Mattress Buying Guide
Why is mattress important?
You spend one-third of your life on your bed so it’s impossible to take it for granted. It’s used more than any other piece of furniture in your house. But the crucial point here is that having an expensive, durable bed is pointless if you don’t have an appropriate mattress. Your mattress is what makes your bed usable. Add pillows in this picture and it’s your comfort zone. A friend you run to after a depressing day and a place to feel at home after tiresome tasks. It’s your companion in health and disease, comfort and tragedy. Your mattress ensures a comfortable sleep that can re-energize you for the morning.
According to a public poll conducted by the National Sleep foundation, 92% people think that a comfortable mattress provides guarantee of a good night sleep, and they are absolutely right. In fact, if you’re experiencing discomfort, frequent tossing, and inadequate sleep, your mattress might be the culprit.
But people are reluctant about buying a mattress for multiple reasons. The foremost among them is a challenge of picking a good one. So, choosing a mattress can turn out exhausting, but you have got a solution right in your hands. Are you looking for a mattress and are lost? Are you not sure how to buy a mattress and what choices you have? That’s perfectly fine, and everyone faces this dilemma at some point in their life.
If that’s you then leave your worries to us, as we’ve brought you an extensive guide on how to buy a mattress. We will explain each part in a step by step fashion, so you’ll not be lost again. This comprehensive guide will introduce you to mattress world and guide you in choosing the best piece so that you never spend another sleepless night because of poor bedding. After all, buying a mattress is a serious business.
So, let’s get started!
How mattress impacts your life?
Ever wondered why some of your colleagues are energetic even on a Monday morning? The answer may not be complicated at all! Perhaps they have chosen the right mattresses for themselves. Yes, a mattress can improve or deteriorate your life quality without you even realizing it.
After a long day all you can crave for is a comfortable sleep. Your mattress makes sure that happens. Research shows that a mattress has considerable impacts on sleep quality and overall health of a person. So, if your mattress is designed for promoting the health of a person, it will bring the following positive changes in your life:
- It improves the quality of sleep – A worthy mattress can improve the quality of your sleep. It reduces nighttime awakenings and ensures deep sleep. You felt well-rested and energized for another long day ahead. Daytime sleepiness and incidence of drained energy level also reduce. This enhanced sleep quality improves work production, reduces fatigue and makes you a competent individual- a perfect package for quality life!
- It zaps your stress levels – Insomniacs often face troubles in their personal and professional lives due to low motivation levels. Research shows that disturbed sleep routine is related to stress issues because it releases stress hormones in the body. So, if the problem of inadequate sleep goes out of the picture, stress levels can be reduced. This is where your mattress appears as your savior and fades your frustration. With your sleep quality improved and stress markers under control, anxiety stays at a distance from you- All hail your good quality mattress!
- It reduces back pains – Waking up with body aches and back pains isn’t an alien feeling. Majority experiences this in life, and the main reason behind this is poor quality bedding. A mattress can either improve your health or throw it into junk hole, and choosing a mattress, that keeps your spine aligned in an appropriate position, prevents back pains. Research , too, endorses correlation between mattress quality and low incidence of back pains. So, you’ve just hacked yourself a secret of healthy spine – a good quality mattress.
How to decide if you need a new mattress?
It’s a common practice that people take a long time to replace their mattresses, and long time means decades! Yes, since mattresses are covered by sheets, people don’t find out soon enough that their mattresses need replacement. Moreover, they are costly, and it takes a lot of work while making a choice. Hence they avoid it. But, this attitude isn’t healthy.
Once your mattress wears out, you may not realize, it sabotages your health. So, there need to be some signs that compel you to shop for a new mattress. Here is a detailed checklist that you should look out for. If you find these signs in your mattress, then perhaps it’s the right time to get a new mattress.
- Your mattress is 7 – 8 years old- Do you think mattress age? They do! You might not realize this, but mattresses age sooner than you’d expect. The average lifespan of a mattress is 7-8 years. After that, you should consider buying a new one. Within this time span your body also changes (you might gain or lose weight, or have health issues). Buying a mattress that meets your new body requirements becomes inevitable. So, if you can’t recall the year you bought your mattress, it’s time to buy a new one.
