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Top mattress tips for getting a good night's sleep

Why your mattress matters, and three cheaper mattresses we've just tested

Your mattress can have a huge impact on how well you sleep – and, in turn, on the quality of your daytimes. 

Mattresses might look simple, but there are plenty of factors that determine how good a night's sleep you'll get from your mattress, including body support, breathability (whether it will get damp with sweat), how well it absorbs movement and whether it will start to sag within a few years. 

Mattresses often aren't cheap: there's no getting round that. But you don't need to go for a top-of-the-range one, unless you really want to.

Keep scrolling for more details on three of the cheaper mattresses to go through our tough lab tests, why you should prioritise buying a new mattress if your existing one isn't supporting you any longer, and other tips to help you drift off at night.

Best mattresses - find out all you need to know about buying the best mattress for your sleep style.

Mattresses under £500

Our latest round of mattress testing includes several under £500. 

Although that's still no small sum if you're strapped for cash, it's considerably cheaper than many. The most expensive mattress we've tested costs more than £2,000. 

A high-quality mattress (which isn't necessarily the same as an high-priced mattress) is a good investment in your future health and mental health – and should last for years.

Here are three cheaper-than-average mattresses from our latest batch of testing. Prices shown are for a double. 

Silentnight Mattress-Now Comfortable – £169

This mattress from Silentnight's Mattress-Now range is fairly basic, consisting purely of foam. 

It's on the soft side (we ranked it as a 6.2 on a scale from 1 – very firm – to 10 – very soft), although Silentnight describes it as medium. 

It's a single-sided mattress, meaning you're not meant to flip it. You should still rotate it head to toe every now and again. 

As is often the case with foam mattresses, it feels warm to sleep on. So it's not ideal if you prefer a cooler-feeling mattress. 

Helpfully, it comes with a 60-night sleep guarantee. So you can always give it a try and swap it for a different mattress if you're not happy. 

Read our full Silentnight Mattress-Now comfortable review to find out how supportive it is, how well it absorbs movement and whether it will soften over time. 

Mattress Online Rock Hard Super Firm Mattress (P1958) – £329.95

Mattress Online Rock Hard super firm mattress

The name might sound like Mattress Online is protesting too much – but our testing confirmed that this mattress really is about as firm as you can possibly get. It's made of foam, with a particularly hard block of foam at its centre. 

When it comes to warmth, we classified it as average. So most people will get on with it, unless you prefer a very cool-feeling mattress. 

You'll need to rotate it periodically, but it's not designed to be flipped over. 

Head over to our review of the Mattress Online Rock Hard Super Firm Mattress (P1958) for our full results.

Slumberland Rollo Hybrid – £450

The Slumberland Rollo Hybrid mattress is exclusive to retailer Bensons for Beds. 

It’s made from a combination of springs and foam and memory foam. 

It's being sold as a medium firm mattress. However, we rated it as 7.4, so it's actually on the soft side. 

Like the Mattress Online above, it's average in terms of warmth, so should suit most people. 

It also comes with a 100-night sleep trial so you can make up your own mind about how comfortable it is. 

Read our full review of the Slumberland Rollo Hybrid mattress to find out more about how it fared in our tests. 

We've also recently tested:

Or, for our hand-picked selection of the best offers currently running on mattresses, head over to our guide to the best mattress deals in the sales.

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Does a mattress really affect sleep?

Absolutely. According to the NHS, an uncomfortable bed is one of the most common causes of insomnia. Supportive, comfortable bedding should help you sleep more peacefully. 

Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep a night. And that sleep needs to be good quality sleep: quantity of sleep and quality of sleep are two very different things. 

It will be difficult for you to drift off if your mattress is uncomfortable. Even if you do fall asleep, a poor-quality mattress won't be giving your body the support it needs, potentially leading you to sleep in an unnatural position – in turn leading to back pain and general soreness.

While some people prefer a firmer mattress to rest on, others enjoy that cradled feeling you can get from a soft memory foam mattress. Our experts assess firmness using an independent scale, so you can choose one that will suit you rather than relying on manufacturer claims. 

With the cost of living rising, it's more important than ever to make sure you don't waste money on a mattress you don't get along with. If you're not happy with your mattress, you might be able to return it or swap it for another mattress. Find out more about how to return a mattress.  

If your mattress isn't the only cause of your insomnia, also try:

  • Listening to relaxing music. Calming music can help to clear your mind of any distractions or stress. If you own a smart speaker that sits at the side of your bed, you can try using some voice-activated relaxation apps
  • Exercising during the day to sleep better at night. Muscles that have been working hard need time to recover and your body knows it
  • Sticking to a schedule. NHS guidance suggests going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Before long, your body will adjust to this new routine
  • Avoiding big meals at night. Keep your hands away from the TV remote right before going to bed, too – the bright light from the TV will make you feel alert.

Find out more about overcoming insomnia and getting a good night's sleep

Pick the best mattress for a good night's sleep

Time and time again, our tests find big differences between the mattresses on the market. 

Out of all the mattress we test, only a handful get high enough scores to earn our Best Buy recommendation. 

To test how well each mattress will support your back while you sleep, we analyse the shape of our testers' spines at 36 different points while they lay flat on the mattress. 

A good mattress will keep your spine parallel to the mattress, and in the same shape as when you're standing up. 

We make sure to use testers with a range of body types for these tests. 

To find out how well it will last over time, we roll heavy barrels over each mattress 30,000 times to simulate 10 years of use. 

You should expect to replace your mattress about every eight years to ten anyway, but it's disappointing – given a mattress is a major purchase – if a mattress sags and softens much before that. 

We also assess stability – whether it will move if your bedfellow turns on it, whether it's easy to roll over on or restricts your movement, whether it's breathable or gets damp with sweat, and more. 

And we survey more than 2,800 people to find out how comfortable they find their mattress, whether their mattress lived up to the manufacturer's description, whether their mattress represents value for money and how satisfied they feel with their mattress brand overall.

Find out which mattresses are worth your money and which aren't. Head over to our mattress reviews to compare options whatever your budget.