Top view of young woman sleeping peacefully in bed

The Sleep Advisors FAQ

Welcome to Frequently Asked Questions. The Sleep Advisors have compiled all of the questions you might have about the sleep industry. Take your pick:

I want to learn more about…

I need advice on…

I want to buy a new…

Learn More About Mattresses

What is memory foam? Are memory foam mattresses safe?

Memory foam is a polyurethane material which reacts to pressure and temperature. It is usually used in mattresses, pillows and mattress toppers because it molds to the shape of the user’s body. Memory foam mattresses are completely safe. The off-gassing many manufacturers mention is actually some chemicals breaking down and dispersing into air – these are usually the possible ingredients/byproducts of the memory foam itself, or the flame-proofing method used on the product. Make sure to buy from verified and tested companies! They are the ones which care about your health and produce mattresses and test them for safety.

What do I need before buying a new mattress?

Firstly, you need to determine a budget for your new mattress. Next, find out what size mattress you are looking for and any health concerns or personal needs. Choose from softer ones, firmer ones, mattresses which help with pains, or mattresses that fit your budget.

How do I know if I need a firm or a soft mattress?

Health-wise, a medium firm mattress is the best option for any user. However, it’s also a matter of personal preference. A good rule of thumb is that stomach sleepers should always go for firmer mattresses, back sleepers are usually doing well on all kinds of mattresses and side sleepers need a mattress that can conform more to their body shape, therefore a little softer.

Does gel memory foam really cool you off?

Not really. There is an immediate cooling effect if the gel memory foam is featured in the top layer of the mattress. However, the gel is there to slow down the process of heating the memory foam. Memory foam tends to retain heat much more than any other type of material used in mattresses. That’s why some manufacturers feature a gel layer which can prevent that from happening.

Simba active cooling pillow

What are the mattress sizes in Europe/UK?

UK Sizes are as follow: Small Single (75cm x 190cm), Single (90cm x 190cm), Small Double (120cm x 190cm), Double (135cm x 190cm), King (150cm x 200cm), Super King (180cm x 200cm). European sizes are as follow: Euro Single (90cm x 200cm), Euro Double (140cm x 200cm) and Euro King (160cm x 200cm).

What is memory foam density? How is it measured?

Density is a measurement of mass per unit volume. The denser the foam, the more material is used in the given area. Memory foam used in mattresses are manufactured in 3 levels of densities: low (30kg/m3 and lower), medium (30-50kg/m3) and high density (50kg/m3 and higher). The density doesn’t determine the level of firmness of the mattress though.

How long should a mattress last?

A good mattress should last at least 10 years, if cared for properly. The usual lifespan of a mattress is about 8-10 years, but many can surpass even that expected period. However, it’s recommended to replace a mattress every 10 years since it will probably in that time start to show how it’s losing a lot of its properties.

Budget for mattress

What’s the price range for a good mattress?

A good mattress which can help you with all of your personal preferences and last you at least 8 years should cost around £300- £800, depending on the size and materials you want. Latex, hybrid and memory foam mattresses are a little more expensive on average, and if you’d like to buy a bigger bed (Twin/Full, Queen or King), then you might want to save up around a £1000- £1200.

How to make a memory foam mattress cooler?

You can add a mattress pad as a breathable layer; add a gel memory foam mattress topper, find some good moisture wicking and breathable sheets, and of course, turn up the air conditioning.

What do I do with my old mattress?

There are many companies which can dispose of your old mattress once you order a new one. One of them is Otty. Make sure when you’re ordering a mattress from Otty that you mention that! Some other ways might include donating the mattress if it’s still in usable condition, or recycle it.

What is a hybrid mattress?

A hybrid mattress is a type of mattress which is created from multiple layers made from different materials. The layers are usually made from pocketed springs, memory foam, and sometimes latex and other materials.

Can you place a mattress directly on the floor and sleep like that?

Yes you can so as long as the mattress isn’t too firm. If you place a firm mattress on the floor, you might experience discomfort, especially if you are a side sleeper. Make sure the mattress is either made from memory foam or has responsive coils which won’t push on your body too much.

mattress toppers

Is it advisable to flip or rotate your mattress?

