If you like a bed with bounce
Traditional innerspring styles have that familiar bouncy feel and may be firmer. Interconnected coils are extra-durable, but individual “pocketed” coils, each covered with fabric, reduce the ripple effect that happens when someone on one side of the bed moves.
If you prefer a firmer base
Memory foam options have less spring and offer more pressure relief. To determine quality, look at the density and thickness of the foam, which will determine how deep you’ll sink. The newer, online mattresses generally use several different layers of foam, with heavier ones on the bottom for support and lighter, cooler kinds on the top for comfort.
If you want a plush top
Innerspring mattresses typically have either a fiberfill or foam outer layer, covered in quilted ticking. But even if you want an uber-plush feel, don’t be swayed by a thick-looking pillow top as it can compress over time. It’s often best to choose a firmer, well-quilted mattress, and then cover it with a replaceable mattress topper.
If you like to change it up
Consider an air-filled mattress, like Sleep Number, which has a remote that controls how much air is inside. Two side-by-side chambers allow you and your partner to customize the mattress firmness separately. There are also foam mattresses with soft and firm sides, so you can just flip it over as needed, and modular designs that let you move around the springs on the inside.
If you sleep on your side
You’ll want a surface that will support your body weight, and conform to your shape. Innersprings may have more pressure relief than some foam or latex mattresses, but a soft foam mattress or one with built-in pressure relief points around the shoulders and hips can work for side sleepers, too
If you sleep on your stomach
The last thing a stomach-sleeper probably wants is an enveloping memory foam — it would feel smothering! Instead, a firmer bed will provide the best support. Consider a firm foam, dense innerspring, or air-filled mattress.
If you sleep on your back
You’ll want something in the middle — a surface that supports, but has some give so your spine is kept in a healthy alignment. You’ll find happiness with any of the mattress types, but you should do your best princess-and-the-pea impression to see what feels best to you.
If your partner tosses and turns all night
Consider an innerspring mattress with pocketed coils, or memory foam, latex, or a dual-chamber air-filled mattress. Medium-firm picks will all have good “motion isolation.” But remember, these models could actually be less comfortable on the body of a restless sleeper, as there’s little forgiveness against one’s movements.
If you sleep hot
Manufacturers can get carried away with claims about cooling properties, especially when you consider all the layers (protectors, toppers, sheets, and so on) that go on top of the mattress. That said, foam or latex can hold in body heat, especially if they’re very soft and a lot of your body sinks in. Newer technology helps alleviate this issue and you can always accessorize your bed with toppers and sheets that offer cooling benefits.
If you have allergies
Foam and latex are both inherently antimicrobial and resistant to dust mites and mold. If you opt for innerspring or air topped with fiberfill, be sure to encase it in an allergen-resistant cover to keep irritants at bay.
If you have back pain
Memory foam and/or latex is best for those with back pain since it molds to your body for support.
A longer warranty may not promise a certain lifespan. if you read the fine print. If the mattress is stained because you didn’t use a mattress protector, or if you don’t use a matching foundation (like a box spring) beneath the mattress, it could invalidate the warranty.
Mattresses last five to 10 years as a general rule. However, you should decide when it’s time to replace your mattress based off of other warning signs. Are you waking up sore? Is your mattress feeling lumpy? Do you sleep better on other mattresses, like at a hotel? These are all signs that it’s time to go shopping. Don’t forget to extend the life of your new pad by using a mattress protector, which can keep out keep out dust, allergens, spills, and other hazards.
Before purchasing a mattress, here are a few firmness-oriented considerations to make:
What is your mattress budget? Mattresses with low firmness ratings tend to be more expensive than those with higher firmness ratings.
What is your weight? People who weigh less than 130 pounds usually feel more comfortable on ‘Soft’ or ‘Medium’ mattresses, while those who weigh more than 230 pounds often prefer higher firmness ratings. People who fall in the middle, fittingly, tend to prefer ‘Medium Soft’ to ‘Medium Firm’ surfaces.
What is your preferred sleep position? Generally speaking, side-sleepers are more comfortable on mattresses with lower firmness ratings, while back- and stomach-sleepers prefer mattresses with higher firmness ratings.
Do you have chronic back pain or constant pressure/discomfort? If the answer is yes, then you may feel most comfortable on mattresses with mid-level firmness ratings.
Is off-gassing a major issue? People who are sensitive to strong smells may prefer firmer mattresses, since they produce less off-gassing odor compared to mattresses with lower firmness ratings.
Do you sleep hot? Mattresses with ‘Medium’ or ‘Firm’ ratings typically retain less body heat than those with ‘Soft’ ratings, and sleep cooler as a result.
Do you plan to move/rotate the mattress on your own? Mattresses with lower firmness ratings tend to be heavier (due to additional padding layers) than firmer mattresses. Additionally, less firm mattresses need to be rotated more often on average.
What type of pillows do you own? Low-loft pillows are best paired with mattresses that are less firm, while high-loft mattresses go with firmer mattresses. If you do not own pillows with the right loft level, then you may need to purchase new ones in order to feel comfortable.
Are firmness exchanges allowed? Before committing to a specific brand, be sure to review the terms of their sleep trial and mattress warranties. In some cases, you will not be able to exchange your mattress for a model with a different firmness once the initial purchase has been made.
First developed by NASA researchers in the 1960s, memory foam is designed to react to body heat and conform to a sleeper’s body, forming a cradle-shaped impression that helps align the spine and relieve pressure points. Memory foam is made from conventional polyurethane foam that has been treated with chemicals to increase its viscosity and elasticity. For this reason, memory foam is often called ‘viscoelastic foam’. Memory foam has certain advantages over other mattress types. The material is virtually silent, and, when used in mattresses, can effectively minimize motion and isolate to certain areas of the bed; these two factors can significantly reduce nighttime disruptions.
Memory foam is also light in weight compared to other mattress materials (such as latex or steel springs). However, many memory foam users complain the material retains an above-average amount of body heat, which causes the foam to sleep excessively warm or hot. By comparison, other mattress mattress materials sleep cooler.
To address the heat issue, some mattress manufacturers offer models constructed with ‘gel memory foam’ layers. This trend first gained popularity in the early 2010s. Gel memory foam layers are infused with tiny gel particles or beads. Some feature thermal gel, which is cold to the touch, to help lower the temperature of trapped body heat. Other models are infused with phase-changing gel, which transitions from a solid to a liquid when body heat is detected and essentially cools the mattress from the inside out.
Today, gel memory foam is not limited to all-foam mattresses. The material may be found in hybrids, which feature memory foam layers in the comfort system and pocketed coils in the support core. Select innerspring mattresses (which feature open coils) are also made with gel memory foam components. Some mattresses feature gel-infused latex or gel-infused conventional polyfoam, as well.
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