- Your mattress sags- If you find a visible dimple in the place where you sleep or sit, it’s about time you buy yourself a new mattress. The reason is that it won’t provide you enough support anymore. You will keep rolling to that impression spot and sleep becomes a nightmare! So, get rid of your mattress and say hello to comfortable sleep again.
- You wake up achy and tired- If you wake up with back pains and body aches, your mattress might be a culprit. An old mattress doesn’t provide perfect alignment to spine, and it leads to stiffness of neck and back. It deteriorates your life quality and health as well. So, an achy, restless body is a sign of your mattress being too old to use.
- Your mattress is worn out- If your mattress is weary and lumpy, with springs exposed; you need to change it immediately. It’s too old to be comfortable.
- Your box spring creaks- If your mattress keeps groaning, creaking or pinging all night long, how can you expect a sound sleep? This creaking is a sign that your mattress needs replacement. So, get ready to buy a new one which makes no noise and let you sleep all night long!
It’s understandable that you don’t get to see much of your mattress due to all the covers and stuff. But, it’s really a good idea to give your mattress a good inspection once after five to six months. Look out for the above-mentioned signs of your “mattress’ health” and start thinking about replacing it if some or most of the pointers are true. If you’re unsure how to recycle your old mattress we suggest to read this.
What to consider before buying a mattress?
Sticking to an old mattress that doesn’t feel comfortable anymore is bad. However, buying a new one and ending up with a wrong mattress is even worse. In fact, that’s an absolute worst nightmare! It costs you time and money, yielding nothing. Besides, mattress world has so much diversity; you can easily get confused and stuck. That’s why you need to educate yourself about mattresses and consider your personal requirements before opting for one. This section will aid you in choosing a mattress which caters all your needs.
If you have inspected your mattress carefully and observed it needs to be replaced, here are few things you need to explore. These considerations help you in making an informed decision.
1. Types of mattresses available in the market
This is an extensive and challenging territory. Since there’s a lot of diversity in mattresses available on the market, it becomes crucial to educate yourself about them. Once you know the positives and downsides of each mattress type, making a choice would become relatively easy for you.
Some of the options accessible for you are listed below:
Air mattresses are relatively new and are full of benefits. Air mattresses are most considerate when it comes to your comfort and convenience. These mattresses use air as support system instead of coils or foams. Here are some of their points that put them above their competitors:
- They provide a great deal of bounce.
- They are inflatable hence can be used for camping purposes. There’s a crucial point to be clarified here. Air mattresses used for camping purposes are different from those used in homes. The later ones have padding on them which comes in various fibers and foams.
- Air mattresses provide a great deal of customization to consumer because their firmness can be adjusted according to personal preferences. Some of these air beds allow you to adjust firmness of both sides separately. So, while your partner prefers to sleeps in firm bed, you can enjoy a soft and plush mattress.
- Another perk is that in some air mattresses this dual zone flexibility is extended to different portions on the same side of the bed. So, those who have back pains and other similar health issues can adjust firmness of various zones of the same side and get a perfect alignment of their spine.
Latex mattress uses latex foam as a support system. It’s derived from rubber tree sap centrifuged and settled into molds. This ensures natural, chemical free quality of a latex mattress. But it also comes in a synthetic form prepared from petroleum-based oils and other chemical additives. Here is what makes latex mattresses special:
- Latex foam mattresses have immediate rebound capacity so they swathe around contour of your body providing you a plush sleeping experience. So, if you don’t like sinking into mattress, this is a perfect choice for you.
- Your sleep comfort peaks to a higher level with an ability of latex foam mattresses to relieve pressure points.
- Their high durability profile justifies their lucrative cost.
- The safety profile of latex foam mattresses is also bright because they are resistant to mites and dust.
- They have prominent bounce and effective ventilation system which give you a weightless and featherlike sleep experience.
With such perks, latex foam mattresses undisputedly mark top positions in mattress world.
Here are some points that differentiate memory foam mattresses from the competitor mattress types:
- Memory foam mattresses with a polyurethane support system provide a cozy sleep. They don’t have rebound capacity like latex forms, so your body can sink in according to your weight. MA memory foam mattress has an ability to relieve pressure points. This feature makes it a perfect home after a tiring day.
