It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is crucial for your health, mood, and energy. However, purchasing a mattress is so needlessly confusing and frustrating that you would be forgiven for thinking that good sleep is as elusive as the meaning of dreams.
1. Which size should I get?
Consider the physical space you need in order to be comfortable in bed. When at the store, make sure you try the mattress with a pillow. Without it, you will instinctively lie further up and overestimate the space available for your feet. If you sleep with a partner or your kids, visit the store together to see what size and models would accommodate everyone comfortably.
Mattress sizes in Hong Kong
Some terms commonly used worldwide are single, super single, twin, double, queen and king. The exact measurements vary between regions and countries, sometimes in counterintuitive ways; a UK King is smaller than an EU Queen!
Here in Hong Kong, each term could refer to a range of possible measurements when used by different brands. Sometimes descriptors like “long” or “XL” (extra large) are added. Whether you choose a common local size or an international size, go by the exact measurements to avoid confusion (in both metric and imperial units if you want to be extra certain).
||36 x 72 in
36 x 75 in
36 x 78 in
|90 x 183 cm
90 x 190 cm
90 x 198 cm
||42 x 72 in
42 x 75 in
|107 x 183 cm
107 x 190 cm
||48 x 72 in
48 x 75 in
|122 x 183 cm
122 x 190 cm
||54 x 72 in
54 x 75 in
|137 x 183 cm
137 x 190 cm
||59 x 72 in
60 x 75 in
59 x 78 in
63 x 78 in
|150 x 183 cm
152 x 190 cm
150 x 200 cm
160 x 200 cm
||72 x 75 in
72 x 78 in
|183 x 190 cm
183 x 200 cm
||78 x 78 in
||200 x 200 cm
Most brands only carry some sizes. This may not be optimal if you have a specific requirement, like extra length if you’re extra tall, a wider mattress for co-sleeping, or an irregular space to fit into. In these cases, opt for a customised mattress.
European Bedding specialises in natural organic latex mattresses for back support, and we offer them in all possible sizes and comfort levels. We also offer custom mattresses for yachts and other recreational vehicles.
2. What am I sleeping on, exactly?
Consider what goes into making your mattress, because you’ll be sleeping on it every night! You have a whole lot of options to choose from - different materials, in all sorts of combinations, and each naturally claiming to be the best, of course.
European Bedding specialises in pure natural latex mattresses and pillows. Pure latex mattresses are very popular in Europe, even though they are fairly new to Asia. Instead, it is very common here to include just a single layer of latex, sandwiched between other materials like spring coils or synthetic foam. Because this doesn’t harness its full benefits, our mattresses use 100% natural organic latex
and nothing else.
As an introduction to the common types of mattresses, here’s a quick summary of each and how they compare.
Synthetic foam mattresses: Polyurethane (PU) and memory foam
Memory foam is a higher-end petroleum-based foam that contains additional chemicals to increase its viscosity. It softens and molds closely around the sleeper in response to body heat. As a slow-recovery foam, it stays indented for some time even after the sleeper has moved. Its softness is its main benefit and also its biggest downside: Without much elasticity or support from the mattress, our body sinks in deeply. We then spend extra energy just to move about normally in bed (as we do numerous times when asleep).
A much more basic version is polyurethane (PU) foam. This wildly popular material is cheap to make, cheap to buy, and thus a very common material for mattresses. Affordable it is, but durable it is not! Cheap foam mattresses are initially very, very hard, because they need to be. Over time, the hard foam cracks under the sleeper’s weight and disintegrates into a uneven, saggy mess. These older foam mattresses provide little to no support for the back, so the brand new ones are made extremely firm to compensate. This is why we often instinctively think of a soft mattress as old, cheap, and terrible for the back. This is true for cheap foam, but not for elastic and resilient materials like latex.
Spring / coil mattresses
Innerspring mattresses of all kinds are the most common mattress out there. Various coil systems, such as bonnell springs and pocketed springs, form the core within the mattress that supports your weight. The core itself is too hard to be slept on, so it needs to be layered with softer materials on top. Cheap foam is often used, but sometimes latex is included as well in higher-end mattresses.
The most common mattress isn’t necessarily the best. Metal springs squeak as they get older. For cheap spring mattresses, the thin top layer erodes over time and you can feel the coils pushing unevenly against your back. The cleanliness of your mattress is also crucial for your health; the glue used to hold the various layers together hinders air circulation, so spring mattresses have poor temperature and humidity regulation. This creates a warm and welcoming environment for allergens like dustmites and mould.
