Best Types of Mattresses for a Good Night’s Sleep
Buying a new mattress is a big investment. You might need to live with your choice for years to come. If your brand new mattress turns out to be uncomfortable then you may even need to pay big money to buy a new, different mattress. So how can you choose the best mattress?
A lot of experts recommend that you give each mattress that you are considering a really good tryout in the showroom. Generally it is suggested that you give each mattress around 15 minutes as that is how long it takes your whole body to relax. Likewise it is recommended that you try to simulate your sleeping experience as closely as possible. If you sleep with a partner it’s best to take them along as well.
However, a study published in August 2011 for the Research Triangle Institute found that the showroom test didn’t always lead to the best mattresses being chosen. The researchers allowed people to choose a preferred mattress from a selection under simulated showroom conditions, and then got them to sleep on a variety of different mattress (including their preference). The quality of their sleep and any pain or stiffness caused by the mattresses were measured.
The study concluded “When allowed to test mattresses in a typical showroom experience, individuals appear to choose mattresses that do not optimize their sleep.”. The participants were more restless during the night and woke up with more pain and stiffness on the mattresses they had chosen under showroom conditions.
So does that mean that the showroom test is a no-go? Not at all. At the very least it will allow you a chance to rule out some beds that feel truly awful. Plus you can use the opportunity to ask questions about the mattresses to get extra information (which isn’t always available on the manufacturers website), or even see a cutaway of the mattresses.
How else can you start the arduous task of choosing a new mattress, if the showroom test isn’t all that reliable?
Firstly, consider your needs. Each type of mattress is typically better for some things and worse for others.
If one of your considerations is that you have back pain, then you will need to do some extra research to find the right kind of mattress for you.
If you find that you often sleep too hot, then you may want to avoid memory foam. One of the most common complaints about memory foam is that it retains too much heat during the night. Manufacturers have attempted to fix this by infusing the foam with gel. However, the studies into the effectiveness of gel infusion at reducing heat have produced conflicting results. Latex mattresses can be cool enough, however you need to make sure that the holes in the mattress are at least 1cm in diameter. Inner spring mattresses tend to sleep reasonably cool (depending on what is the comfort layer or top padding is made out of). Inner spring mattresses are even better at keeping cool when they are on a slat-base.
Another common concern is asthma or allergies. Although these can be somewhat controlled by choosing a specialized cover for your mattress, the material that the mattress is made from can also be a contributing factor. If you are sensitive to chemical smells, then memory foam may not be the right choice for you. Another one of the most common complaints about memory foam is known as off-gassing. This is where new memory foam mattresses continue to emit a chemical odor. The manufacturers of memory foam mattresses provide advice on how to minimize this and further advise that the odor does not last too long. Both latex and memory foam tend to be resistant to mold, mildew and dust mites. For people with an allergy to latex, it is worth noting that latex mattresses can be made from different types of latex (natural or synthetic). This may be a different material to the one you are allergic to.
Foam mattresses, such as memory foam or latex, are generally excellent when it comes to isolating movement. If you want to minimize disturbance when you or your partner get into bed, then these are the best choices. Inner spring mattresses often perform poorly in this regard, although this is improved if you get one with pocket springs.
If you are looking for a mattress that will last a long time, then latex is exceptionally good. Other mattresses will degrade after 7 years and need replacing by 10 at the most. However, Latex is often guaranteed for 20 to 25 years. Inner spring mattresses are the most prone to sagging, and this can often reach very uncomfortable levels before it is covered by warranty.
If you are environmentally conscious, then there are even totally organic mattresses available. You may have to hunt around to find a shop that stocks these.
Once you have an idea about the type of mattress you want, then it is time to have a look at the internet and read other people’s reviews. This can help you narrow it down even further.
Even with the best research under your belt, there is still an element of luck in getting a mattress which is perfect for you. It might just be that the best you can do is look for an extended returns policy. Some shops will offer up to 90 days in which time you are able to swap the mattress for a different one. Always check the fine print as you may incur some incidental expenses when you try to swap the mattress over. You may be liable for any transport charges, for a mandatory cleaning process, or other sundry charges.
However, this may be the best insurance you have against buying an expensive new mattress and regretting the choice for years to come.