How to choose the best mattress for the perfect night’s sleep


Do you leap out of bed in the morning feeling fully refreshed after a good night’s sleep, or do you toss and turn throughout the night and wake up with aches and pains in your back and limbs? Of course, there are several reasons why the quality of your sleep can be poor, however, a mattress that is past its prime is likely to be a major cause.


The expert advice is that a mattress should be replaced
every 7 – 10 years. Mattresses beyond this age will have lost
much of their original comfort and support.

We do tend to forget about the mattress on our bed until a comfortable night’s sleep becomes a rare event. There are many factors involved in its longevity, and that lifespan can vary enormously depending on how you use it, sleep on it, look after it and how often it is rotated.

Also, the maxim ‘you get what you pay for’ is as relevant to mattresses as it is to any other product. The more expensive the mattress the longer it is likely to maintain a high level of comfort for the user(s) before it starts to sag, become lumpy and show signs of wear and tear.


Firmness levels


How we perceive the softness and hardness of anything is subjective, however, the guide below suggests what you should look for regarding support and firmness when selecting a new mattress.

How we perceive the softness and hardness of anything is subjective, however, the guide below suggests what you should look for regarding support and firmness when selecting a new mattress.

The main points to consider when making a choice are the position
in which you prefer to sleep, and your body weight and type.

Also, be aware that firmness and support are not the same things. Many mattresses on the market combine adequate support with softness.


Soft

The softer mattresses available are best avoided if you have a higher bodyweight. They are more suitable for individuals that sleep on their side rather than those that lie on their stomach or back.

Medium
These mattresses are the most commonly sold and are favored by most sleepers because they give good support, are well-balanced and have moderate hug and sinkage.

Firm
These mattresses give the feeling that you are floating on the surface rather than sinking in. Firm mattresses are more suitable for those that sleep on their back or stomach.

Orthopedic

For those that suffer from back pain, musculoskeletal or joint problems, orthopedic mattresses give the extra support required to ensure a better night’s sleep. These mattresses are designed to provide enhanced weight distribution that can help to relieve sleep pressure points. Customers with a higher bodyweight often prefer this type of mattress because of the extra support it provides.


Sleep position

Depending on your sleeping position, you need to choose the best mattress to suit your needs. Take a look below to see which type of mattress would suit you.

If you prefer to sleep on your back a medium to medium-firm mattress would be the most suitable. It should have sufficient support to keep your body in alignment while being soft enough to relieve pressure points and cushion the spine.

Sleeping on your stomach is very common but it can cause pain and stiffness in the neck and back. It is therefore essential to have a mattress with the right degree of firmness to give adequate support. Use a thin pillow to avoid neck strain.

This is the most common sleeping position and side sleepers should select a mattress that is firm enough to keep the body well supported while being soft enough to provide pressure relief. A soft to medium-firm mattress is ideal.

A combination sleeper will use more than one of the primary sleep positions. Many will change position regularly throughout the night. They need a supportive mattress that is pressure relieving and can accommodate all styles of sleep.


Types of mattress


Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses are comparative newcomers to the market. First developed by NASA in the 1960s, memory foam (visco-elastic foam), is used by manufacturers to create mattresses that have become increasingly popular with consumers. A layer of the foam is combined with conventional springs or support foam and the heat from a user’s body causes it to soften and mold itself to the shape of the sleeper.

Cost for a full (double) – less than $600 – average price (approx.) $900.

Wired
These mattresses have internal support constructed with metal springs. The number of coils in the mattress is an indicator of quality – more coils mean more support. The distribution and the number of the coils determine how effective the mattress will be in conforming to your body shape. The majority of sleepers find these mattresses to be very comfortable.

Cost for a full (double) – less than $700 – average price (approx.) $950.

Hybrid
Hybrid mattresses have a core of coils for support and a comfort layer of memory foam or latex. The coils in a hybrid mattress are in pockets of cloth. Having the coils in pockets helps to reduce motion transfer and provides better support.

Cost for a full (double) – less than $1200 – average price (approx.) $1650.

Latex
These products are made with a combination of latex foam with reflex foam or springs. The combination creates a durable and supportive mattress. Latex is a natural product (the source of natural rubber from trees) and the mattresses often have other natural fillings. They are particularly popular with customers that wish to avoid synthetic materials.

Cost for a full (double) – less than $1500 – average price (approx.) $2000.

tip

TIP!

Adjustable beds are a great option for some. They can relieve pressure on your back, and help with breathing for those that suffer from sleep apnea



What to consider


Price

The price of mattresses varies enormously depending on the type, quality, and durability. You can pay just a few hundred dollars up to several thousand for the finest quality products. Before purchasing also check out the trial period offered and the warranty. Warranties can last as long as 15 years for the more expensive mattresses. As always, check around for the best prices after you have decided on a mattress type. There are always good deals to be had.

Reviews
When considering purchasing any merchandise these days we have the advantage of being able to read reviews posted by buyers that have already experienced the pros and cons of individual products. Make full use of the reviews because it is essential to do your research before committing to a particular brand and making a purchase.

Buying online vs. offline
The advantage of visiting a store to select a mattress is that you can lie down on it to check for comfort, firmness, and support. You obviously cannot do that when purchasing online so you will need to check reviews thoroughly. 

Don’t dismiss buying from a store because they often match online prices and you will have the advantage of professional advice. The salesperson will also be able to see you and advise you on the most suitable mattress for your body weight and preferred sleep style.

The main advantage of buying online is the huge amount of choice you will be presented with. There is also a wider range of prices than you will find in a store.


How men and women sleep differently

When buying a mattress how many male and female partners consider that one type will suit them both equally? Probably most of them. The truth is that women and men do need different things from a mattress. Let’s look at the main variables:

  • Women need hip and waist support
  • Men need shoulder support
  • Women need a softer mattress
  • Men need a firmer mattress
  • Women can experience great fluctuations in body temperature when in bed
  • Men generally have a more stable and regulated body temperature when in bed
  • Women are more likely to sit up in bed to read or work
  • Men are more likely to need to sleep in an elevated position if they have sleep apnea and to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.

The answer to this problem is either to have separate beds (not popular) or to reach a compromise solution. The level of firmness and the type and construction of the mattress will therefore have to be a joint decision; however, manufacturers do have the problem of hot sleepers covered. Most now include design elements (most of the foams used are breathable) to help hot sleepers keep cool.

tip

TIP!

Remember! You get what you pay for. Avoid the cheapest products if possible.
Always shop around for bargains, both on and offline.


Summary

We all spend a large part of our lives in bed so we need a mattress that will keep us comfortable throughout the night. A mattress of poor quality will undoubtedly mean restless nights and achy, grumpy mornings! So, our advice would be to avoid the cheapest products and to shop around, look for special offers and sales, and buy the best quality of mattress you can afford.

Was this post helpful?

Aimee - Lifestyle Editor

Aimee - Lifestyle Editor

Aimee is the lifestyle editor for livelife.guide, and works in the digital media industry. She covers a range of lifestyle topics, and has loads of awesome guides in the works for livelife.guide. In her spare time she prioritizes playing fetch with her dog, and drinking far too much tea.