Some mattresses never need flipping. Most manufacturers usually indicate that on the label of the mattress. If it’s stating that there is no need to flip it – don’t. It’s usually advisable to listen to the manufacturer’s advice. If it’s not stated, or stated otherwise – then flip away! It can help you elongate the mattress’ durability and lifespan.

Spring mattress vs. Memory foam mattress

Neither is better – it depends on the user’s preferences. Spring is usually better for stomach and side sleepers, while memory foam is good for all positions, but it benefits back sleepers the most. Spring can be tough to deal with and can malfunction if you don’t buy it from a high-quality manufacturer. This also applies to memory foam. The quality of the foam has nothing to do with density so don’t fall for those marketing tricks. The best kind of memory foam conforms to your body, doesn’t overheat too much and comes back to its original shape after repeated use.

What are the differences between memory foam and latex?

Memory foam is softer than latex. Latex can be used for added support because it’s proven to be effective when it comes to fixing back and hip pain.

latex mattress topper hypoallergenic mattress toppers

When’s the best time to buy a new mattress?

When you feel like your existing mattress doesn’t serve your needs anymore. If you’re experiencing discomfort, have trouble finding the right position, feel motion transfer, hear your mattress when you shuffle, feel that it doesn’t have the bounce it had before – it’s probably time to go and find a new one.

Learn More About Mattress Toppers

Do I really need a mattress topper?

If you feel like your existing mattress is serving its purpose well – you probably don’t need one. However, even if you feel it does, we would advise to always use one because it’s a definitive line of defense against wearing out. It’s easier and much cheaper to replace a mattress topper than a whole mattress. A mattress topper can add an extra layer of comfort and/or support that you might need, but most importantly, it will elongate the mattresses life.

When’s the right time to get a mattress topper?

Any time is the right time. If you want to prolong the life of your new mattress or make your old mattress feel better, that’s the best time to get one. If you’re experiencing neck and back pain, we would definitely advise that you either replace your mattress or if you don’t have the budget for it at that moment you can relief pain with a mattress topper. In any case it’s a cheaper option and definitely a more practical solution to sprucing up your mattress and making it feel like new again.

What is the usual price range for a mattress topper?

The usual price range for mattress toppers varies because of the material used in the making and the sizing. Memory foam mattress toppers cost about £100- £200, but there are more expensive ones, given the time spent on manufacturing, testing and providing adequate materials which can benefit your health.

Vesgantti Memory Foam Mattress Topper

What’s a mattress topper most commonly made of?

The best mattress toppers are most commonly made from high-quality memory foam. It can depend in thickness, density and firmness. A general rule of thumb is that if your mattress feels too soft, you can get a firmer mattress topper to add a layer of support, and if it’s vice versa – buy a soft topper to add a layer of comfort.

Is it better to get memory foam or a latex mattress topper?

Memory foam can come in different firmness levels while latex is usually firmer than most memory foam products. You can try a latex mattress topper if you are experiencing back pain. It’s proven to be very effective in adding extra support. Memory foam can also relieve pressure points, so it’s definitely a matter of what type of mattress you use and what parts of the body need pressure point relief.

Do I need a mattress topper for my back and/or hip pain?

Definitely! As we already mentioned, a mattress topper can significantly reduce critical pressure points in the body, allow circulation to become better and in turn relief pain in neck, hips or back.

Will a mattress topper make my mattress better?

Only if you choose the right one. A mattress topper is an addition to your mattress. You can consider it as another layer of your mattress. If you know your mattress well, you can determine what its flaws are and what you can do to make it feel better. If you don’t think your purchase through, you might end up with an even worse mattress.

How to choose the right mattress topper?

The right mattress topper for your bed is one which can alleviate the feeling of comfort on your mattress. Determine the firmness level of your existing mattress, see if it needs more breathability, or softness, or support, or more/less bounce. Taking all of these factors into consideration, fill in the gaps with a mattress topper which has the qualities your mattress doesn’t have. If your mattress feels fine the way it is, then simply try to find a mattress topper with a similar feel to it. It’ll protect your mattress from wearing out for a long time.

