It’s one of the biggest purchases you’ll make. Here’s how to buy a new mattress that’s perfect for you
By Diane Small
It’s one of the biggest pieces of furniture in your house, and one that you should have for at least a decade. So whether you’re buying a new mattress for a new bed frame or you want to switch out the existing mattress you have, finding the best mattress for you is a big decision.
The right mattress can also do wonders for helping you to get a good night’s sleep, improving your physical and mental health, and preventing aches and pains.
There are a few important factors to consider when learning how to buy a new mattress. Read on for our buying guide to see what you need to look out for. And if you’re looking for the healthiest way to sleep, check out our writeup on organic mattresses, too!
What To Check When Buying A New Mattress
1. Firmness & Sleep Position
You might have heard that a firm mattress is better for everybody, but this isn’t always the case. The firmness you need will depend on a few different factors. One of those is sleep position.
Sleep positions can be grouped into three main categories: back sleepers, side sleepers, and front sleepers. Knowing which kind you are is important when learning how to buy a new mattress.
Side sleepers usually require a softer base, like a memory foam mattress. Their spine is naturally in the correct position due to lying on their side, and having a mattress that provides comfort is of greater importance.
Back sleepers are better off with a medium-firm or firm mattress. A soft mattress will not support the spine enough when you are sleeping on your back, which can cause it to sink out of alignment and lead to back pain. A firmer mattress supports the spine in its optimal neutral position.
Front sleepers need a firm mattress. Sinking in when lying on your front can put pressure on your stomach and lead to acid reflux and it can also push your spine out of alignment.
If you’re overweight, you should also opt for a firm mattress. These are also better if you suffer from chronic pain, as it will relieve pressure on your joints.
2. Kinds Of Mattresses
There are several different kinds of mattresses you should know about. These are:
a) Open spring systems
This is the more budget-friendly version of an innerspring mattress. The coils are created using one long piece of metal wire that has been coiled into springs that are spaced out evenly inside the mattress. There is often also a border rod to provide structure to the mattress.
b) Pocket spring systems
The mattress prices for pocket springs tend to be higher than open springs. But they do have some benefits! Rather than one long piece of metal wire, all of the springs are created separately and housed in their own fabric pockets. This means that they are better able to conform to your body because each spring reacts separately. Because of this, they can also make it more comfortable to share a bed.
c) Memory foam mattresses
Memory foam mattresses have become very popular in recent years. The memory foam mattress is made of polyurethane foam and its properties mean that it is highly mouldable but also firm.
This means that it will conform to your body’s shape while also preventing you from sinking into the mattress. Sinking in is known for causing pressure points which can make your joints ache and, for back sleepers, can also cause back pain due to not supporting proper spine alignment.
A memory foam mattress can be quite hot because the material isn’t very breathable. It’s also not good for the environment, nor your health.
d) Latex mattresses
These mattresses are made with latex foam. They have similar properties to memory foam, but latex is way better for your health. As long as you’re not allergic to it, of course.
Latex has more breathability than memory foam. It also provides more support, because it’s a firmer material. If you are a side sleeper, you might be better off staying with memory foam because you will need a softer mattress. But if you’re a back sleeper, latex will provide the support you need to keep your spine straight.
e) Hybrid mattresses
Hybrid mattresses are made of a mixture of different materials. One of the most popular choices is an innerspring mattress with a memory foam top layer. Hybrid mattresses allow you to have the best of both worlds. In this case, you get the breathability of an innerspring mattress combined with the support of memory foam.
3. Know How To Choose Healthy Materials
While having many options when choosing a new mattress is excellent, not all materials are healthy. Memory foam mattresses are highly-rated these days, and the benefits of contouring to your body’s shape are at the heart of their promotional activities.
However, many memory foam mattresses contain toxic chemicals which can harm your health. While some mattress manufacturers are moving away from these chemicals, be on the lookout for any mattress containing the following:
- Methylbenzene or toluene, both of which are toxic
- Formaldehyde, which is recognised as a human carcinogen and irritates the mouth, nose and eyes
- Methylenedianiline, which irritates the skin
- Methylene chloride, which can cause serious health problems with prolonged contact with the skin
These chemicals are used for various purposes – but mainly for fire prevention. You’ll be breathing the fumes from these the whole time you’re in bed. Not good!
Luckily, there are now many organic material mattresses to choose from. These include: wool, cotton, linen and organic latex.
These materials clean well and are less likely to attract or hold bacteria than other materials. Organic mattresses are also far better for your overall health.
The size of your mattress is another aspect that you should put some thought into. This is especially the case if you are taller or larger than average or if you plan on sharing your bed with someone else. These are the most typical sizes:
- Super Kings (6’0″ x 6’6″) – ideal for couples who need space
- King Size (5’0″ x 6’6″) – also great for couples
- Double (4’6″ x 6′”) – great if you like a lot of space for yourself
- Small double (4’0″ x 6’3″) – perfect for guest bedrooms
- Singles (3’0″ x 6’3″) – good for teens
- Small singles (2’6″ x 6’3″) are popular for children
Now you know how to buy a new mattress! When choosing a new mattress, thinking about the firmness, material, and size are the most important considerations. Whichever your choice, your mattress can often be an expensive investment, so it’s a good idea to find out about the warranty and its rules.
You might also want to buy a mattress protector to protect your bed as best as you can. If you can visit a mattress store, it can help you to get a feel for your mattress and try it out. But there are also plenty of mattress companies that operate solely online (including “bed in a box” companies). They can deliver a mattress to your door more quickly.
Whichever way you buy your mattress, finding the right one for you can help you get the best night’s sleep of your life.
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