Open Coil actually mean?

hand pushing down on fabric encased springs.


Pocket sprung mattress

Pocket sprung mattresses contain springs that have been individually wrapped in a material “pocket”. This design allows the springs to move independently of each other, which can provide the support needed as you move across the mattress. The more pocket springs contained within the mattress, the further support provided.

Benefits of a pocket sprung mattress:


1. The most popular benefit of a pocket sprung mattress is that it offers individual support to each sleeper - the springs react to each slepper's body contours and weight. This ensures the best support for spinal alignment and movement.

2. The individual fabric-wrapped springs minimise motion disturbance in other parts of the mattress which can prevent your partner from being disturbed as you move in the night.


section of bare mattress springs


Open coil mattress

These types of mattresses compromise individual coil springs that are connected by small spiral wires called helical wires. Unlike pocket spring mattresses, the coils in open coil mattresses are not contained within individual cases of fabric but are left “open”. Open coil types of mattresses are considered traditional mattresses that are known for being durable.

Benefits of an open coil mattress:


1.This is a relatively light type of mattress so easier to transport and to turn.

2. Designed to distribute body weight and to provide support where needed.

3. Open coil mattresses are often used in orthopaedic mattresses owing to the support offered for the back. This is because of the firmness options available in open coil springs, which can ptovide further support for backs.


What else is inside my mattress?

Mattress fillings

Besides springs, mattresses are filled with fibres and materials that add to the comfort level and support of the mattress.

Mattress fillings can include:

  • Man-made fibres: Many mattresses can now be made using fibres created using recycled materials. The Silentnight Sleep Healthy Eco range, for example, features Eco Comfort FibreTM fillings made using recycled plastic.
  • Memory foam: Available in assorted densities to vary the firmness of the mattress. Memory foam adapts to the body’s contours and boasts pressure relieving properties.
  • Gel: Known for its pressure relieving support and temperature regulating qualities.
  • Latex: features a blend of synthetic and natural latex created using the sap from the rubber tree. Again, known for helping to relieve pressure and for providing support where needed.
  • Natural fibres: These can include bamboo, cotton, wool, silk, cashmere and mohair. Some natural fillings, such as cotton and bamboo, can be used in vegan-friendly mattresses. Another benefit of natural fibres is that these materials have excellent breathable and moisture wicking properties. This can help to maintain an ambient temperature throughout the night.

Glide through a selection of our different types of mattresses

Memory foam mattresses

Like so many of today’s inventions, memory foam mattresses owe their origins to NASA funded research.(1) Designed to perfectly mould to your body’s contours, a memory foam mattress provides superb support while you sleep and can provide soothing relief throughout the night.

At Bensons for Beds you’ll discover Airstream mattresses that boast a Sensaform memory foam layer. These memory foam mattresses provide a whole host of benefits.

Benefits of an Airstream mattress with memory foam layer:

  • Sensaform Memory foam has an open- cell structure that allows air to circulate internally throughout the foam and for moisture to pass through. This can help you stay cool as you sleep.
  • The internal pocket spring offers dynamic perimeter support that prevents “roll-off”.
  • Many Airstream mattresses, such as the Slumberland Airstream 2000 Memory Mattress, have a fabric cover that is hypoallergenic.

Adjustable mattresses

Adjustable mattresses are included with adjustable beds and allow sleepers to adjust the head and the foot of the bed into a preferred position. When buying an adjustable bed for two sleepers, it’s sensible to ensure each side has a separate mattress and set of independent controls. This way, each of you can adjust your side of the bed to your liking.

Benefits of an adjustable mattress:

  • Bensons for Beds adjustable beds come with separate mattresses to ensure independent control for each side of the bed.
  • Separate mattresses allow each sleeper to select the most comfortable comfort rating for their needs.
  • Adjustable mattresses and beds can help with issues such as acid reflux, a blocked nose, and back pain. (2)
  • An adjustable bed and mattress that tilts at the foot can be helpful if you need to alleviate pressure in your legs.(3)

Orthopaedic mattresses

The term orthopaedic refers to the branch of medicine specialising in the correction of deformities in the bones or muscles.

Although orthopaedic mattresses can’t claim to correct such ailments, they are designed to offer supportive spine alignment. They can therefore be extremely helpful for people suffering with back or joint pain.

Incorrect spinal alignment can lead to problems such as headaches, hip pain, and neck pain (4), which is why it's so important to have a mattress that provides the right support for your spine.