- Economical price range is a big plus about this type of mattress.
- Memory foams are supportive, dense and provide great hug because they adjust to your body temperature.
However, they have a bad reputation for being fairly hot so perspiration might cause discomfort in your sleep. In an inexpensive range, they are a reasonable choice.
Innerspring mattresses use coiled springs as their support system. Owing to springs present as a support system, these mattresses are suitable for people who want extra firmness. Some features unique to innerspring mattresses are as follows:
- These springs come in various shapes and girth, affecting the extent of firmness, thus giving you an opportunity of customization.
- A foam layer is present on top of these coils to provide comfort. The comfort profile is encouraging but with time, its level decreases.
- It shows bright results for back pain and relieving pressure points initially but that too decreases with time.
So, longevity is an issue in case of innerspring mattresses. Their costs are highly affordable making them immensely popular. Noise complaints (squeaking and creaking) are rare but emerge sometimes, so you should choose innerspring mattress with pocket coils to ensure no noise. Summing up, if you have a moderate budget and want a comfortable, firm mattress, it’s an appropriate choice for you.
Hybrid mattresses are newbies in the mattress industry, but it seems like every manufacturer is obsessed with producing it. They provide ‘‘two in one’’ package with their hybrid nature.
- Hybrid mattresses have coils inside as a support system with a thick top layer of memory foam. So, you can cherish perks of both memory foam and innerspring mattress.
- They are fairly comfortable with the ability to alleviate stiff back and provide well-distributed support.
- Their motion isolation profile outshines among other types of mattresses. Motion isolation means that you don’t get disturbed when your partner moves. Fascinating, isn’t it?
- They are cost-effective, and that’s what puts them among top mattress choices.
- Their bounce and variety in firmness are also worth mentioning. Noise complaints are non-existent.
So, overall, hybrid mattresses are doing justice with their popularity by giving outclass results.
Water mattresses are fun! They have water, encased in wooden or foam frame as their support system.
- Their main quality is longevity. Yes, if taken proper care of, they can provide best results for decades.
- Durability might be an issue, because punctures due to pencils, cats or zippers are likely, but they are easily repairable.
- Motion isolation of a water mattress is great because it doesn’t allow movement to spread throughout the bed. They distribute your weight evenly, providing support and significant pain relief.
- They are not convenient to use in winter due to a possibility of cold water.
- Plus they are fairly heavy, so setting up a water mattress or moving it is difficult.
Other than that, water mattresses are fairly reasonable and tie with memory foam or latex mattress.
Futon mattresses provide plenty of options when it comes to materials used. They are like thin mats, filled with cotton, foam or springs – anything you want. Here are some of their features:
- They can be laid on the floor directly, or you can place them on mattress foundation.
- Their most attractive features are inexpensive price ranges and convenience of mobility. You can keep them in your house for occasional use when guests arrive or in case your child asks for them.
- We do not recommend them for daily use, owing to their low comfort level and lack of pain relieving features. Of its kind, however, the futon mattress with foam provides the highest comfort level.
Pillow top Mattresses
Pillow top mattresses are mainly popular due to their customizability.
- Pillow top mattresses are for people who like it soft, that is to say – with low firmness. However, you can find them in medium firmness, too. They have an extra layer of upholstery sewn with mattress. The material used in this layer varies from foams to fibers.
- Their comfort level is encouraging, because they have memory foam, which ensures even distribution of weight.
- Pillow top mattresses with spring have high motion isolation, so it’s less likely that you’ll get disturbed by your partner’s movement. They are durable and hold reasonable longevity.
- They also wrap around your body and provide pressure relief.
- As compared to other mattresses, pillow case mattresses are expensive. They work best, but once your pillow case sags, it might disturb the alignment of your neck, causing backache.
- It is also important to note that pillow top mattresses might not be suitable for stomach sleepers. ( see Sleeping Positions )
Adjustable Foundations Mattresses
Adjustable foundation mattresses have an elite reputation, and their features speak for themselves.
