Mattresses Buying Guide
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Mattresses Buying Guide

AUGUST 3, 2016

by Andrew Schneider Bedding Specialist

Your mattress has a significant impact on your life — it affects everything from sleep quality to the way your muscles feel in the morning. As you're shopping for a mattress, remember that all models are not created equal. The best mattress for you depends on your health, body size, and sleep preferences. When you understand how your individual circumstances impact mattress selection, it's easier to choose one that results in a better night's sleep.


Mattress on bed

Body Temperature

Temperature management is an important part of a good night's sleep. Consider how you feel in the morning — if you wake up sweaty even without heavy blankets, your body temperature probably runs hot during the evening. Look for mattresses marked as "breathable" or choose styles with natural-fiber toppers. A waterbed can also help move heat away from your body. If you tend to be cold at night, look for mattresses that do not disperse heat: memory foam and latex are two good options.

Mattress on bed

Back Pain

Back pain can disturb your sleep and disrupt your day. One possible solution is a sleeping on a memory foam mattress, which molds to the size and shape of your body and eliminates hot spots or pressure points that can cause soreness. Latex mattresses are another option; they offer a comfortable blend of support and softness. If you have a specific health condition, it is important to consult your doctor about safe mattress options.

Mattress on bed

Sleeping Position

When choosing the cushioning of a mattress, consider how you sleep. If you tend to lay on your side or back, look for softer mattresses or styles with plush pillow tops. The extra cushioning cradles your body, so you can wake up without muscle aches. If you sleep on your stomach, a firmer mattress is a better fit; it provides extra support and prevents your spine from flexing in toward the bed. Look for firm innerspring or latex mattresses.

Mattress on bed

Body Size

The choice of cushioning also depends on your body size. If you are extremely tall, consider an innerspring mattress with a pillow top. The thick top layer sits above the inner core of the mattress, preventing the springs from putting pressure on your pressure points. If you're very small or slim, it's not necessary to shell out for an expensive pillow-top model; your body may not be heavy enough to weigh down the cushioning and take advantage of the support below. Consider trying out options in a mattress bed store to see which feels best. Your frame also dictates the best mattress sizes. If you stand six feet tall, a queen- or king-size mattress is likely to be more comfortable than a full-size one because they are longer.

Mattress on bed

Tossing and Turning

A pattern of excessive tossing and turning, either by you or your partner, should play a role in mattress selection. Look for styles that help minimize the transfer of motion, such as memory foam mattresses or models with pocketed coils. These styles prevent motion from rippling across the bed, so your partner isn't disturbed by your restlessness. Alternatively, consider a memory foam topper, which provides the benefits of a foam mattress without the expense.

Mattress on bed

Different Partner Sleep Preferences

Sleep preferences can vary dramatically from person to person, but there's no reason for both people to compromise comfort. Instead, look for mattresses with adjustable settings on both sides. Beds with interior air chambers adjust to different firmness levels based on the sleeper's size, weight, and preference. Be sure to choose a model with chambers on each side to accommodate both people. Another option is a split mattress with an adjustable head or foot — each person can select the most comfortable position for pain reduction, breathing conditions, or acid reflux.

Mattress on bed

Practical Factors

Once you have identified the best type of mattress for your sleeping style, health, size, and relationship, you can apply practical filters to the search. Mattress size is a key consideration that impacts price, fit, and transportation. Choose a mattress based on your existing furniture to reduce costs. If you live in an upstairs apartment with tight corners, look for mattresses with split foundations.