Knowing how to choose a mattress that suits your needs and how to buy a mattress are two different skills. I am focusing here on choosing a mattress. Buying a mattress involves looking for the best deals, haggling and general purchase skills for a mattress that you have decided is best for you.
How to Choose a Mattress to Meet Your Needs
There is a difference between knowing how to choose a good mattress and how to choose the best mattress that suits you. You have many options when choosing a mattress because of a large number of mattress types available. There are several things you can take into consideration when buying a mattress.
- If you have back pain or hip problems, then maybe a memory foam mattress or air mattress may be best for you.
- If your partner moves around when sleeping then a memory foam or pocket spring mattress might isolate his or her movements so they don’t interrupt your sleep.
- Perhaps you like a mattress with bounce? The vast majority of mattresses in use involve sex, and a bouncy mattress is better for that than memory foam.
- If you are susceptible to allergies, then you should avoid dust mites, old skin particles and other allergens. Avoid an innerspring mattress and tend towards a latex foam or memory foam mattress.
- If you travel a lot, then carrying an inflatable air mattress in your car is ideal if you find motel mattresses cause you to itch!
There are many other reasons why one type of mattress is better for you than another. Let’s discuss how to choose a good mattress by looking at how you sleep and then the way you sleep. Confusing? Yes, sure, and so is how to choose between the number of different types of mattresses available to you. Let’s begin with support.
Choosing the Best Mattress Support
How hard do you like your mattress? Some people cannot sleep on a soft mattress and others hate a mattress that bounces them about, so let’s start with the properties of the mattress.
A Bed With a Bounce:
If you like a bed with a bounce, and many young couples (and the not so young) do for obvious reasons, then an innerspring mattress is best. Here, you can choose the thickness of your springs (the thicker the firmer the mattress) in terms of the gauge. The thickest and firmest springs are gauge 12 and they go up to the thinnest at gauge 18. The heavier you are in weight, the lower the spring gauge you should look for.
Most innerspring mattresses are constructed with spring that are interconnected, so when one person moves in the bed, the spring all around it also moves and can affect the sleep of their partner. To overcome this, you can choose a spring mattress where the individual springs are not connected to their partners, but contained within a fabric pocket. One spring to one pocket, so if you move in your bed, only the spring you are in contact with will move. Your partner will not be affected.
Innerspring mattresses are generally covered with a foam or fiberfill outer layer to provide padding between you and the springs. Some may also come with a really thickish plush pillow top. A potential problem here is that the top can compress and go thin, and after a while it will no longer come back to its original shape. The mattress will then feel very uncomfortable. It’s better in many ways to use a removable mattress pad that maintains the bounce, while retaining the comfort.
A Firmer Mattress?
If you prefer a firmer mattress with much less spring, then a memory foam mattress may be your best mattress. They come in a range of hardness levels according to the thickness and density of the foam. The denser of the foam, then the former your mattress will be. Memory foams soften with your body heat and the pressure of your body. It, therefore, supports your hips, shoulder, and other pressure points and keeps your spine in its best shape.
A 3 lb per cubic for memory foam will be fairly soft, while a 5 lb foam will be harder and of higher quality. The thickness of a memory foam is also important. A 2” foam will not provide as much memory effect or ‘sinkability’ as a 6” thick memory foam.
Something Between the Above Two?
If you like a little bounce or buoyancy in your mattress, then a latex foam mattress offers the benefits of memory foam without you sinking right into it. You can purchase latex foam mattresses at a range of hardness and density levels. They have a degree of spring-back not associated with memory foam, and also tend to resist mold and dust mites, and to possess anti-microbial properties. Memory foams possess the same properties – but innerspring mattresses do not.
Something Different or Customized?
There are other mattress options available to you. Here are some of these:
Air Mattress: Air mattresses are available where a rubber chamber can be filled with air. In many cases, a double air mattress consists of two chambers, where each can be filled with air to a hardness preferred by each partner. A remote control allows you to change the air pressure/hardness in each of the two chambers. Such mattresses generally have a top comfort layer of foam or quilted fiber.
