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How to Choose the Best Mattress

A man tests a mattress

When it comes to buying a mattress, it’s crucial to choose the right one for your needs. With so many options available, finding the right mattress can be a daunting task. We spoke with sleep experts to help you learn everything you need to know about picking the best mattress for yourself and your needs.

When Should You Get a New Mattress?

A woman with back pain

A mattress is an investment, and it’s essential to replace it when it’s no longer providing you with the support and comfort you need. Jackson Lindeke, Product Expert at SleepFoundation.org, recommends replacing your mattress every six to eight years. However, if you notice any issues before then, such as regularly waking up with muscle stiffness or pain, you should replace your mattress sooner.

Lifestyle changes often prompt mattress shopping, according to Mary Helen Rogers, VP of Marketing & Communications for Better Sleep Council.

“For example,” she said, “you get married or enter into a relationship and go from sleeping solo to sleeping with a partner, experience an injury, become pregnant or have a new baby, or maybe you gain or lose weight.”

Any lifestyle change that affects your sleep in some way may warrant needing a new mattress. Ultimately, you will have to decide if your current mattress is positively or negatively impacting your sleep, and make a change accordingly.

What to Look for in a Mattress

A woman touches a mattress
LightField Studios/Shutterstock.com

When choosing a mattress, it’s essential to consider a few key factors. Firstly, the firmness of the mattress is crucial as it directly affects your sleep quality. Mattresses can range from extra-firm to ultra-plush, and it’s important to find one that provides the right level of support for your body.

Casper Sleep Element Mattress, Queen

One of the most popular mattress brands today.

If you’re a side sleeper, you may prefer a softer mattress, while stomach sleepers may prefer a firmer option, David Rubin, Director of Product Testing at TheSleepDoctor.com, explains.

“A soft mattress will contour close to the body, which is usually better for side sleepers who want to avoid pressure points in their hips and shoulders, or light sleepers who sleep more “on top” of the bed, rather than sinking into it,” he said.

Lindeke advises thinking about materials, firmness, price, and personal sleeping preferences when looking at mattresses. You may also want to consider additional features such as adjustable positions and cooling technologies. For those with specific needs, such as snoring or back pain, these extra features can provide additional benefits.

Sven & Son Split King Adjustable Bed Base Frame + 14

A splurge-worthy adjustable option.

One of the best ways to get an idea of which mattress to buy is to test them out in person. Visit mattress stores and try out the different options they have.

“The right mattress for you will feel comfortable as you lie on it in your preferred sleeping position,” said Rogers. “Your head, neck, and spine should be in good alignment as if you are standing with good posture.”

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t feel bad about walking out of the store empty-handed—this is a large, important purchase that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

What Are the Different Types of Mattresses?

A mattress store

There are several types of mattresses available on the market, and it’s essential to understand each type and its unique benefits.

Innerspring Mattresses

These are the traditional mattresses that have been around for many years. They are made with coils and are available in a range of firmnesses. They are best for those who prefer a firmer surface and want a more traditional feel.

Zinus 10 Inch Tight Top Spring Mattress

An affordable option for those who prefer spring mattresses.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses are designed to conform to your body shape and provide a customized sleep experience. They are best for those who prefer a softer mattress and want a more body-contouring feel.

Zinus 12 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress

A top-rated memory foam mattress.

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses are a combination of innerspring and memory foam. They provide a balance of support and comfort and are best for those who want a mix of traditional and contemporary features.

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses are made with natural latex and are best for those who prefer an eco-friendly option. They are also best for those who want a more bouncy and responsive feel.

Sunrising Bedding 8

Comfortable cushioning and great support.

None of these mattresses is objectively better than another. Each sleeper will have their own preference for what works best for them, which is why it’s important to test out each kind for yourself.

How Much Should You Spend on a Mattress?

A couple shops for mattresses
ORION PRODUCTION/Shutterstock.com

Mattress prices can vary greatly. While you may be tempted to choose the cheapest option, it’s crucial to invest in a high-quality mattress that will provide you with the support and comfort you need.

Both Lindeke and Rubin recommend spending about $1,000 on a high-quality mattress, or at least preparing to do so if you aren’t able to find a good deal.

Rogers also advises not skimping on your mattress budget, as it should be viewed as a long-term investment. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend that much to get a good product.

“All brands have good, better, and best options (think about cars, they do the same) and all can provide a safe, comfortable night’s sleep,” she said.

Choosing the right mattress is a crucial decision that can greatly impact the quality of your sleep and overall health. By considering factors such as firmness, type, extra features, and cost, you can find a mattress that meets your specific needs and provides you with a comfortable and supportive sleep experience.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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