- These mattresses are flexible, and you can adjust them manually, according to your needs. You can raise your legs or torso by adjusting various zones of this mattress. They have a manually operating motor attached to them to set the position.
- Adjustable mattresses with dual zone control are best for couples, because each side can be controlled separately according to partner’s preferences.
- The downside is that middle area might not be too comfortable to cuddle or spoon.
- Split beds have the maximum comfort level.
- The top positive feature of an adjustable foundation mattress is that it helps in alleviating diseases like poor blood circulation, reflux disease, insomnia, neck pain and sleep apnea. Extending this further, it’s safe to say that adjustable foundation mattresses have significant health benefits. Their only downside is heavy weight, so mobility is limited.
2. Personal Preferences
Once you have explored all mattress types available on the market, you need to consider your personal preferences. While making a decision about what you want in a mattress, the following points should be kept in mind:
- Firmness of desire in your mattress
- Your budget
- Your body weight
- Your usual sleeping position
- Possible allergies to different mattress materials.
Firmness of Mattresses
Firmness is defined by the opposing force a mattress applies on your body. It doesn’t let your body sink into the mattress. So, the firmer your mattress is, the less sinking effect you experience. Firmness is important because it varies with personal choice. Some people like the hug effect, others don’t want to sink in. So, you need to decide how firm you want your mattress to be.
The firmness of a mattress depends either on the nature of its material or its quantity.
The innerspring mattress has high firmness because of springs or coils. Memory or latex foam mattresses come in various ranges of firmness, owing to the quantity of foam present in them.
It’s hard to define firmness on a scale because there is no scientific standard available. The labels “extra-plush” “soft”, “medium” are used to describe it. It’s highly subjective, but a rough scale of 1-10 can be built for convenience. On the scale of 1-10, mattresses are classified as:
- Plush or Soft- 3-5 out of 10 on this scale constitutes soft firmness. These are plush mattresses for people who want soft, hug effect. So, if you want a considerable sinkage, you should go for a soft mattress.
- Medium- 5-7 out of 10 is considered medium rating. These mattresses have a reasonable firm effect and they give best alignment to your spine. They are highly recommended for people with back pains.
- Firm- These mattresses are designed to let the sleeper float on them. On the scale of 10, they mark a position between 7 to 10 (10 being the firmest). If you don’t want to sink in your mattress, this should be your choice.
Every type of mattress available on the market offers a different range of firmness. You can find this in memory, latex foam, pocket spring, and open spring mattresses. Firmness is mentioned on each variety. You can compare them and choose a suitable one that meets your requirements. Another tip for checking the firmness of a mattress is testing it before buying. Take a test and lie on it for 10-15 minutes. This will help you in experiencing its firmness and let you decide if it suits your needs.
Budget is a huge deciding factor when it comes to shopping for a mattress. You need to keep the following things in mind:
- “The pricier, the better” is wrong– You need to clear this misconception that lucrative cost ensures quality. You can find a good quality mattress at a reasonable price. Your preference shouldn’t be an expensive mattress. In fact, you should consider your body requirements. A cost-effective mattress that meets your requirements and suits your body type should be preferred anytime to an expensive one.
- Don’t set your bar too low- Your budget shouldn’t be less than $500 because that’s the quality limit. Indeed, it is always possible to get some excellent deals under 500$, yet my point here is that “Cheap” and “Less Expensive” are completely different things. If you buy a mattress that is cheap, the quality will be poor ( general rule of thumb ) but if you’re buying a good mattress relatively inexpensive, that’s an entirely different story.
- $500-$1000 is a reasonable budget- You can get a good quality, durable mattress in $1000, so if you think it’s not sufficient, here’s a sigh of relief for you. You can get a king-size mattress that meets your body requirements within this budget.
- Online shopping can help– Online shopping can help you cut down on your budget. It has more variety and prices are comparatively reasonable. Moreover, you can save yourself from frustrating shopping session in an extreme weather!
- Brand isn’t that important- You shouldn’t limit your choices because of a brand. Some famous ones overcharge and give same quality that can be obtained in a reasonable range from a different brand. So, measure the quality of your mattress by your body requirements, rather then by the expensiveness of a brand. To get an idea about the major players in the market we suggest to read our article on mattress brands.
