How to Choose the Best Mattress

With so many new types of mattresses on the market, how does one choose the ‘best’ one? A good night’s sleep depends on starting with the right mattress for your body’s needs. So, how do you choose the right mattress, with so many choices available – coil (innerspring) vs. air or latex vs. memory foam – you can have a true ‘Goldilocks’ moment.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2008 7:00am
  • Life

With so many new types of mattresses on the market, how does one choose the ‘best’ one? A good night’s sleep depends on starting with the right mattress for your body’s needs. So, how do you choose the right mattress, with so many choices available – coil (innerspring) vs. air or latex vs. memory foam – you can have a true ‘Goldilocks’ moment.

According to Charles Cefalu, MD, chief of geriatric medicine at Louisiana State University in New Orleans “You want a mattress that is firm enough to distribute your weight or you’ll wake up sore due to your shoulders sagging or your hips sinking. On the other hand, you don’t want to sleep on a board.”

The new mattresses such as latex, memory foam or air can have a soft feel with firm support. These new beds have a firm support layer with a ‘plush’ top layer for a cushier feel.

Alan Hilibrand, MD, professor of orthopedic surgery at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia who is the spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that: “as a general rule, people tend to be most comfortable on a firm mattress, however, there’s a lot of variation and researchers have tried very hard to study this in a scientific fashion. They have found that there is too much variability between people to come to any firm conclusions about what’s the best mattress.”

Many of the new mattresses allow you to have different firmnesses on the same mattress, so each person can choose the best feel for their needs. A queen or king latex, memory foam or air mattress can be firm on one side and plush on the other. This is especially important if there is a considerable difference in the size of each partner.

So, here are some tips for mattress shopping:

You need to find the mattress that is right for you and your sleep partner. Mattress shopping takes time; you should spend at least 15 minutes on a mattress. If it is uncomfortable during the 15 minutes it won’t get better with time. Lie on the mattress the way you sleep, you won’t get a good feel for the mattress just lying on your back.

Then lie on your side, the mattress should allow you to relax your muscles while still supporting the normal S curve of your back. If there is sinking of your shoulders or hips or if your spine is not in the proper alignment, the mattress may be too soft. However, if you feel pain or aching in your hips or shoulders it may be too firm.

The best time to shop is later in the day, as in the morning your at your best and many mattress can feel fine that wouldn’t later. Also, make sure you purchase from a store that has a good comfort guarantee, that way if you have chosen the wrong mattress you can exchange it for the right one.

Also, try the mattress with the proper pillow – your pillow is almost as important as your mattress. The pillow should cradle you head in the proper position. Your shoulders should be balanced between the mattress and your head so you head is not too high or too low.

– The Sleep Store

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