Learn More About Pillows

When do I need a new pillow?

You should probably get a new pillow if you’re experiencing any kind of discomfort. That includes trouble falling asleep, finding the right position to sleep in, neck and shoulder pains… The list can go on. It could be that your old pillow lost its properties that helped you before, so you need a new one, or, that you bought the wrong kind of pillow which doesn’t suit your sleeping style.

How often should I replace my pillow?

If you’re relying on cheaper polyester microfiber filling pillows, then you should probably replace them after six months to a year of use. A good rule of thumb is to not use a pillow for longer than 2 years. Memory foam pillows can last you up to three years, and this filling is most desirable when it comes to longevity. Feather/down pillows can also last a long time but you have to be careful with the cover because if it loses density it can let the feathers and down poke through. And when it can go out, that also means that things can get inside the pillow including dust particles and bacteria.

Pillow types for good sleep

What kind of pillow do I need?

If you’re unsure what kind of pillow you need, you can take a look at our guide to choosing the right pillow! Every person is different and that also includes their sleeping habits. Depending on your sleep position, sensitivity to allergens, whether or not you have respiratory issues or snoring issues, there are all kinds of pillow to choose from which can help your specific situation.

What’s the best pillow for side sleepers?

The best pillows for side sleepers are the ones that can alleviate your head high enough so you have space between your shoulder and the head. That way you can eliminate the pressure on your shoulders and strain on your neck. Those kinds of pillows are usually medium to high firmness. We recommend memory foam pillows. Take a look at our top list of pillows especially made for side-sleepers!

What’s the best pillow for back sleepers?

The best kind of pillows for back sleepers are the ones which are soft to medium firmness, low to medium height. That’s because your head needs to be alleviated and supported at an optimal height to prevent any shoulder or neck strain. Although the majority of population sleeps on their back, there are some pillows which aren’t suitable for them. We recommend memory foam or down, and in case you’re sensitive to down, you can try synthetic down.

What’s the best pillow for stomach sleepers?

Stomach sleepers are the rarest of the bunch. Sleeping on the stomach is not recommended anywhere because it can cause issues with the spine, hips and shoulders. However, sometimes that’s just how you sleep and there’s no other way. In that case we recommend you use a flat and firm pillow that can support your head and give you enough space for your arms. Your spine must stay in a natural curve.

sleeping on side or stomach

What are hypoallergenic pillows?

Hypallergenic pillows are pillows made from antibacterial and antimicrobial materials. These kinds of materials prevent particles of dust, dust mites and other harmful bacteria to stay on the surface or get inside the pillow. Some good examples of hypoallergenic pillows are the Panda Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow, Eve Pillow and Simba Hybrid Pillow.

Are there any ethical ways to produce down or down-feeling pillows?

Yes! There is synthetic down which is widely used as a replacement for down. It feels as soft and fluffy as a real down pillow. If you love down but are sensitive to it or worry about the repercussions of using a down product, you can try out some pillows similar to Casper. Luckily, in defense of all the geese and ducks around the world, there are movements which protect them and promote the Responsible Down Standard. Any pillow which can be certified from this standard is a 100% using ethical down.

Are down pillows unsafe?

Unethically produced down in bad conditions can cause a myriad of problems. Companies need to ensure that the down they are using for their pillows passes certain standards, from ethical reasons to public health reasons. With that being said, yes – some down pillows can be dangerous to your health if they are not processed well, and especially if the user is suffering from respiratory issues or allergies.

It also doesn’t only come down to the down (no pun intended). The cover of the pillow also needs to provide a safety barrier between the user and the down filling. It needs to keep the down from leaving the pillow and the user inhaling it, protect the filling from collecting bacteria, and most importantly, provide enough airflow so that any moisture can easily dissipate. Make sure to get as much info as you can when you decide to buy a down pillow from a company. Ask about what kind of down they use, what materials are used in the cover of the pillow and read up on as many reviews as you can to see if anyone else experienced any kind of issues with the said pillow.