Waterbeds: A water mattress is filled with water to a specific hardness level. Waterbeds can support your back to a controllable level according to the water pressure. However, the greatest benefit to many people is that waterbeds are easily cleaned, and very hygienic. The surface is easy to wipe over with a disinfectant solution and is not a good surface for bedbugs, dust mites, or molds. If you need a very allergy resistant mattress, then a water bed might be your answer.
Floor Sleepers: If you sleep on the floor, then you should look for a thick mattress of 6-inches or more. Too soft a mattress might not be comfortable on a floor. A futon might be suitable for you but select one at the firmer end of the scale for floor sleeping. S memory foam or latex foam mattress may be suitable, although many prefer innerspring mattress. The type of mattress does not matter – as long as it is deep enough and firm enough to provide you with a comfortable sleeping experience.
See Also: Best Mattresses for Sleeping on the Floor »
How to Choose a Good Mattress for the Way Your Sleep
Different people sleep in different positions. Most people change their sleeping position throughout the night. However, they also have a preferred position which will have a bearing on the best type of mattress for them. Your regular position when sleeping should be reflected in the type of mattress you buy. Here are the more common examples along with my best mattress recommendations.
How to Choose a Mattress for a Side Sleeper:
If you sleep on your side, then your mattress should be able to support your body weight while conforming to that shape. It should be able to support your shoulder, hip, and perhaps even your knee joints. In order to understand this, simply lie down on a hard floor in your preferred sleeping position for 5 minutes and you will soon understand where you need most support.
A lower density memory foam mattress will be the best mattress for you. It will support all your pressure points because of the way memory foam softens with pressure and body heat. Too hard of a mattress will not yield enough to the pressure of a side sleeper. A latex foam mattress will not yield enough, and if you don’t like memory foam then an innerspring mattress would be second best.
You Prefer to Sleep on Your Stomach:
When choosing the best mattress for a stomach sleeper, avoid memory foam. That is because memory foam softens with pressure and heat, and you are liable to sink right into such a mattress if you sleep on your stomach. It would not only feel smothering but might also overheat you. An air mattress or waterbed would be good, while a less expensive alternative would be a dense innerspring without too much padding or a firm latex foam mattress.
Read More: Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers »
How to Choose a Good Mattress for Back Sleepers:
Back sleepers need their spine to be kept in the correct alignment – not totally straight! Most people have found a medium hard memory foam mattress to best for them. It supports their spine and the other pressure points on their back – buttocks, shoulder blades and shoulders. Some have found a spring or latex foam mattress to work, though a memory foam mattress is generally regarded as offering most support where it matters.
Read More: The Best Mattress for Back Sleepers »
Best Mattress for Restless Partners:
If your partner, or you, tend to toss and turn when sleeping then you need a mattress that isolates the movement of each person. Memory foam does that perfectly, but if you do not like memory foam, then a pocket spring mattress will be your next best option.
If You Get Hot When You Sleep:
Most foam mattresses will trap your body heat. Memory foam is particularly known for keeping hot sleepers hot during the night. Your best bet would be an innerspring mattress, where the heat can be dissipated into the empty space in the mattress.
If You Are Allergic to Dusts and Mold:
Latex and memory foam mattresses are resistant to dust kite and mold contamination. They also tend to be antimicrobial, meaning that they are likely the healthiest of mattress types we are discussing. There may be healthier mattresses manufactured using specific natural substances that resist infection and destroy bacteria and other living organisms that can affect your health, although in general, foams are more healthy than spring mattresses in this respect.
You Want the Best of Everything…
Some people are perfectionists or want the best properties of all mattress types compressed into one. This is not possible but… it can sometimes be done! One easy way is to combine the benefits of innerspring mattresses with memory foam. If you like innerspring mattresses, but also like the sound of the benefits of memory foam, why not use a memory foam pad on top of your preferred main mattress? You can purchase 2” memory foam pads or latex foam pads, to place over your main mattress.
How to Choose the Best Mattress – Summary
This mattress buying guide informs you, not only how to choose a good mattress, but how to choose the best mattress for your needs. Choosing the best mattress is not easy because there are so many of them, designed for both specific and general needs. However, if you follow this guide then you can choose the best mattress for you based upon your main sleeping position, whether or not you sleep alone while taking any allergies or sleeping issues you have into consideration.