Did you know that we can spend up to a third of our lives sleeping? This fact may come as a surprise to you – especially as you groggily sip on your morning coffee, desperately in need of some energy… Another fun fact; during the time that we make the most of our slumber, our body is deep at work, healing our heart and blood vessels. As you can imagine, the importance of a good night’s sleep is as imperative as having a good diet to nourish a healthy mind and body. This all starts with finding the right mattress, one that considers both your needs and your preferences.
There are many different qualities to be considered, from the level of firmness to the type of material used – when it comes to finding your perfect fit, where to even start? Here’s the most important things to think about when you’re choosing your next mattress…
How to Find the Right Mattress For You
What position do you sleep in?
Whether you embrace the foetal position or simply lay flat on your back – the position you choose to sleep in is actually more important than you realise.
If you’re a side sleeper, your pressure points are located in your shoulders and hips. So, you should look to a medium-soft to medium-firm mattress for the optimum level of support. Otherwise, a mattress that is too soft can create a misalignment of your vertebras (scientific, but as you can probably guess – it’s not a good thing). However – if it’s too firm, the pressure points and your spine won’t be aligned which may cause back pain in the long term. Who knew there was so much to think about?
If you prefer sleeping on your back, unlike side sleepers, your pressure points are concentrated on your lower back, so a medium-firm to firm mattress is your best bet. If you choose a mattress that is too soft, your torso will end up slightly sinking, consequently creating a strain in your lower back. However, if it’s too firm, it won’t adjust to the curve of your lower back.
If you sleep on your stomach, where possible, you’ll want to avoid sinking into the mattress. The remedy? A firm mattress.
Finally, if you’re a combination sleeper, (meaning that you sleep in a range of different positions during the night), try to see which position you spend the most time in and choose your mattress’s firmness based on that. If there’s no primary position, a responsive medium-firm mattress (depending on your body type) is your best bet. Wondering what a responsive mattress is exactly? It’s a mattress that will adjust itself to your movement throughout the night. Innerspring and latex mattress are great responsive mattresses.
It also depends on your body type
As well as sleeping position, your weight also plays a part when it comes to choosing the correct mattress for you.
For lighter profiles – those who weigh under 130 lbs (60 kg), a soft mattress is best as the body won’t sink as much during the night, and you should avoid an innerspring mattress to ensure you’re getting the most comfort.
People between 130 and 230 lbs (60 and 100 kg) will prefer a medium to medium-firm mattress. There’s some flexibility in this, as you can choose the right one for you dependent on your sleeping position.
For those who are over 230 lbs (100 kg), heavier parts of the body will tend to sink further into the mattress. This means side sleepers will want a medium-firm option, and stomach sleepers will feel more comfortable on a firm one.
The best type of mattresses
Memory foam Mattress
Memory foam mattresses use the heat of your body to mould into your shape. Therefore, every night, all your pressure points are supported, meaning your neck, spine and hips are perfectly aligned.
As well as this, memory foam cuts down motion transfer – meaning that movements on one side of the bed won’t be affected from the other side. So, if you have a restless partner, your sleep will no longer be disturbed by their constant tossing and turning. Pure, unadulterated perfection.
It might take a few weeks for you and your new mattress to become a perfect fit. So, worry not if initially your mattress feels a bit too firm, after a few nights’ sleep it’ll mould perfectly to your form.
Hybrid mattresses combine comfort layers (either latex, memory foam or even both) and coils for extra support. Consequently, this type of mattress can be on the more expensive side, but it’s a worthy investment as it’ll last much longer.
It’s the best option for heavier body types, as you’ll be less likely to sink in, as you would on a memory foam mattress, mainly because of the coils in the lower part of the mattress. Although it’s very breathable and has a great level of support for any type of sleeper, it’s not as good as other models when it comes to handling motion transfer.
Prefer a more eco-friendly option? Look to latex, made from rubber trees and all-natural. The more rubber trees we plant, the more oxygen we have. Latex mattresses are not only good for creating fresh air, but they’re also hypoallergenic – a true win-win.
Latex mattresses respond to weight, body shape, and movements without using the heat of your body, instead by using the elasticity of the latex. Therefore, you’ll enjoy a much cooler night’s sleep, and feel the benefits of being able to move around more compared to memory foam mattresses.
If you can’t replace your mattress, yet your body needs extra support after many sleepless nights, you can always opt for a mattress topper. Whilst it won’t be quite as effective as buying a new mattress, it’s still an easy alternative for a healthier and restful night.
The same elements as buying a new mattress apply when choosing a topper: sleeping position, body shape, your preferred firmness, and the type of material used.
Finally, buying a mattress – any type – is an investment. In general, it is advised that we replace our mattress every 6 to 8 years, however do keep in mind that it depends on quality and material. For instance, a latex mattress or memory foam needs to be replaced only every 10 to 15-20 years, whereas an innerspring mattress needs to be replaced every seven or eight years.
Words: Morgane Roos-Carreira