Down vs. Synthetic pillow

There are notable differences between synthetic and down pillows, but none of them make one better than another. It all comes down to preference of the user. Synthetic pillows are ethical, hypoallergenic and very cheap! On the other hand, down pillows have a luxurious feeling and softness and can come with a higher price tag. In that regard, you can always opt for a synthetic pillow if you are allergic to down or don’t want to break the bank. However, if you want to invest in a high-quality pillow that can last you a long time, you can try down.

What kind of pillow is the best pillow?

We believe that the best kind of pillow is ethically sourced, features at least some natural materials, is hypoallergenic, comfortable, soft but supportive and most of all – is suitable for all sleeping positions.

Do I need a firm or a soft pillow?

A good rule of thumb, if you’re unsure of which pillow to buy, is to take a medium firm pillow. That will be indicated on the website of any company which produces the pillow, and if it isn’t ask their customer service. A pillow should be neither too soft nor too firm. That’s because if it’s one way or the other, it can provide less support for your neck and shoulders.

Can a pillow help with snoring?

There hasn’t been invented a pillow which can cure snoring – yet. A lot of pillows can help with minimizing snoring, though. People with snoring issues primarily need to change their sleeping position. Since snoring occurs mostly when sleeping on the back, sleeping on the side might help. If you choose a pillow that can help you change your sleeping position, you will definitely snore less.

Can a pillow help with neck pain?

Yes! Neck pain occurs mostly because you’re using the wrong kind of pillow. Think about what you feel when you lie down. Is your head supported? Do you shuffle a lot in your bed and change positions? Is your head sinking inside the pillow or is too high? All of these things can cause neck strain and therefore you must buy a new pillow.

Are there any pillows for babies?

Of course! You can find all sorts of pillows for your baby. Be careful not to buy a pillow that is too big, though. We definitely recommend you try the Panda Baby Pillow!

Learn More About Duvets

How often should I replace my duvet?

Depending on the quality, duvets can last at least 3 to 5 years. If high-quality, synthetic duvets can last even longer, with proper care. You have to wash it at least twice a year. With feather and down duvets, it’s pretty much the same, except you have to dry clean them. At least – the ones that have specifically stated that they are not machine washable.

Can I use a duvet all year round?

Yes! The magic part of duvets is that there are different tog ratings. A tog rating determines the density of the filling – and therefore, the higher the rating, the warmer the duvet. Apparently, you want something from right down the middle. But there are also some awesome 2-in-1 designs with very light and medium duvets together. If you’re too warm, you can separate them and use the lighter one. If it’s cold, put them together and you get a winter duvet.

Microfibre eve duvet sleep

Is there a duvet that I can use for all seasons?

Yes, there is. We can recommend you take a look at our top 5 list of duvets for all seasons. We made sure to include all kinds of products for different tastes.

What is the best hypoallergenic duvet?

In the opinions of The Sleep Advisors – the best hypoallergenic duvet is the Panda Cloud Duvet. With a bamboo rayon cover, you can be sure you’ll sleep carefree. Bamboo is a natural and easily sourced material. It’s completely biodegradable and safe for the environment. On top of that, bamboo on its own has antimicrobial and hypoallergenic properties. It’s washable, gentle to the skin and doesn’t cause any irritations. So yeah, make sure to check out the Cloud Duvet because we loved it.

Down or synthetic duvet – which is better?

That depends on your preferences. Basically, whether it’s down or synthetic it doesn’t matter much unless you want a vegan product or have severe allergies. The important thing to keep an eye on is the tog rating. If you want a light duvet, look for lower tog ratings, and vice versa. That’s all there’s to it. Some synthetic duvets are also considerably cheaper than down duvets. That’s because ethical production is very expensive and hard to come by. We recommend you read up on ethical down and feather sourcing before deciding to buy a down product (duvet, jacket, pillow, etc.)

