If you wake up in the morning in pain or still tired or if your mattress looks lumpy and saggy, you may be in need of a new mattress. You typically need to replace your mattress every 5 years and it’s worth keeping up with since adequate sleep impacts your health in tremendous ways. Lack of sleep weakens your body’s natural defenses and can lead to many serious diseases, including heart attack and stroke. Here are a few simple tips you can use the next time you go shopping for a new mattress.
Get to Know the Three Mattress Types
Contemporary mattresses come in one of three main types: inner spring, memory foam and adjustable air. All three have their own unique pros and cons; just because a particular type is popular doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you and your spouse. Each type is made of very different materials and in the case of memory foam, memory foam toppers are widely available should you need one, adding to their usefulness.
Because of their firmness, inner spring mattresses may be easier to get in and out of.
Inner spring mattresses have improved greatly since the ‘80s and ‘90s when the springs would poke holes through the mattress after a few years. Depending on the size, you will ideally need a mattress with 300 to 450 coils. In addition, spring mattresses may be topped with and additional pillow top to provide even more comfort. Memory foam mattresses have steadily grown in popularity because of how well they conform to your body’s unique shape. After a few moments, the memory foam conforms to your shape, providing the support you need without hitting on sensitive pressure points. Be forewarned, however, that memory foam mattresses are heavy, so plan ahead if you plan on bringing it home yourself. Adjustable air mattresses are great for couples who don’t agree on how firm or soft a bed should be since they can be adjusted independently. Air beds have a long history in the medical field as the bed of choice for patients with spinal cord injuries. The ability to adjust how soft or firm the air mattress is reduces pressure on the spine and prevents skin breakdown in patients who are unable to move.
Memory Foam versus Inner Spring versus Adjustable Air
The type of mattress you buy can be just as important as the brand, if not more so. In general terms, adjustable air mattresses are the most customizable, inner spring mattresses are usually the most affordable and memory foam mattresses conform to your shape the best. If possible, try out all three types in the store while you’re there to see how they feel for yourself. Remember that your bed is a long-term investment, as well.
Firmer Doesn’t Mean Better
One common myth is that the firmer the mattress, the better it is for your back, but this isn’t always true. Depending on how back your back is, you may not need as much firmness as you think. In addition, many people mistake firmness for support but, once again, every person is different. This is equally true with pillow-top mattresses; a mattress that’s too soft can be just as harmful. The position you sleep in can also affect how soft or firm your mattress needs to be. Back sleepers will likely be fine with any of the three mattress kinds, side sleepers fare well on both memory foam and inner spring mattresses and therefore need a bit more firmness, while stomach sleepers seem to obtain more comfort on adjustable air mattresses and need softer mattresses.
Take Your Time
If you are buying a mattress from a store that lets you lie on it before you buy it, take your time and make sure the mattress is actually comfortable. Don’t be afraid to spend at least 5 minutes lying on the bed, more if you want to try out sleeping on your sides, your back, or whatever position you normally sleep in. Also be sure to check out the store’s return policy; the last thing you want to do is have to return something so difficult and costly to transport. Many stores require that the bed still be clean and sanitary before you return it, and others offer a free trial period, as long as 100 nights with some companies, so you can get an adequate feel for the new bed and return it if you dislike it. Just be aware that some manufacturers will charge a delivery fee both when you receive the bed and if you choose to return it.
Don’t Buy a Name
Don’t make the mistake of buying a mattress just because it belongs to a certain brand. Everyone is different, so focus more on buying something that both you and your spouse are comfortable sleeping in. If you legitimately like a mattress from a specific brand, that’s perfectly fine. Just don’t make the brand name your only deciding factor. Sometimes off-brands can be just as good as the big guys, so just keep an open mind.
Do Your Homework
Before you commit to a particular mattress, do your research. Research the brand and ask your friends and family if they have any experience with the type of mattress you plan to buy. Also find out if your bed requires special bedding; some adjustable air mattresses require this if each side moves independently, for example. If possible, read some reviews about your bed and see what advice other customers have to offer as far as care and maintenance. This can go a long way toward keeping your bed enjoyable and comfortable for years to come.
Some Final Words
Ultimately, your decision in which bed to choose should rest on how comfortable you and your spouse are in your new bed. It may seem like obvious advice, but people tend to get wrapped up in specific brands, certain materials or certain bed types. Your body is unique, so it will pay off to be thorough when choosing your new mattress. After all, you are making an investment in your health and well-being for the next five years. Be sure to take all of your and your spouse’s unique circumstances into account and don’t be swayed by popular opinion unless you legitimately feel that a particular mattress is, in fact, the best option for you. It’s your bed, and you will be the one sleeping on it.