Natural latex is derived entirely from the sap of the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Its innate properties make it perfectly suited for a mattress. European Bedding mattresses are made of 100% certified natural organic latex. Through its natural elasticity, latex provides the right amount of back support without needing any springs. Simultaneously, its natural softness creates a gentle and balanced pressure distribution. This keeps the spine relaxed and naturally aligned through the night.
Our mattresses come in a range of firmness levels for every sleeper’s preference and body shape. Even our softest mattresses challenge the myth that soft means no support. And because the durability of latex is one of its biggest advantages, latex mattresses hold their shape (and support your spine) much longer than spring or foam.
Be wary of mattresses that market themselves as latex but are in fact layered with synthetic foam. A pure latex core has an open-cell structure and numerous pincore holes, facilitating air circulation through the mattress and keeping the humidity and temperature low. This is also why latex has great allergen resistance to dustmites and mould. In contrast, synthetic foam does not maintain an open structure.
You will also come across spring mattresses that use some latex, but almost never as the topmost layer. The reason is sad, and has nothing to do with comfort: Foam can be quilted, while latex cannot. Instead of allowing the sleeper the comfort and support of latex, manufacturers of spring mattresses prioritise the appearance of the quilted foam top. Go for a full latex mattress instead if you are considering latex at all.
3. How firm should my mattress be?
It is an old belief that firm mattresses are always better, because firmness and support are two different things. In addition, a mattress shouldn’t just support your weight, it should support your weight in a balanced and well-distributed way. Given the amount of time we spend in bed, keeping the strain off our muscles and joints is crucial to avoiding problems later on!
Pick the best density for you. Most importantly, don’t get caught up in the firmness label on each mattress. The terms like “firm” and “soft” are not regulated, and one brand’s (or one material’s) firm may be another’s soft. Similarly, firm to one person is soft to another, depending on what mattresses we’re used to and what we think a mattress should be.
You can use your weight to point you towards the amount of support you need from your mattress. For example, we recommend our Firm mattress if you weigh 90kg or more, and the Soft if you weigh less than 50kg. Also consider your dominant sleeping position. People who sleep primarily on their side may find that a firm mattress puts too much pressure on the shoulder. Change to a softer mattress so the shoulder can sink in more while making sure your lower back is still well-supported.
Check your spinal alignment in all sleeping positions. Achieving a natural, neutral alignment when lying down is an excellent indicator of pressure distribution. It shows that our body weight is well-supported (therefore no sagging in the lower back/hip area) and there is no excess pressure anywhere (eg. on the shoulder for side-sleepers).
Consider the design of the mattress.
Good mattresses provide progressive support
, feeling always soft and comfortable, but increasing in support as we rest more of our weight on the mattress. Other features such as firmness zones
acknowledge and balance out the body’s natural curves. Even before choosing a firmness level, some mattresses already make it much easier to achieve a good alignment.
There are no rules, only guidelines. Only you can decide which feel is right. And you can only know if you actually try them out! Take your time to test the models in the store. Lie down on each for 10 minutes, and pay close attention to how relaxed your back and muscles feel. Don’t just sit on the mattress or poke at it. And don’t be afraid to bring along a friend or hand your phone to the assistants there for pictures of your back.
As a bonus, we can include a different feel on each side of a King mattress. So if you sleep with a partner, neither of you has to compromise on your comfort!
What if I have back issues? Our mattresses come recommended by professionals who deal with musculoskeletal problems, including osteopaths, physiotherapists, and chiropractors. The innate elasticity of latex provides balanced support in all the right areas for that perfect spinal alignment. Even if you are currently (happily!) pain-free, sleeping on a good mattress is essential to avoid the small, daily stress on your joints that add up over time. Visit us in store and we’d be very happy to guide you towards the right fit!
4. Can I keep my mattress clean?
Well, do try! Here in Hong Kong, the top two environmental triggers for allergies are dustmites and mould spores. Even if you never skip on changing your bed sheets, your mattress underneath is probably a frothing hotbed for these critters. Keeping your mattress clean takes some diligence and a few smart decisions.
Start with the room around it. Dustmites and mould thrive in dark and humid corners, so throw the windows open and let the fresh air and natural light in! Keep dust-magnets like carpets and soft toys to a minimum. And don’t eat in bed, because dustmites eat human food too, not just humans (cells)!
