How to Choose the Right Mattress for You

A good mattress is the foundation of a restful sleep. And if you’re in the market for a new one then you know mattresses aren’t cheap so you have to choose the right one the first time. But what constitute as the “perfect” mattress for you? What factors should you consider before making a purchase?

How to Tell If You Need a New Mattress

Do you wake up in the morning with sore muscles or lower back pain? If you have to stretch your muscles to alleviate stiffness every morning then it’s a clear sign that you’re in dire need of a new mattress. The right mattress should make you feel like you’re floating in the air. Mattresses that are too firm tend to add pressure to delicate areas of the body, leaving you stiff and sore in the morning. On the other hand, mattresses that are too soft do not offer support of any kind, causing joint and muscle pain.

Image used under Creative Commons from Dan Taylor-Watt

In addition, old, dust-mite ridden beds must be replaced immediately especially if it’s starting to trigger your allergies. If a bed has a saggy, uneven sleeping surface, it’s time to replace it. Ratty, creaky mattress with broken coils is also signs that you need a new mattress.

Mattresses by Types

Mattresses come in different types; each one offers a certain level of support. The perfect mattress must provide support to the spine, encouraging you to take a neutral position as you lie down in bed to alleviate pressure on the spine. The perfect mattress must conform to your body’s unique curves, cradling the buttocks, heels, head and shoulders and promoting proper spine alignment.

Spring Mattress

Spring mattress has been around forever and it’s the most widely used mattress type in the world. The mattress feature a row of metal coils topped with a cushion cover. The number of coils will dictate the level of support a spring mattress offers.

Of course, the higher the coil count, the more expensive the mattress is and most salesperson will push for the most expensive mattresses in stock. However, you don’t need a spring mattress with higher coil number at all. A coil count above 390 should suffice.

High-end mattresses often wrap the coils in soft cotton or lamb’s wool to enhance comfort while low-end spring mattresses are topped with foam.

The best thing about spring mattresses is the level of support they offer. The products vary in firmness and fluffiness so there are so many different types to choose from. As for the cons of a spring mattress, cheap ones with low coil count are often uncomfortable. Spring mattresses are perfect for overweight users as well as people who suffer from back pain constantly.

Memory Foam Mattress

A memory foam mattress is made from a dense foam material called viscoelastic foam. This material – which NASA invented – adjusts to the natural contours of the body. It responds to a user’s weight and temperature, offering unparalleled comfort. Because the material molds to your unique shape, a memory foam mattress eases the pressure off the joints, relieves muscle pain, and prevent back pain. The foam also absorbs movement so you’re less likely to wake up in the middle of the night by your partner’s tossing and turning.

However, because the material is sensitive to temperature, memory foam tends to develop heat spots, which can make sleeping uncomfortable in hot, humid weather. Also, some people are uncomfortable with the way the material molds to their body. Memory foam has a strong chemical smell that goes away on its own but some are sensitive to it. Finally, the material is pretty expensive.

Memory foam mattresses are perfect for people who are plagued with chronic fatigue and muscle pain. It’s also a great mattress for people who prefer soft yet firm support.

Image used under Creative Commons from Roydon Joe

Latex Mattress

A latex mattress is made from a dense, rubbery material similar to memory foam. It offers firm, bouncy support and the sleeping surface is uniform. The difference between latex and memory foam is that the former offers more support. Memory foam tends to conform to the unique contours of the body whereas latex pushes back when you lie down on it. This material is best for those who prefer dependable, firm support but might not be the best choice for those who need softer beds. This material is also best for people who suffer from back or pelvic pain.

Air Mattress

An air mattress is similar to a standard spring mattress but instead of metal coils, an air mattress features rows of foam-topped air-filled chambers. Air mattresses – also known as air beds – are often used by patients recovering from spinal cord injuries or bedridden people. At certain areas, the firmness can be adjusted to help prevent skin breakdown or bedsores.

