Sleep is an important commodity in our everyday lives, and it has a significant impact on our health. We all spend about 1/3 of our lives lying either on our back, stomach or side asleep and the mattress we sleep on has an important influence on our sleep quality, then why not get the best mattress out there for you?
Choosing the right mattress for you is not always easy since mattresses come in many shapes and forms. The purpose of my guide is to help you find your dream mattress based on your sleeping habits. A quality mattress can be very expensive, but if you buy the right one for you, it will defiantly be worth your investment and last you many years.
Until recently, I used to sleep on a random cheap mattress from Ikea which was starting to cause me some back pains and poor sleep quality. Since I am a newly graduated physiotherapist, I know the importance of a good mattress, and now that I could afford to invest in a proper one I decided to do some research and find the perfect mattress for myself. Long, story short I found and bought the right one for me, although it was very expensive it is worth every penny, my back pains are almost gone, and I feel much more energized after a nights sleep.
I have created this mattress buying guide to share my knowledge and help you find the right mattress. I intend to teach you all the important stuff you need to know, so you can go out there and find the best mattress for you. I am currently working to finish my mattress recommendations which will be ready before the 3 of October. Without any further ado, let’s get started.
The different types of mattresses
So what kind of mattresses are out there you may ask;
1. Foam Mattress
Foam mattresses are designed using various weights and densities of petrochemical-based flexible polyurethane foam or latex rubber foams. The mattresses are fabricated and designed with the aim of providing support to the very edge of the bed. This is an intrinsic property for the restless sleeper, who tends to shift positions throughout the night.
Memory foam Mattress
- Interestingly these materials were developed for NASA in the 70s in order to improve seat cushioning for airline pilots and passengers but soon found applications in the commercial market. These are so-called ‘Memory foam’ due to the viscoelastic property of these mattresses which allows the dispersion of one’s weight throughout the bed. This type of mattress is ideally suited for those suffering from aching joints and morning stiffness, as well as those who tend to be a restless sleeper; which is attributed to the mattress contouring closely to the shape of the sleeper allowing for a more relaxed and deep sleep. In addition, memory foam mattresses can retain body temperature and with current innovations such as “open-cell” and gel-infused memory foams which allows for better temperature stabilization and comfort.
Latex Foam Mattress
- Latex mattresses were introduced to consumers in the 1960’s, however, due to their high cost of production, these mattresses received little attention. Consequently due to latest advances in technology latex mattress production is more cost efficient and readily available. A key advantage of latex mattresses is that it is a more durable material and offers support without placing excess pressure on the hips, shoulders or other vital pressure points while supporting proper spinal alignment. Latex mattresses provide similar conforming qualities found in memory foam, however unlike memory foam they do not retain temperature thus providing for a cooler sleeping surface. When on the market for Latex mattresses keywords such as Talalay and Dunlop stand out, which in general refers to the manufacturing process of the latex itself. Both processes lead to a variation of end product where Dunlop produces denser latex foam and thus more firm to the feel. Talalay, on the other hand, produces a less dense and hence lighter latex foam(due to more pockets of air in the foam).
2. Innerspring Mattress
These types of mattresses have dominated the American bedroom since the 1930s providing consistent comfort and support across the entire body. Manufacturers use a variety of steel coil support systems, such as springs connected into a single unit-so called Bonnell coils, or individually wrapped pocketed coils; which are then covered by various types of padding or upholstery materials that provide an extra layer of comfort. Furthermore, spring mattress allows easy ventilation of our body heat meaning a cooler temperature is maintained during sleep.
- Bonnell coil mattresses are more common due to their lower manufacturing costs. These mattresses, however, are less optimal in maintaining body curvature while sleeping and the cheaper design leads to a shorter lifespan.
- Pocketed coiled mattresses are the more ideal choice of innerspring mattresses. Unlike the Bonnell coil mattresses that are based on a single steel assembly unit in order to provide even support across your entire body, pocketed coil designs are comprised of several individual springs encased in their own ‘pocket’ of fabric. This design blueprint enables an isolated support system to every square inch of your body. So what does this mean for your sleep? The pocketed coil system adapts to pressure points on your body resulting in comfort during sleep. It also eliminates motion transfer thereby allowing for an undisturbed sleep.