Your body weight also plays a vital role while choosing a mattress. So, don’t go for the same type of mattress you have been using for decades because your body weight may have changed. Your new mattress should be chosen according to your current weight condition.
- For lightweight sleepers- If you weigh less than 150 pounds, you can enjoy a hug effect in your plush mattress. Sagging into the mattress with a thin comforting layer is more suitable for lightweight people.
- For heavyweight sleepers- For individuals who weigh more than 150 pounds or so, bedding should be firm. The sinking effect isn’t suitable according to their body types. In addition, we would recommend to read our guide on choosing best mattress for heavy people
The way you sleep impacts your body and health. Add poor bedding in this picture, and things are sure to become worse. So, choose a mattress, considering your sleeping position. We all have different sleeping positions; some people will sleep on their backs, some- on their stomachs and some will sleep on their sides. These sleeping positions should be considered when you are buying a mattress or pillow, because different products have been found to be ideal for different sleepers. In general, there is no brand that will have a perfect matters or pillow for all.
- For side sleepers– If you’re a side sleeper, pressure relief becomes crucial. Your shoulders and hips need pressure release. For that, you need a soft mattress with a ‘‘sink in’’ effect. This helps you in distributing your weight evenly, and pressure relief stays healthy. For a hug effect, the top comfort layer of your mattress should be thick. Your mattress should adjust according to your body contour. Otherwise, you might experience poor blood circulation or numbness. Hybrid, memory or latex foam mattress can work best for you.
- For back sleepers– If you are in the habit of sleeping on your back, a fairly thinner comfort layer will work for you. Your spine needs to be aligned so that you don’t experience back ache. Your mattress should have a medium firmness to avoid excessive sagging.
- For stomach sleepers– This sleeping position makes you more vulnerable to back pains, so you need to be extra careful while buying a mattress. It should be as firm as possible and have very thin comfort layer. The spring mattresses can work for you because they come in firm variety. Avoid a pillow top mattress because it disturbs alignment of your neck and can cause severe back pains.
All Positions Combined
Most people are in this sleeping category, but this has been greatly attributed to uncomfortable mattresses that lead to tossing and turning. The mattress that you choose should at least meet your needs in two different sleeping positions. Choose a mattress that is not too firm and not too soft, because it is at least comfortable for back and side sleepers.
Mattresses are not items you buy every month; chances are that the mattress you buy today will be what you will be sleeping on for the next five years. The type of mattress you choose should work well for your sleeping style, and this is why most companies offer the trial period. Before you go out shopping for the ideal mattress, consider researching on the best mattress models that are designed to provide comfort for your sleeping position. The same applies to pillows. When you choose the correct product for your sleeping position, your nights will always be comfortable, and you will not have to deal with any pressure point related problems or pain.
Consider your allergies:
Some people are allergic to chemical additives or synthetic substances used in mattresses. Most of them contain polyurethane along with other chemicals. If you are allergic to any of this chemical material, make a mental note, before buying a mattress – you should choose memory mattress or latex foam mattress. These have natural material filled inside as their support system. Latex has a synthetic form as well, which is composed of petroleum-based oils, so avoid that, too, if you’re allergic. Otherwise, it’s worth knowing, that aside from being manufactured out of natural materials, these mattresses are highly resistant to dust and mites, so they work great for allergic individuals. Another option is to buy hypoallergenic mattress protector or a pad.
Understand your partner’s requirements:
If you share your bed with your partner, it’s important to consider his needs before making a purchase. The best option is to choose adjustable foundation mattress or any type with a dual adjusting ability. In such mattresses both sides can be customized to different needs. They are couple-friendly and ensure a comfortable sleep for both of you.
Another factor, that should be kept in mind, is motion isolation. Choose a mattress that isolates movement effect so that your partner’s sleep doesn’t get disturbed while you toss or roll. Memory foam and pillow top mattresses have much better motion isolation profile compared to innerspring mattresses and water beds.
Here we go! This is a quick guide for your giving you an overview about the dos and don’ts of buying a mattress and different options there are in the market. Just keep these points in mind and you’re good to go!