How to Pick the Best Mattress for You
Much like a great pair of jeans, a flattering haircut, or a delicious meal, the best mattress is a relatively subjective choice that’s highly dependent on the individual. Whether you’re noticing aches and pains, sleep more comfortably on hotel beds, or have the cash to invest in a better night’s sleep, it’s important to have some knowledge under your belt prior to hitting mattress stores or ordering a mattress online. We encourage all mattress shoppers to brush up on mattress materials as well as how your sleeping position and other personalized factors should impact the type of mattress you’re looking for.
Mattress Shopping Considerations for Specific Preferences
Whether you’ve moved to a location with a warmer climate, have gained weight, or are going through menopause, a variety of reasons can lead you to purchase a new mattress with the goal of achieving a cooler’s nights sleep. Luckily for you, mattress manufacturers are paying more attention to cooling features than ever before.
Different materials sleep considerably cooler than others. It’s well-known that traditional memory foam sleeps warmer than hybrids, which use a combination of materials that distribute heat and encourage airflow. However, foam products have seen improvements with regard to heat distribution in the last decade, thanks to the invention of gel layers. If temperature is a key factor in your mattress decision, look for hybrid, gel, open-cell phase change material, something aerated, or other specific properties and materials that have been proven to help the mattress sleep cool.
Back pain, whether the secondary result of an underlying condition or a result of lifestyle choices, can critically affect your well-being. Many sleepers experience pain that radiates from the lower back area, and both a bed’s firmness and support will play into its ability to alleviate these issues. An adequate level of support should result in proper spinal alignment or, in other words, a straight spine. Softness or comfort, on the other hand, are subjective. You can achieve an aligned spine on a mattress that feels firm just as well as you can on a mattress that feels excessively plushy.
If one partner is a light sleeper or one is a restless sleeper, the motion transfer characteristics of the mattress should be a consideration. As a general rule of thumb, the more coils and springs a mattress has, the more you’ll feel your partner moving throughout the night. Another consideration is firmness. If you and your partner prefer drastically different firmness levels, look for split firmness mattresses if you can’t compromise on a firmness level, like a medium setting. You’ll also want to consider weight and size, especially in cases where you and your partner vary dramatically in these areas, as what feels firm to a petite individual may feel uncomfortably soft to a heavyweight person.
An adjustable mattress does just what the name indicates, allowing you to prop either your head or feet up for comfort or therapeutic benefits. Want to watch TV in bed? Comfortably enjoy a meal? You can do it with an adjustable mattress. Consider an adjustable model if you have conditions like snoring, sleep apnea, or heartburn, as elevating the head can alleviate these issues. Adjustable beds are also nice for those who want more control and less restriction over the comfort of the mattress or are attracted to the special amenities that many come with, like massages, Bluetooth, and USB ports.
Some brands create mattresses with the active individual in mind by incorporating materials and features that boost recovery, improve performance, and enhance REM sleep. For example, celliant could help turn the body’s energy into infrared light for deeper rest, and it’s been used in several mattress models to date.
Comfort and Overall Feel
Providing a guide for comfort is similar to telling you how to choose your favorite color: I can’t really tell you because it’s completely subjective. Do you enjoy a firm, flat surface, or a soft, sunk in, pillowy feel? It’s up to you to decide. Keep in mind that comfort and feel aren’t synonymous with support. You can have an ultra-soft mattress that’s very supportive. Likewise, you can have a supremely firm mattress that leaves your spine in less-than-ideal alignment.
While there’s no official standard scale that mattress manufacturers must abide by, we use a scale of 1-10 to communicate mattress firmness, with one being the softest and 10 being the firmest. Determining the number or at least a range of firmnesses you enjoy is important so that you can communicate that to a mattress salesperson or keep it in mind when shopping online. Depending on your size, you may need to go heavier or lighter in your firmness selection to get the feel you’re after. For example, heavier people tend to find that firm options feel softer to their bodies, and lighter sleepers find that medium-firm options feel soft and plush.
If you or your partner suffer from arthritis, choosing the right mattress will be especially crucial, as you’ll feel improper spinal alignment, joint pain, and back issues much more than the average individual. The mattress you select should conform to the curves of your body in a natural manner, alleviate your most bothersome or noticeable pains, and not aggravate your condition.
Virtually anything that can cause the muscles along your airway to contract may lead to snoring, so it’s nothing to be ashamed about. In itself, it isn’t a sleep issue, but snoring can indicate sleep apnea. A mattress won’t solve this issue, but if you’re planning to make a life change to treat your snoring, such as becoming a side sleeper, you’ll want to find a mattress that caters to that style.