3. Hybrid Mattress
As the name suggests, hybrid mattresses represent the infusion of two or more different types of support systems, for instance, memory foams with an advanced innerspring system. The pocketed coil systems used in hybrid mattresses significantly reduces the motion transfer resultant from tossing and turning. Furthermore the multiple layers of memory foam aid in retaining proper spinal alignment thereby relieving pressure. These hybrid systems also help in maintaining a constant body temperature by diffusing heat away from the body. These hybrid systems offer the best of both worlds resulting in a more comfortable sleep. Hybrid mattresses, in addition, are cheaper than memory foam mattresses and perform better than low-end memory foam mattresses making them an ideal candidate for the budget conscious shopper.
4. Air Mattress
An air mattress uses an adjustable air chamber as the support system and in turn, allows the user to adjust the firmness to the desired setting. Many full-size or larger air mattresses have duel chambers so that it is possible to adjust the firmness of each chamber separately. High-quality air beds last longer than innerspring mattresses, and may even outlast the pump, which can easily be replaced at a minimal cost. This also prevents sagging, which breaks down a foam or spring mattress over time. The sag can easily be fixed, by increasing the amount of air in the bed. Air mattresses are made from a material that is odor-free and cost less than a foam or spring mattress. On the downside, air mattresses tend to lose some air overnight.
5. Water Mattress
For these types of mattresses, a water chamber as the support system. There are two types of water mattresses: A hard-sided water mattress which has a water chamber inside a rectangular wooden frame and a soft-sided water mattress which has a water chamber inside a rectangular frame of rigid foam, enclosed inside a fabric casing. The water chamber is covered by padding or upholstery materials, which can include foams and fiber. One of the main advantages of a waterbed is its comfort level. Because the mattress is filled with water, it conforms to your body. A water-filled mattress offers no resistance either, so pressure on the joints is decreased.
Sleeping position and Mattress
Scouring through the web may not be the most idyllic method in finding your ideal mattress. Far more beneficial is an understanding of how mattress structure, material, and firmness can be specifically tailored to best suit your sleeping posture. So what is the best mattress for you? And how can the different types of mattresses best suite your sleep?
Additionally, it is also important to understand the different pressure points associated with your sleeping posture. This is the case as these pressure points deviate with sleeping position and simultaneously change throughout the night. So what is the best compromise for sleep quality and comfort? Ideally, a mattress that finds an intermediate between support and softness is ideal to avoid any pain on the various pressure points.
- Hybrid mattresses are great for side sleepers, in that the best qualities of both worlds are offered therein. These hybrid mattresses provide the traditional support and comfort of innersprings, with the added benefit of pressure relieving top layer. The result is an optimum comfort throughout the night ensuring the best night’s sleep.
- Gel mattresses are also a recommendation as it also contours to your body’s shape and are made with a unique support layer that provides a soft but very durable feel.
For Back Sleepers
- Sleeping on your back is beneficial for your spine’s alignment as it remains neutral and not contorted. An important region that should be paid attention to is the recessed space in the lumbar area. The gap created here should be supported to prevent back pain and provide for a good night’s sleep. Therefore as a back sleeper, it’s essential that your mattress provides a strong core support system to maintain optimal spinal alignment.
- Best recommended mattresses are pocket spring mattresses. These contain individual springs cushioned in their own pockets of material with filling to provide support across the body. More importantly, the individuals’ weight is distributed evenly across the entire surface. These qualities ensure the best comfort throughout the night. In retrospect, an additional thin top layer is also recommended, though not as thick as that recommended for side sleepers.
For Stomach Sleepers
- Sleeping on the stomach requires more support due to the pressure exerted on various points on your body as well as the greater risk of misaligning the spine. It is therefore essential that the mattress of choice should be firm to provide more support and maintenance of the spinal cords natural alignment. A firmer mattress will also prevent the body from sinking into the mattress and prevent overarching of the spine.
- Additionally, as for back sleepers, the ideal choice of mattress should provide both resistance and comfort. The best candidates for these qualities are mattresses infused with pocket springs that can evenly distribute the individuals’ weight over a greater surface area. With the necessary support to the pressure points supported by the individual springs and an additional comfort provided by the top memory foam or latex foam layers.