Don’t make your bed. Yes, really. Pulling the blanket all the way up to the pillows traps our sweat, heat and dead skin between the blanket and sheets. We’re creating the perfect feeding ground for dustmites right where we sleep! Instead, leave your bed unmade, and let it dry out under the light and fresh air. Fold your blanket at the foot of the bed to keep things neat.
Get a latex mattress. Latex’s open structure naturally regulates humidity and temperature. Most mattresses, with their closed pockets and layers hidden under a fabric sheath, warmly welcome dustmites, their offspring, and their droppings. During our 8 hours in bed, our bodies are a source of warmth, moisture and food for them, but the constant air circulation through a latex mattress keeps the mattress dry and uninviting. Give as much thought to the cleanliness of your mattress as you do your bedsheets and blankets!
A mattress with a removable cover is ideal. You can’t do much about the mattress core, so focus your energy on the outer casing. A soft fabric cover is comfortable but accumulates tons of dead skin and moisture. So get a removable cover! All European Bedding mattresses come with a breathable cotton-bamboo cover which can be easily unzipped and drycleaned. If your mattress cover cannot be removed, wipe it regularly with a damp cloth and let it air dry each time. This is a compromise because many more dustmites reside and deposit their droppings in the inaccessible inner surface.
Pay attention to the underside. The bottom surfaces of our mattresses are the most prone to mould and mildew, due to the lack of ventilation under the bed. Which brings us to…
5. What bed base am I using under my mattress?
Don’t overlook what your mattress is resting on. A bad bed base, regardless of how good the mattress is, will not only cause the mattress to perform poorly but also decrease its lifespan. A good bed base will make a good mattress even better.
Your bed base is the gatekeeper to the underside of your mattress. A poorly-ventilated mattress base is dark, stagnant and moist, quickly becoming a gallery wall for mould. Sagging and unevenness set in prematurely as the fungi eat away at the mattress core. In addition to regular cleaning of the mattress cover (ie. some diligence), but pairing a mould-resistant mattress with a ventilating bed base is a smart choice to help your mattress live longer, and help you breathe easier.
Your bed base also alters the feel of the mattress. The way your bed supports your body and responds to your movements is influenced by the base underneath.
Choose a base with flexible slats. The flexible slatted bed base was invented in Europe in the 1950s. It was developed to actively enhance the spinal support from the mattress, unlike passive and rigid bed bases. Since then, it has become commonplace to buy the flexible base and mattress together. The extra flex works together with the mattress to accommodate areas like the shoulder, providing zoned support for the body’s natural line.
The firmness of our slats can be easily adjusted for precise control over the feel of your bed. This is especially useful if you sleep with a partner, as the two halves in larger beds can be calibrated independently under just one mattress.
The slats create ample space for air to circulate under the mattress, enhanced by movement of the slats during the night. That’s why we recommend this as the perfect breathable bed base to keep your mattress cool and mildew-free.
Other common bed bases:
Hard slats: Horizontal wooden slats (usually pine) are fixed inside the frame to form a rigid base. Iit will not provide any additional 'give' or benefit to the mattress, but the spaces between the slats allow air circulation to the underside.
Box springs: These use metal springs to support the mattress. Manufacturers recognise that most consumers are happy not to have to think about their bed base. Therefore, cheap box springs in thin matching fabric are commonly thrown in for free with spring mattresses to entice buyers. While quality and price vary greatly, the average box spring base is rock hard, offers no support, and squeaks even more than a spring mattress.
Platform: The simplest platform base is just a flat wooden plank on top of supports, though they sometimes are padded with fabric (like a divan). These bases are as rigid as fixed slats, but offer no ventilation to the mattress. If you opt for a platform bed of any kind make sure to put in double the effort to keep your mattress clean.
6. How can I be sure this is the right mattress for me?
Here are two things about the mattress industry that may come as a surprise. First, most mattresses get their parts (coils, fabric, foam, latex, etc) from the same few suppliers. Second, most big brands create an exclusive model for each big retailer, but these models are usually only slight variations of one another! So instead of relying on brand names or higher prices to pick out the better mattresses from the numerous options available to you, read reviews from people who actually sleep on the mattresses.
Once in the store, settle for nothing less than excellent service. Grill the salespeople. Ask why each mattress was designed that way. Ask about the parts and warranty. Ask them to take pictures of your alignment. Only visit stores that will give you the time and space to test each mattress and pillow until you are satisfied.
Make sure your mattress comes with a free (and hassle-free) trial period. After all, the ultimate test is how you feel the next morning!