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Choosing a New Mattress – 17 Important Things to Consider

We spend up to one third of our lives in bed. Therefore selecting a mattress is an important task and requires some consideration and thought. Choosing the right mattress is an important decision as it directly affects your comfort and quality of sleep. 

A mattress may be expensive to purchase.  However, if you do the groundwork and select the correct one for you then it will last for years and will, over time, prove to be a good investment. The opposite is true if you purchase the wrong type of mattress for your needs.

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Here are some factors to consider when determining what mattress you should have.

1. Existing Furniture

Is the mattress to replace an existing one? Then ensure you know the size of the mattress that you need. Is the existing bed base suitable for a new mattress. Mostly they will be – but now is the time to ensure that this is correct.

2. Measure, Measure, Measure

Are you going to purchase an entire new bed – base and mattress? If so ensure you have carefully measured the space where the bed will be situated. What furniture will be beside the new bed? Will you have bed-side cabinets? Is there access to sockets on the wall where the bed will be located? If the space is small this will directly impact on the size of mattress and the style of the bed.  Do you have unusual features in the space that may impact the choice of bed – for instance a sloping ceiling, or an unusual angled wall?

3. Size

Choose the right size of mattress that fits your needs. Common options include twin, full, queen, king, and California king. Consider the dimensions of your bedroom, the number of people using the mattress, and your preferred sleeping space.

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4. How Often Will It Be Used

There is a significant difference when considering to buy a mattress for yourself or a family member that will be used on a nightly basis or when considering a mattress that is needed for the guest bedroom and will be used only occasionally.

5. Comfort Preference

Determine whether you prefer a firm, medium, or soft mattress. This is subjective and varies from person to person. Consider trying out different mattresses in stores to get a sense of what feels most comfortable for you.  Take the time to test out different options to determine what feels most comfortable for you.

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6. Sleeping Position

Your preferred sleeping position affects the level of support and firmness you need to maintain spinal alignment. Generally, side sleepers benefit from a slightly softer mattress, back sleepers from a medium-firm mattress, and stomach sleepers from a firmer mattress. If you change positions frequently, look for a mattress with a balance of support and comfort.

What position are you normally in when fall asleep? What position do you usually wake up in?

Back Sleepers

  • Back sleepers put the greatest pressure on their lower back. If a mattress is too soft, the torso can sink in more deeply than the upper back and lower body, and this U-shape can create strain. If a mattress is too firm, there won’t be any accommodation of the slight curve in the lower back. Therefore, back sleepers do best with a Medium Firm to Firm mattress with light to moderate contouring.

Side Sleepers

  • Side sleepers have sharp pressure points where the body is the widest, most notably at the shoulders and hips. On a too-soft mattress, those points will dip out of line with the rest of the spine. On a too-firm mattress, they will feel the impact at those points and be prone to misalignment. Consequently, side sleepers do best with Medium Soft to Medium Firm mattresses.

Stomach Sleepers

  • Stomach or front sleepers are like back sleepers and put the most pressure on the lumbar spine. They usually do best with a Firm mattress that can keep them out of a U-shape and that won’t feel suffocating when lying face-down on the mattress.

Combination Sleepers

  • Combination sleepers find themselves in more than one position through the night. They typically should choose a mattress based on the position they spend the most time in. If there’s no primary position, Medium Firm offers the best bet across the sleeping positions. These sleepers should also look for a responsive mattress that facilitates easy movement on the bed.
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7. Body Type and Weight

Your body type and weight also play a role in mattress selection. Heavier individuals typically require more support, so a firmer mattress might be suitable. Lighter individuals may find softer mattresses more comfortable.

8. Support and Firmness

Consider the level of support and firmness you require. A good mattress should provide proper spinal alignment and support your body weight evenly. Different people have different needs, so choose a firmness level that suits your sleeping position (back, side, or stomach).

9. Mattress Types

There are various mattress types available, such as memory foam, latex, innerspring, hybrid, and airbeds. Each type has its unique characteristics. For example, memory foam molds to your body shape, while innerspring mattresses offer more bounce. Research the different types to understand their characteristics, such as responsiveness, motion isolation, durability, and temperature regulation.

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10. Allergies or Sensitivities

If you have allergies or sensitivities, consider mattresses with hypoallergenic or organic materials  and resistant to dust mites, mold, and other allergens. Look for certifications such as CertiPUR-US or OEKO-TEX Standard 100 to ensure the mattress meets certain safety and environmental standards.  Certain materials like latex or organic mattresses might be suitable for individuals with specific sensitivities.

11. Motion Isolation

If you share your bed with a partner or a restless sleeper, consider a mattress with good motion isolation properties. Memory foam and latex mattresses tend to perform well in this aspect. A mattress with good motion isolation minimizes disturbances caused by movements, ensuring a more restful sleep.

12. Temperature Regulation

Some mattresses are designed with features to promote airflow and heat dissipation, keeping you cool throughout the night. If you tend to sleep hot or live in a warm climate, look for mattresses with breathable materials or cooling technologies.

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13. Durability and Warranty

A mattress is a significant investment, so it’s essential to consider its durability. Look for mattresses with high-quality materials and construction that can withstand regular use over an extended period. Customer reviews and warranties can provide insights into the durability of a mattress.

14. Budget

Set a budget range before you start shopping. Mattress prices can vary significantly, so it’s helpful to have an idea of what you’re willing to spend. However, remember that your mattress is an investment in your sleep quality, so prioritize quality and comfort over the price tag if possible.

15. Trial Period and Warranty

Check the trial period and warranty offered by the manufacturer or retailer. A trial period allows you to test the mattress at home, ensuring it meets your expectations. Additionally, a warranty provides protection against manufacturing defects and other issues that may arise.

16. Customer Reviews and Reputation

Read customer reviews and research the reputation of the mattress brands you’re considering. This can provide insights into the quality, comfort, and durability of the mattresses.

17. Delivery and Return Policies

Consider the delivery options and costs associated with the mattress purchase. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the return policies in case you need to return or exchange the mattress.

Ultimately, the best way to determine what mattress you should have is to try out different options in person. Lie down on mattresses for at least 10-15 minutes to get a feel for their comfort and support. Consider visiting mattress showrooms, asking for recommendations, or taking advantage of trial periods offered by some online mattress companies.

By considering these issues, you can make a more informed decision and choose a mattress that meets your specific needs for comfort, support, durability, and other important factors.

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