Mattress stores and online mattress catalogs can feel like a bit of a dart throw in finding the correct mattress for your sleeping style, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some quick and easy guidelines you can use when you’re choosing a mattress. Here are some things you should know and some things you can look for when you choose your next mattress.
Mattresses, if we exclude the fringe types like waterbeds and airbeds, come primarily in three different types. These are full foam, innerspring, and hybrid. Understanding these types is important for choosing the right mattress based on your sleep style.
Foam mattresses are pure foam, made up of either a solid foam slab or layers of foam of different density and firmness and might incorporate memory foam to provide a comfortable sleeping platform. They’re usually more supportive by contouring more to your body and providing better pressure relief than other types. They also have the benefit of being rather zonal, which makes them great for people who have a partner who moves around a lot or sleeps restlessly.
Innerspring mattresses rely on coils to provide a comfortable night’s sleep. They’re popular thanks to their lower pricing but offer less support and pressure relief than other mattress types.
Hybrid mattresses take the best of both foam and innerspring mattresses and create a mattress with an innerspring core and a foam surface and comfort system. They are constructed in many different ways, but the core principle is the same. In general, a hybrid mattress, just like the construction, can be suitable for all the different sleep styles too, depending on their exact construction.
Before we look at the different sleep styles, let’s take a quick look at the adjustable bed. These specially designed electrically adjustable bed frames and mattresses can be fully customized to fit your specific profile and head, neck, and shoulders. This has an added benefit over a standard bed because you can target areas for pressure relief and adjust your sleeping surface to a more natural position. The best adjustable bed to get depends largely on your sleeping style and body type.
For the back sleeper
When you sleep on your back, the lower back sinks further into the mattress than the upper and middle back, and thus creates something of a U shape, which can add pressure to the lower back. Because most of the pressure is going to the lower back, a mattress right in the middle between soft and firm is better for you. Look for a medium-firm or firm mattress that offers moderate contouring for the best results.
For the side sleeper
The sharpest pressure points are created by those who sleep on their sides and most notably around the shoulders and hips. You’ll find that a medium firmness mattress or even a softer mattress will work the best for you because the pressure relief on those pressure points is greater.
For the front sleeper
People who sleep on their stomach, just like those who sleep on their back, put most of their pressure onto their lower back, right in the lumbar region. Firm mattresses shine here, preventing that U shape and providing a level of comfort that isn’t suffocating like they might feel on a softer mattress.
Some people are restless when they sleep, and they continually change their sleeping position throughout the night. This makes it hard to choose a mattress, but experts recommend that people who don’t stick with one sleep position are best buying a medium-firm hybrid mattress that offers a reasonable level of support.
Steer clear of memory foam mattresses, as these adapt to suit your sleeping position and it will be harder to move around.
Do you get really hot at night? This can be a problem for menopausal women, where night sweats ruin sleep. The last thing you need if you are prone to getting really hot at night is a memory foam mattress. Memory foam may be comfortable, but it doesn’t dissipate heat as well as other mattresses. Sleeping on a foam mattress when you are suffering from hot flashes and night sweats will not be a comfortable and restful experience.
Obese people need extra support from their mattresses. A cheap mattress will not provide this. Instead, look for a taller mattress, especially if you prefer a memory foam mattress. You may find it better to invest in a hybrid mattress that combines a sprung core with a memory foam layer, as this will be a great combination of comfort and durability. If your current mattress is not offering the support you need, your sleep will be impacted.
Tall people, i.e., anyone well over 6 feet, need a larger than average mattress. Most standard full mattresses are only 6 feet 3 inches long, which isn’t much use for someone taller. If you are tall, look for a Queen or King-size mattress, which is typically 6 feet 8 inches long. For the exceptionally tall person, upgrade to a California King mattress; at 7 feet long, this is enough for most people.
Choosing the right mattress for your sleep style will give you a much better night’s sleep and will help you long term from suffering from the pains of those pressure points you create depending on how you sleep. Spend some time researching different mattress constructions and firmness and find one that will suit you the best.