It is extremely important to know how to choose a mattress that will be comfortable for single sleepers or bed partners for many years. With around one third of our lives spent in bed, get it wrong and it will add up to many hours of discomfort.
Finding the best mattress for you is essential to your health and well-being, as it can naturally help you sleep better.
Your bedroom ideas will reflect your sense of style, and so will your bed ideas, but choosing a mattress is all about creating adequate support during sleep, keeping sleepers at the right temperature, and, if there are two people in the bed , preventing the rolling together that can disturb slumber.
Here we provide the details on how to choose a mattress that will meet all your requirements for a good night’s sleep.
How to choose a mattress
Choosing a mattress can seem confusing. There are many different types on offer, and it can be difficult to know which will suit you and any co-sleeper. To make the correct choice between them, it’s important to know where to start, as Susan Miller, a lead researcher and certified sleep technician at SleepMattressHQ (opens in new tab)explain.
“One must look at and understand the three most important criteria, which are sleeping position, body weight and body shape. Body shape is crucial along with other factors, as firmness needs can vary with body shape if all other parameters are the same. For example, if you are a side sleeper with heavy shoulders, you will need a slightly softer mattress.’
Also determine the budget. “$1,500 to $2,000 is average for a queen-size bed,” says certified sleep science coach Bridget Chapman, senior editor and chief mattress reviewer at Sleepopolis (opens in new tab).
This is how to choose a mattress.
Both the size of the mattress and the size of the sofa bed are of crucial importance in the choice.
“When sizing your mattress, consider the amount of space you have, your size, and whether or not you’re sleeping with a partner,” says Marten Carlson, a certified sleep science coach and lead reviewer at Mattress Clarity (opens in new tab).
A twin size mattress is typically suitable for children, teenagers or smaller adults, while a twin XL may be a better option for adults working with a smaller space. A full size mattress typically works well for someone sleeping alone, or for couples who are smaller in stature.
A queen size mattress will be comfortable for most couples, and people who share their bed with their children will typically be comfortable in a king size bed. Then there is the California king which is taller than a standard king. This mattress works well for people who are too tall for a standard king size bed. Remember that the price of your mattress will increase with its size.’
Think about sleeping position
Think about the sleeping position(s) in which you normally sleep to guide your choice of mattress in terms of its firmness. “Sleep position is extremely important when purchasing a mattress,” explains certified sleep science coach Bridget Chapman.
‘The right firmness level to choose is best determined by your primary sleeping position. Do you sleep on your back, side, stomach, or maybe a combination thereof? Firmness level is important to ensure comfort, support and correct spinal alignment.
‘For example, back sleepers should typically opt for a mattress with a medium-firm feel. Side sleepers need a mattress that helps with pressure relief for their shoulders and hips, so a softer mattress that contours to the body is generally most ideal.
‘On the other hand, stomach sleepers should choose a firm mattress to support and lift the hips to keep them in line with the spine.
‘Finally, for combination sleepers, I recommend a medium-firm mattress that is also responsive, so it can provide comfort for the stomach, side and back, while also being easy to switch sleeping positions.’
Factor in individual factors
There are other individual factors that can influence the decision when choosing a mattress.
“If you’re a hot sleeper, you might want to consider a cooling mattress to keep you comfortable at night,” says certified sleep science coach Marten Carlson. ‘Cooling mattresses will typically contain coils that allow airflow or gel designed to dissipate heat.
“Those with sleep apnea, chronic pain or other health issues, as well as a significant mattress budget, may want to consider an adjustable mattress that allows them to adjust the height of their head and feet to relieve snoring or pain.
‘If you sleep with a partner, an adjustable mattress can also allow you to change the firmness level of your side of the bed. It mitigates the issue of giving up your comfort preferences to compromise with your partner. If an adjustable mattress isn’t in your budget, look for a mattress that transfers movement well, so you and your partner don’t disturb each other at night.
“Edge support is another important factor for couples who share a bed, as a mattress with good edge support won’t make you feel like you’re sliding off the side.”
Is it better to sleep on a hard mattress or a soft one?
One of the biggest mattress shopping mistakes is assuming that everyone in your family will enjoy the same type of mattress, and choosing one without considering which pillow is best for each individual sleeper. But whether it is better to sleep on a hard mattress or a soft one depends on your usual sleeping position.
“For stomach sleepers, mattresses on the firmer side will usually be more comfortable and supportive,” explains Marten Carlson, a certified sleep science coach and lead reviewer at Mattress Clarity (opens in new tab).
‘Side sleepers have more pressure on their shoulders, hips and knees, so they will want a mattress that offers more pressure relief and contours, such as a memory foam mattress.
‘Back sleepers are generally comfortable with a mattress that is of average firmness, around a 6.5 to 7 on a 10-point scale, but this can depend on comfort level and the amount of support needed to support the spine. keeping neutral alignment.
‘There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to your mattress’s firmness level. Instead, make sure your mattress keeps your neck, back and hips in neutral alignment and doesn’t put too much pressure on your joints.’
Keep in mind that perceptions of the firmness of a mattress are individual. “A mattress will typically feel firmer for someone who is lighter in weight than someone who is heavier in weight,” says certified sleep science coach Bridget Chapman, senior editor and chief mattress reviewer at Sleepopolis (opens in new tab). “Heavier sleepers, weighing more than 250 pounds, need extra support, so I usually recommend a bed designed for them or one with springs.”
What type of mattress is the most comfortable?
Which type of mattress will be most comfortable depends on factors such as typical sleeping position – back, side, stomach – the size of the sleeper(s) and mattress size, and other personal factors.
Memory foam mattresses are a popular choice, and can be a good option for side sleepers. “A memory foam mattress contours and conforms to your body shape, allowing you to sink in just right and feel awake,” says Karen Yu of Zinus (opens in new tab). However, some people find them too hot.
Latex is an alternative foam choice, and will suit those who prefer a firm feel. However, they tend to be more expensive than memory foam.
Spring mattresses can fit side, stomach or back sleepers. Look for pocket coils, aka pocket springs if movement transfer from one sleeper to another will cause disturbance.