Choosing The Right Mattress For You

Alex Mcil

You’ve had your mattress for several years, but you aren’t sure if it needs replacing yet.

Often a scenario many find themselves in! However, even in the event when it’s clear your mattress needs replacing, you still have the difficult task of deciding which new one you should get.

In this guide I point you in the right direction by going through the following factors that WILL help you determine what mattress suits your needs.

We will be addressing the following questions:

  • Does your existing mattress need replacing?
  • Why it matters what “type” of sleeper you are?
  • How mattress firmness works?
  • How weight plays a factor?
  • What mattress type suits you?

Does Your Existing Mattress Need Replacing?

It’s possible that your mattress needs replacing and you don’t even know it. Firmness may start to deteriorate without realizing it as the breaking down of the mattress happens at a slow pace.

As a general rule, after 9-10 years it’s likely time to change that mattress, but that figure isn’t set in stone and depends on the ‘type’ of mattress you have, and if you’ve take good care of it. By cleaning your mattress thoroughly every 3 to 6 months, it’ll help maintain and extend its life expectancy.

On that note, let’s take a look at the average life span of a mattress, depending on what material they are made from:

* Notice, the average life expectancy is about 10 years!

Remember, these figures are good bench marks, but, more often than not, you can pay close attention to what your body is telling you.

Do you find it hard to fall asleep as you’re unable to find a comfortable position? Have you started to acquire joint pains?

Then, it’s likely time to get a new bed!

Your Sleeping Position & The Role Of Firmness

Tossing and turning is common amongst us, but we usually favor one position over the rest (for example, I am a side sleeper).

Your position type is one of the main factors for determining the type of mattress you need (I’ve got a nice, simple explanation here on how sleeping positions may promote back and joint pain when sleeping on the wrong mattress).

The reason this is important is because mattresses are specifically designed for different kind of sleepers. There is no one-fits-all solution, so choose carefully!

Stomach sleepers

This type of sleeper responds better to a firmer mattress. The reason being, a firmer mattress provides more support and prevents the stomach from sinking into the mattress too much. Visualize your stomach sinking in and your back arching as a result.

Back sleepers

Medium firm mattresses suit back sleepers as a whole as it offers support to the back. Most people have a curvature on their lower back and allowing the upper back to sink into the mattress, this means the lower back contacts the mattress which offers support as a result.

Side sleepers

With less body surface area contacting the mattress, a softer mattress is best suited. A hard surface would dig into the shoulder, hip and knee causing discomfort. A medium mattress would do a better job, but might not be soft enough to relieve the discomfort entirely. The shoulder, hip and knee need to sink deep enough so the rest of the body is supported by the mattress (distributing your weight more evenly across your body)

* Firmness scale Vs sleeping position

What Role Weight Plays

So far our guide provides a good ball park on how to pick the right mattress, however, sometimes a new factor can be introduced to the equation that throws the whole thing out of whack.

So far we’ve discussed the firmness required for the ‘type’ of sleeper you are and concluded the following:

  • Stomach sleeper = firm mattress
  • Back sleeper = medium mattress
  • Side sleeper = soft mattress

However, let’s take the example of a side sleeper who would ordinarily fall into the category of needing a soft mattress. If this individual happens to be considerably heavy, then the soft option might promote too much of a sinking effect, and a medium mattress would than be a better option.

What Types Of Mattress Are On The Market?

Exploring the most important factors when shopping for a mattress is paramount, however, there is one last thing to consider… and that’s the type of mattress.

With different ‘types’ of mattresses coming out on the market, this provides more options and solutions to the public. However, at the same time, it brings more confusion as it gets trickier to decide what best suits your needs.

Let’s first take a look at the most popular options that are on the market today!

Memory foam

Many built from memory foam, this material is know for hugging the contours of your body (the one you see on TV that bounces back in place after weight is applied to it).

This responsive, contour hugging material is exactly what makes it pressure relieving at vulnerable areas of the body such as joints and lower back

Potential issue: Memory foam properties however absorbs body heat easily (especially when it hugs your body). If you naturally sleep cool, this option is a good choice, however, hot sleepers will find this problematic.

That’s not to say all memory foams sleep hot, as manufacturers have found ways to combat this problem by using added materials or channelling grooves to dissipate heat.

Latex

Think of latex as similar to rubber. It’s more responsive and returns to its original shape quicker.

Some latex mattress products are synthetic which are manufactured using petrochemicals, but there are companies out there using natural latex compound extracted from the rubber tree (a good environmentally friendly options for those concerned about our planet).

Unlike memory foam, latex is naturally cooling, making a material that does not sleep too hot. 

Traditional innerspring

The limitation to innerspring mattresses is that traditionally they are limited with no added layers above the spring coils, making support adjustments limited.

This bare-bone design has been fading in popularity but replaced with the addition of multiple layers above the coils designed to accommodate a multitude of sleeper types.

One advantage is the springs are bouncy, which in turn allows the sleeper to change position with little effort. This system too retains very little heat providing a cooler sleep.

Editor’s Closing Thoughts

A guide can only point you in the correct direction, and if anything, assist with narrowing down your options up to a certain point.

After this, it’s a case of physically going into the shops and trying out the mattresses for yourself.

However, even then, you’re never going to know until you sleep on the mattress regularly to give the body time to adjust to it… that’s why a mattress with a money guarantee is recommended.