It can be exhausting to replace your mattress. Navigating the stores and websites, deciding between foam and springs, and figuring out the perfect mattress size and budget can make you feel like you need a sleep.
Instead of stressing, adopt these recommendations from the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Textiles Lab’s bedding experts. Our fiber scientists assess the best mattresses for every type of sleeper on a regular basis. Over the years, we’ve investigated and assessed hundreds of beds, and we’re frequently asked to share our mattress expertise by TV shows, newspapers, and other media sites. One thing to keep in mind is that there isn’t a single model that will suit everyone, so concentrate on finding the ideal mattress for you.
What to think about while buying a mattress
The most critical feature is that when you lie down, your spine remains aligned. Your sleeping position, body type, and personal preferences for feel and materials will all factor into deciding which mattress is best for you. You should also think about affordability, convenience, durability, and any sleep concerns you may have, such as whether you sleep hot, have back pain, or are awakened up by your sleeping companion. We’ll break down these topics (and more!) to assist you in making your decision.
Types of Mattresses
Most material options on the market come in a variety of hardness degrees and price points. The most common beds are memory foam and innerspring, but it all comes down to personal preference. Here’s how to choose the right mattress for you:
Foam with memory
Because memory foam mattresses adapt to your body and relieve pressure points, they provide the finest pressure relief. Users say foam beds make them feel like they’re being cradled. These mattresses are especially beneficial for side sleepers or anyone suffering from back discomfort because they help to straighten the spine by reducing tension on the shoulders and hips. They also aid motion isolation, reducing the likelihood of feeling your sleeping partner move.
Multiple layers are common, with stronger foam on the bottom for durability and support and softer foam on the top for comfort. Memory foam has the disadvantage of trapping heat more easily, though many versions now include built-in cooling systems to avoid overheating.
Latex mattresses are comparable to memory foam mattresses, however they are made from rubber trees and can be utilized in organic mattresses. Latex is also more expensive and more sturdy than memory foam, so you can anticipate it to be bouncy with less sinking in.
As you shop, you’ll discover two sorts of latex: Dunlop, which is typically denser, and Talalay, which is typically softer. You might not be able to tell the difference between these two in reality.
Steel coils are used to make these mattresses firmer and provide additional bounce. Many customers are familiar with innerspring mattresses, especially when contrasted to the boxed mattresses that have grown popular in recent years. They’re better for back and stomach sleepers who need a firmer surface to keep their spine in alignment.
When shopping for coils, keep both coil gauge and coil count in mind. The coil gauge indicates the thickness of the steel; it normally runs from 12 to 15, with a lower value indicating tougher and more durable steel. The amount of coils in a mattress is indicated by the coil count; a good model will contain at least 400 coils in a Queen size. Pocketed coils are another option, as each spring is independently wrapped (rather than webbed together) for focused support.
Hybrid mattresses combine memory foam or latex with coils so you don’t have to choose between the two. Coils provide support at the bottom, while foam provides pressure relief at the top. When you lie down on many hybrids on the market, especially those from bed-in-a-box companies, they feel quite similar to foam beds. Just keep in mind that they’ll be more expensive and more difficult to put up than all-foam options.
Adjustable beds, which are less prevalent, include air chambers that allow you to change the hardness of the mattress. They’re especially helpful for couples that have opposing tastes. They’re pricey, but people constantly tell us that the quality of sleep they get makes it well worth the investment.
Levels of Firmness
Soft, medium, medium-firm, and firm are the most common mattress descriptions. Because they accommodate a wide range of needs, medium to medium-firm beds are the most common. It’s crucial to consider both your sleeping posture and your body type while choosing your firmness level:
Position to Sleep
- Side sleepers: This is the most popular sleeping position, and it is the one that most doctors prescribe to avoid back problems. Soft to medium firmness mattresses are the greatest for side sleepers because they keep your spine upright. You can end up placing too much pressure on your hips and shoulders if it’s overly hard.
- Stomach sleepers: If you sleep on your stomach, a firmer mattress is better because you don’t want your pressure points to sink too deep in this position.
- Back sleepers should choose a medium firmness mattress. You risk not having adequate alignment if your mattress is either soft or too firm in this posture.
- Combination sleepers should choose a medium firmness mattress to support their varied positions while sleeping.
Type of Body
- Heavy sleepers should choose a firmer mattress because their weight puts additional strain on the bed. Too much pressure on the bed might cause it to sink in, jeopardizing spine alignment and resulting in back pain. Some of the best-selling mattress brands also make models for those who weigh more than 250 pounds.
