How to Choose the Right Mattress for a Good Night’s Sleep
If it takes you a long time to fall asleep, you tend to toss and turn during the night, or you wake up feeling unrested, your mattress may be the underlying problem.
Considering how much time we spend in our bed, most people do not spend a lot of time thinking about the quality of their mattress. And most want to avoid spending a lot of money on a new one too. But, like most things in our homes, even your mattress has a limited life span. The average mattress needs to be replaced after 7-10 years of use.
When it is time to replace your mattress, the next question is how to find the best mattress for you? With all the options available in specialty outlets, department stores and online, it can be difficult to understand which will help you get better quality sleep.
Types of Mattresses
Here is a quick overview of the main types of mattresses available today.
This classic type of bed tends to be one of the longest-lasting and most affordable options. It is formed of a series of linked metal coils which are then covered by layers of soft material. Innerspring mattresses are designed to push back with the same amount of force applied by the body lying on the surface. This is what gives the mattress that trademark bounce. Newer versions of spring mattresses have pocketed coils which can help reduce the level of disturbance from one side of the bed to the other.
The main selling point of memory foam mattresses is that they provide even amounts of support while also conforming to the shape of the body. When activated by body heat, memory foam material responds to the pressure placed on it, adapting to the contours of the body and the sleeping position. When you get up, the surface of the mattress returns to its original, flat form. This kind of mattress is usually comprised of multiple layers of memory and polyfoam foam in varying density—lower layers are more rigid to provide support, while the top layers are softer to provide cushion.
For most mattress buyers, latex feels similar to memory foam—more cushiony and responsive than bouncy. They can be made from 100% natural latex or latex blends. By combining multiple layers of latex and a firmer support core, you can find latex mattresses that have the softness/firmness desired.
Many of the mattresses available today are actually hybrids that combine innerspring cores with memory foam, latex, or pillow-top cushioning. Newer versions may simply combine layers or latex and memory foam. Depending on the materials used, hybrid mattresses are extremely versatile and can provide virtually any combination of comfort qualities.
Watch this video for more advice on how to tackle the mattress shopping process.
Desired Mattress Qualities
Finding the right mattress is such a personal decision that it can be hard to even know what you’re seeking. When getting informed and trying out new options, try to focus on the particular qualities that matter the most to you.
Mattress support is a crucial factor in preventing and alleviating spine problems and lower back pain. All types of mattress—spring, memory foam, latex, and hybrids—should provide sufficient levels of support. Yet laying on the mattress is necessary to determine if it is firm enough for your preferences.
Body temperature is an important factor in sleep quality. For many people sweating and overheating make it more difficult to get comfortable and sleep well. Specially designed beds can increase the amount of air circulation around the body and provide a cooler sleeping environment. If this is an important mattress quality for you or your sleep partner, look for spring mattresses with a wider spring design or latex mattresses which have aerated top layers.
Memory foam is not advisable because it tends to retain heat in the material and cause your body to feel hotter throughout the night.
For those who often toss and turn or have sleep disrupted by their partner’s movement, motion isolation can be a critical criterion. Both memory foam and latex are effective at decreasing the transfer of motion from one side of the bed to the other. By absorbing pressure and impact, the materials stop that rippling effect which can be so disruptive at night.
Natural latex is a great material also because of its antimicrobial qualities. Memory foam is also resistant to dust mites and mold growth. For sleepers with allergies, choosing a mattress made of allergen-resistant materials and fabrics is an important consideration.
For a long-lasting mattress, avoid plush pillow-top styles that can get compressed and compacted over time. Once the surface of the bed becomes lumpy or sunken, the support provided by the lower layers of the mattress becomes practically worthless. Hybrid mattresses, on the other hand, tend to be more expensive investments but usually need to be replaced less often.
The best mattress for you should also take into consideration your usual sleeping position.
Contouring beds are often the best choice for those who sleep on their side. A mattress that allows room for the shoulder and hips, while supporting the back and maintaining a neutral spine alignment, will feel more comfortable. Memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses which provide both support and cushion are recommended.
Experts recommend firm mattresses for stomach sleepers. If this is your preferred sleep position, look for a solid spring mattress or firm latex mattress.
To prevent lower back pain, hybrid mattresses are often the best choice for back sleepers. These types of beds can provide the right balance between spinal support, weight response, contour and cushion.
Where to Shop
There is no one “right” mattress because sleep comfort can be such a personalized and subjective thing. This is part of what makes mattress shopping difficult. Whether shopping in a store or online, we suggest spending plenty of time making the decision. Simply pressing your hand onto the surface of the bed is not enough; recline on the mattresses that you are considering for a minimum of 15 minutes. This will give your body time to register the sensation of undue pressure or discomfort. Luckily, many stores and online suppliers offer trial periods in which you can try the mattress out at home, sleep on it, and verify that it is the “right” mattress for you.
Related article: Can Weighted Blankets Help You Sleep Better?
Why Are You Tossing and Turning?
It might be time to consider overnight testing at a certified sleep clinic. Ask your primary care physician about your options. It could be the first important step to getting the quality rest that you need. Contact Sleep Health Solutions at (330) 923-0228 to schedule a consultation.