Benefits of an orthopaedic mattress:

  • Helps to align your spine while you sleep
  • Helps to evenly distribute body weight
  • Can help to provide a better night’s sleep as you will be getting the support you need

Vegan mattresses

You may be wondering how on Earth a mattress wouldn’t be vegan, but there can be animal derivatives used in many different types of mattresses. These materials could make them unsuitable for vegans.

Vegan mattresses are not only popular with those avoiding animal products, but are also a hit with people whose allergies are triggered by certain materials.

If you’re a vegan looking for the ideal mattress, or you’re simply interested in the benefits of a vegan mattress, you’ll want to take a look at the Natural Solutions collection by Slumberland.

Benefits of our vegan mattresses:

  • End product free from animal products
  • Uses moisture-wicking organic cotton and flax fibres for enhanced air circulation
  • Hypoallergenic

Temperature regulating mattresses

iGelTM Advance mattress

If you or your partner are “hot sleepers” you’ll undoubtedly appreciate a mattress that helps to keep you both cool at night. There are assorted temperature regulating mattresses out there, including The iGelTM Advance. This mattress range uses Graphene Technology to help regulate your temperature as you sleep by transferring heat 7 x faster than standard foam.

Benefits of an iGelTM temperature regulating mattress:

  • Uses Nobel Prize Award winning technology to keep you cool at night
  • The pressure-relieving iGelTM crystals provide soothing support to hips and shoulders
  • Disperses perspiration which can make the mattress feel fresher

More temperature regulating mattresses

Slumberland Eco Solutions mattress for summer and winter

This mattress can be rotated during the seasons to suit your preferences. The summer side features SensICE fabric that provides instant cooling on the skin. On the winter side, you’ll find “teddy bear” fabric that retains warm air, helping to keep you snug and warm during chilly nights.

Benefits of a Slumberland Eco Solutions mattress:

  • The summer side keeps you cool using SensICE technology
  • The winter side provides warmth with help from it’s tactile, “teddy bear” fabric
  • Features hypoallergenic protection

Mattresses can be more than one type


Just when you think you've got your head around all the different types of mattresses available, we're going to throw another fun fact into the mix:


A mattress can offer more than one specific feature


For example, an orthopaedic mattress can also include temperature regulating technology, and a vegan mattress can also include natural allergy protection.


You can find many different convenient mattress type combinations at Bensons for Beds.

Mattress comfort ratings - what do they mean?

The comfort rating of a mattress is the level of firmness attributed to each mattress, and aims to provide the best comfort and support for each individual sleeper.

Out with the old and in with the new

One of the most common mistakes that people make when choosing a comfort rating is to presume they already know which one is best for them. It’s worth keeping in mind that the mattress you bought many years ago may not be the same firmness rating that you need now.

Extra Firm

Much like orthopaedic mattresses, an extra firm mattress can help to ensure you’re receiving support at all bodily contact points. If you've a larger frame, a firm mattress can help to provide support across the areas that require it most.


Again, this comfort rating offers superb support to the areas that need it most, including the neck, back, and hips. You may select a firm mattress if you experience joint pain and want extra support during the night.


If, like Goldilocks, you need a mattress that isn’t too soft, but isn’t too firm, a medium mattress could be “just right”.

According to The Sleep Foundation(5), sleepers that weigh between approximately 9 stone and 16 stone appreciate the support given by a medium to firm mattress.

This can of course depend on other factors such as height, age, personal preference, and also, the brand of mattress you choose to buy.


Soft mattresses tend to be suitable for people with lighter frames and for those that sleep solely on their back. A soft rating gives instant comfort but you also need to be aware that if you change positions in the night to sleep on your side or front, a firmer mattress could give you further support.

A great way to determine which type of mattress will provide sufficient support is to use the Bensons for Beds in-store Sleep-Pro.

However, if you don’t have the chance to go into your local store, you can also use our SleepPRO guide to help you select your ideal firmness rating and type of mattress.


Choosing a new mattress at a glance guide


  1. Decide which size mattress is required.

  2. Read our Sleep Pro in store and online guide to choosing a mattress.

  3. Choose the type of mattress features you want.

  4. Place you order online at Bensons for Beds or give us a call on 0808 144 6160.

Overhead shot of a man and  woman smiling and a child. All lie on a large mattress with heads touching in the centre of image.