People often ask what’s the best mattress?

The truth is there is none.

Check out this John Lewis mattress for £17k. What do you suppose it does differently to a £10 amazon blow up mattress?

Comfort? (worth £17k?)

If we look at the idea from an evolutionary perspective, as we have progressed as a society, we have sought greater and greater levels of comfort and so may the increased comfort is worth £17k? The issue is that we are all different shapes and sizes and one type of mattress WILL NOT be comfortable for all of us.

More restful sleep?

Sleep is a hot topic and is being extensively studied. What you do outside of your time in the bed such as exercise, stress management and having good sleep routines has a much greater impact on your health then you mattress could (and those things do not cost anything).

Better for your back?

We’ve spent most of our evolutionary history sleeping on the floor and since the advent of mattresses, back pain rates have never been as high as they are. Does that mean we should all go back to sleeping on the floor? No, but it does show that mattresses are not the solution to back pain.

The history of mattresses

From an evolutionary perspective, mattresses are a relatively new invention.  

Before mattresses we slept on the floor, and as mattress technology has developed year on year, so has the incidence of back pain.

In the 1800’s mattresses were stuffed with cotton.
1871 the first coil bed was sold.
1895 harrods starts selling water mattresses (they were designed to prevent ulcers) 1929 latex rubber mattress was sold
1980 air mattresses were sold
2000  foam inc memory were sold

There must be research on what the best mattress is?

There’s a few studies done by mattress companies which are clearly biased.

I found one good quality study from 2003, that found that medium-firm mattresses (regardless of whether they were foam, spring and latex) best for people with back pain.

Another good quality study from 2015, found that a medium-firm, custom-inflated mattresses were best for back pain and spinal alignment. Interesting as it’s the cheapest type of mattress you can buy.

Mattress companies spend millions in marketing to change our perceptions on what we need, but the reality is that it is very individual and you would be unwise to spend money on a mattress that you have not tried, solely because it has been marketed well.