Learn more about miscellaneous products

What is a sleeping spray?

The sleeping spray was invented by the same people who invented caffeine in spray. And don’t worry, it isn’t the chloroform mist. It contains water, an amino acid called tyrosine, and the sleeping hormone, melatonin, which our bodies produce to regulate sleep and wake up cycle. Melatonin is the crucial ingredient and it’s found in a pill form with the same purpose. Some sleeping sprays also contain essential oils, which can help reduce anxiety. For example, lavender is a natural sedative, so it’s most effective with this fragrance.

Can a sleeping spray help with my insomnia?

Yes. In many cases, a sleeping spray can help you sleep better. The value of using scented products for sleeping is in the making of the habit. If you make your body associate certain smells with the process of falling asleep, it’s a great solution. People with severe anxiety and depression have a lot of troubles sleeping, experiencing surge of thoughts and fears and even physical nausea and cramps for years. For that reason, a lot of them developed the repulsiveness toward sleeping. Even for the extremely sensitive people like these, sleeping spray works, giving them much needed rest. Just note that a sleeping spray can’t cure insomnia – insomnia is preventable and treatable with the help of professionals, therapy and a great combination of activities which can promote a healthier lifestyle.

insomnia treatment featured

Are there any gadgets that can help me sleep better?

Yes! From smart watches and clocks, to alarm clocks that can make you wake up in unimaginable ways, to sound machines that can ease you into sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you can create a habit of associating a certain sound to falling asleep. That’s why you can have a sound machine that can produce a melody or sound that can relax you more. There are also white noise machines which have been pretty successful in making you feel more relaxed. If you’re having trouble getting up, there are some amazing alarm clocks that can’t be snoozed and you can only turn them off by getting up. These can help even the heaviest of sleepers.

I need advice on: Sleeping Better

The key to achieving better sleep lies in your habits. Changing bad habits and incorporating healthier ones can significantly change the quality of your sleep. It’s easy to fall into the trap of a fast-paced life. With mountains of tasks piling up, stress piles up as well. With little to no venting space, we experience more anxiety and face some serious physical and mental damage. Taking care of your body and mind together can help you get your peace at night. The Sleep Advisors aren’t trained professionals but we can give you some advice that has been proven to be effective when tackling sleep.

First of all – always consult your physician even if you have the tiniest doubt something is affecting your sleep. Secondly, change bad habits – no more going to sleep after midnight, no junk food and screens (TV, smartphone, tablet) before bed, and definitely no more nightcaps. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day and don’t overdo it. Keep a dream journal. Try some of these activities before bed instead: read a book, newspaper or magazine, write a diary, do some mild breathing exercises and/or yoga.

There are so many healthier and more fun things to do instead of occupying your mind with senseless information that just piles up in your brain, causing you to feel anxious, restless and not wanting to go to sleep.

No matter how much stress piles up during the day – whether it was your boss scolding you or someone cut you off in traffic, your home is a place to relax and find your peace in. Unwinding in a healthy way whether through exercise or just spending time with your loved ones is a thousand times better than immediate escapism through social media and binge-watching television shows.

Sleep mysteries and scientific research of sleep

I need advice on: Sleep Disorders

Disclaimer: The Sleep Advisors are not medical professionals. If you suspect that you suffer from some kind of sleep or mental disorder that’s affecting your sleep, please consult your local physician as soon as possible. We are just here to educate you on some of the most common sleep disorders, so you can learn more about them, recognize them early, and take some precaution as to prevent them from happening, which is info collected from various public results of scientific studies. Please do not treat any illness by yourself, as there is risk of making it worse.

Any change that occurs in your sleep that can affect your daily life, safety and/or overall health in a negative way can be called a sleep disorder. It can either be getting too much or too little sleep, feeling fatigue for no particular reason, irregular breathing and daytime sleepiness.

There are various types of sleep disorders which we’ll touch up later in the text. It’s not uncommon that sleep disorder is a symptom (or aftermath) of some other neural disorder, mental illness or physical trauma/illness.

Insomnia

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