Because the firmness of the mattress can be adjusted, an air bed is perfect for couples who have different firmness preference. However, there are times when the firmness isn’t maintained throughout the night so by morning, expect lower back pains. That said, low-end air beds are the ones prone to air leaks. Higher end airbeds with multiple chambers are able to maintain their firmness all night long. This mattress is best for those who prefer soft support as well as those who are recovering from a severe injury.

Top Mattresses to Choose From

Zinus Memory Foam Green Tea Mattress


  • Made from US Certified CertiPUR
  • Durable
  • Excellent pressure support
  • Affordable


  • Prone to heat spots
  • Runs smaller than advertised

The Zinus brand is renowned for its affordable mattresses and the brand’s best-selling green tea memory foam mattress is one of the highest rated products on Amazon. The material – which is US certified CertiPUR – promises unparalleled comfort, durability, and performance, at an affordable price point. The mattress alleviates back pains by easing pressure on the joints.

As the name implies, the mattress is infused with green tea to prevent bacterial growth and prevent unwanted odors that could disrupt sleep. The Green Tea mattress is comprised of two layers, including a thick, 2.5 inches memory foam layer and 5.5 high-density foam as a base.

As for the negatives, the Green tea mattress is made from memory foam so it heat spots do develop especially during humid nights. Some users also say that the mattress is on the smaller side, something to keep in mind while shopping around.

Sleep Innovations Shiloh Memory Foam Mattress


  • Durable material
  • Medium firmness
  • Light support
  • Relieves joint pain


  • Too soft for some users
  • Develops uneven sleeping surface

Sleep Innovations’ Shiloh memory foam mattress offers medium support and light cradling comfort. The mattress is strong enough to accommodate larger set users. This mattress is perfect for users who prefer medium firmness. The memory foam material conforms to your unique shape, relieving pressure on the joints and promoting proper spine alignment. The sleeping surface is covered by soft poly cotton blend, which feels plush and luxurious! The mattress also comes with a 20-year warranty for a worry-free purchase.

We love the overall quality of the Shiloh memory foam but some users say the sleeping surface becomes uneven after some time. We did not come across the same issue because of the limited testing time. Because it offers soft support, it’s not the best choice if you prefer a firm mattress.

Turf & Needle Mattress Bed


  • Medium to firm support
  • Excellent quality
  • Luxurious foam material
  • No heat spots


  • Expensive
  • Develops uneven sleeping surface

The Tuft & Needle mattress bed is a foam mattress that promises “universal comfort fine-tuned to evenly distribute the body weight” for a luxurious sleep. This is a high-quality foam mattress that offers firm yet supple support. It doesn’t develop heat spots, which means it’s great for warm, humid weather. The mattress also features “localized movement” that prevents disturbing sleep partners as you toss or turn during the night.

While the Tuft & Needle mattress bed provided medium support, some may find the texture too soft. Some users also say that the middle of the mattress tend to sink after some time. But the good news is, the brand offers a 100 night trial so you can decide for yourself if this mattress is for you.

How to Choose a New Mattress

Take Your Time

Because mattresses are a significant investment, you need to choose the one that’s most comfortable for you. Do not pounce on the first product that’s offered to you. Do your research, test the bed in person, and make sure it addresses all your needs before making a purchase.

Check the Material

Different types of mattresses are designed to accommodate specific problems or needs. If you have sensitivities or allergies to certain mattress material – such as latex or foam – then keep these concerns in mind during your search. The last thing you want is to plunk down hundreds of dollars for a pricey memory foam mattress only to return it after a few days because the odor triggers a migraine.

Go for Quality

When it comes to mattresses, you get exactly what you pay for. You cannot expect five-star hotel quality mattress on an el cheap mattress. Always go for quality so you’ll enjoy the mattress for a long, long time. Of course, there are fantastic mattresses that are offered at affordable price points, it’s just a matter of knowing exactly where to look.