Did you know that you spend about a third of your life sleeping? Your bed is supposed to be your sanctuary; the place you can go to relieve stress and decompress from your busy day. But, there’s nothing relieving about a mattress that leaves you with a sore back or a stiff neck.
Purchasing a new mattress is a big deal. With so many options on the market, finding the perfect fit is difficult.
Just like when you buy a new car, or a new computer, it’s wise to do a bit of research before purchasing a new mattress. Here is a mattress buying guide which will help ensure the bed you purchase meets your specific needs.
How Old is Your Mattress?
The first step in buying a new mattress is to determine if you actually need one. Start by asking yourself how old your mattress is. The average mattress holds its coziness for approximately eight years. If your mattress is over eight years old, it’s probably a good idea to consider getting a new one.
If you are restless, waking up in pain, not sleeping through the night, have insomnia, or feel anything other than well rested when you wake up in the morning, you need a new bed.
What Type of Mattress Do I Need?
After you’ve determined that you do in fact need a new mattress, it’s important to investigate various ‘types’.
Hybrid describes a mattress constructed from a combination of latex, memory, polyurethane foals, coils, and/or other assorted materials. A Hybrid mattress is best for those who want the best of all worlds – a great bounce, support, comfort, and cooling. A good example of a Hybrid mattress is the Leesa Mattress.
Latex mattresses are built exclusively from latex foam. They are known for their cooling abilities and comfort. They typically have a great responsiveness, comfort, and bounce. A Latex mattress is best for those who want foam, but want to stay away from the hug and contour that often comes with memory foam mattresses. A good example of a Latex mattress is the Brooklyn Bedding Mattress.
Memory Foam mattresses are known for great support, pressure relief, and body contouring. They often get a reputation for “sleeping hot”, but many newer memory foam mattresses are equipped with cooling properties. A Memory Foam mattress is best for those who want a more pronounced hug than many hybrid or latex mattresses offer. A good example of a Memory Foam mattress is the Loom & Leaf Mattress.
One of the most popular mattress types are those made from coils (aka innersprings). These mattresses have one or more layers of spring coils to provide support and comfort. A large number of coils typically means better comfort and support. A Coil mattress is best for those who want a more traditional spring feel, great bounce, cooling, and strong edge support. A good example of a Coil mattress is the Honest Bed Mattress.
Pillow-top mattresses fall into a few categories due to their multiple layers (coil, latex, memory foam, hybrid, etc.). These mattresses are unique because they have a soft layer of material either stuffed or sewn into the cover to give you extra comfort and cushion. A Pillowtop mattress is best for those who prefer a softer and more cushion comfort. Think cloud-like support. A good example of a Pillow-top mattress is the Saatva Mattress.
Adjustable beds allow you to change the sleeping position of the mattress, typically by elevating the feet and inclining the back, or vice versa. Some even offer luxuries like vibration, heat, or massage. An adjustable mattress is ideal for those with specific such as those from a certain medical condition, older sleepers, snorers, those with lower back pain, and more. A good example of an Adjustable mattress is the Leggett & Platt Adjustable Base Mattress.
What is Your Budget?
The next piece of information you must determine before going shopping is your budget. A key piece of information to remember is, in the mattress industry, more money does not always mean a better product. On the other hand, it’s probably wise not to go ultra-cheap. Price isn’t a perfect indicator of quality, but if you aren’t spending much, you’re probably getting a mattress similar to one you’d find in a college dorm room.
What Firmness Do I Need?
Firmness refers to how hard or soft a mattress feels. Each person’s definition of soft or firm is different, because everyone’s body type, weight, and size are different. When possible, it is always best to try the mattress out for yourself.
Another factor to be aware of is support, which differs from firmness in that a mattress that provides good support means that it keeps your spine in proper alignment without creating pressure points. If a mattress is not supportive, it is likely you will wake up sore the next morning.
Typically, average preferred firmness levels for sleepers falls between the 4-7 out of 10 range. Brooklyn Bedding, Nest Bedding’s Love & Sleep, and Saatva’s Luxury Coil Mattresses are available in soft, medium, and firm. Loom & Leaf is available in medium and firm. Lastly, Helix Sleep provides support and firmness customization options.
What Position Do You Sleep In?
Finding the perfect mattress may depend on which position you like to sleep in. Each sleeping position has its own specific needs and firmness levels.
Side sleepers often move around and shift positions during sleep, therefore, they need a mattress with soft to medium level firmness. Something in the 3-6 range out of 10 (where 10 is the firmest), is ideal. A soft mattress with a lot of support will relieve pressure points on your neck and back.
Firmness and support are key for back sleepers. A mattress that is too soft will create pressure points that cause pain. If the bed does not support the sleeper, it could lead to spinal alignment problems. The ideal firmness level is usually 4-7 (where 10 is the firmest).
The number one priority for stomach sleepers is support. The torso applies the most pressure to the mattress, therefore, a mattress that provides equal support across the body is necessary. If the mattress is too soft, the spine will begin to curve causing a whole slue of back pains. A stomach sleeper needs a mattress in the 5-7 range (where 10 is the firmest).
There’s no sugarcoating it – choosing a new mattress is hard. However, if you consider evaluating things like your sleep position, budget, and your preference for things like firmness and material, you will give yourself a much better starting point. But, buying a mattress isn’t something that you should rush through. Visit some mattress review sites like The Sleep Judge to get a better understanding of what might work for your body type.