- Sleepers that are light on their feet: Because they aren’t placing as much weight on the bed, smaller frames are better suited to a softer mattress. If the bed is overly firm, it will not sink in sufficiently to ease joint pressure.
When choosing on the firmness level that’s right for you, consider your sleeping posture as well as your weight. If you’re a light stomach sleeper, for example, a medium hardness is a good compromise between soft and firm.
Another note on firmness: Mattresses are sometimes described on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. When shopping, these ratings can help you compare hardness levels, but don’t become too fixated on the specific number. Our mattress testers are frequently asked to estimate firmness on a 1-10 scale, and their responses frequently differ from what the brand states.
When shopping for a mattress, think about your personal demands in addition to the type and firmness level. Here are some of the most prevalent problems and what to watch for:
A cooling mattress might assist you in maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout the night, especially if you sleep hot. While numerous factors, such as physical problems and summer heat, can contribute to night sweats, the correct bed can assist ease hot sleeping.
Just keep in mind that not all cooling materials are created equal, and memory foam is notorious for trapping heat. When shopping, look for the following types of cooling features:
- Embedded metal particles (such as copper), gel, and phase-change technology are frequently utilized in foam beds to take heat away from the body. Metal and gel can assist avoid overheating, but in practice, their cooling benefits are less visible. Because phase-change technology can store and release heat, it’s ideal for all-night temperature control.
- Materials that are cool to the touch: Cooling coverings with an instant chilling effect are occasionally seen. These absorb heat right away, but they won’t keep you cool all night.
- Innersprings and some hybrids (with more coils than foam) have a more breathable design than all-foam mattresses.
- Electric cooling: There are plug-in solutions that cool the bed with water or air. These are great for keeping your mattress cool all night, but they require more upkeep and require additional components, such as a cooling unit next to your bed.
A mattress with at least some foam for pressure relief and a medium firmness level for support and spine alignment will be ideal for someone with back discomfort. We spoke with back pain specialists, who said that while there is definitely an underlying issue causing the pain, finding the correct mattress is one step toward relief. According to studies, the correct mattress can reduce discomfort, stiffness, and poor sleep quality by 50-60%.
Anyone who desires an organic mattress composed of natural materials should make sure the entire mattress, not just one component, adheres to strict organic requirements. When a company uses an organic cover and calls it an organic mattress, it can be considered greenwashing because it appears to be more eco-friendly than it is. Look for latex or innerspring mattresses instead of memory foam mattresses. Verify that the bed is certified organic by a reputable organization, such as:
- The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) establishes a standard for fabrics (such as cotton and wool) that ensures that the entire production process, rather than simply the fiber’s growth, adheres to tight guidelines. The GOTS certification is frequently misunderstood in the bedding industry, but you may check a specific brand in the GOTS database.
- The Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) is similar to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) in that it establishes criteria for the entire production process, but it only applies to the latex component.
Other certifications, including as OEKO-TEX, GREENGUARD, and CertiPUR-US, may be used for mattresses with green claims. These indicate that the mattresses have been evaluated for dangerous amounts of hazardous substances, but they do not imply that the mattresses are organic or natural.
Features of Construction
Certain details regarding the bed’s construction may not come to mind when you’re shopping, but they can have a significant impact on how happy you are with your purchase. If any of these topics are significant to you, search for the following:
- If you or your sleeping partner moves around a lot at night, a mattress that doesn’t let you feel it is excellent for both of you to sleep well. Innerspring beds cancel motion better than foam beds, and we’ve discovered that luxury foam beds do the best job.
- Modular firmness: A split bed with interchangeable firmness levels is a terrific alternative for sleeping partners with various tastes, especially if you prefer a regular mattress to an adjustable mattress. Furthermore, these beds are simple to disassemble for transport and to replace your firmness level over time. Both Naturepedic and Bedgear provide modular mattresses that received high marks in our tests.
- Mattress owners frequently complain that their beds sink in at the sides. This can be inconvenient if you sleep on the edge, but it primarily affects your ability to sit on the side of your bed. Edge support is frequently lacking in low-cost beds and all-foam mattresses that come in a box.
- Mattress height: A mattress with more layers that is taller feels more comfy to sleep on. However, a shorter mattress (about 10 inches) may be less expensive, easier to set up, and less difficult to put on your fitted sheet.