Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for our health. Insufficient or poor quality sleep can wreak havoc on our health and well-being in numerous ways, from impairing cognitive function to promoting weight gain.
A quality mattress is an important part of the equation, and if you are in the market for a new one, for whatever reason, it is a good idea to educate yourself on the various options so you can choose the one that will best promote a good night’s sleep.
These are the most common type of mattress; the coils are usually individually encased, and are covered with a variety of materials, such as memory foam or a pillow top. While you may be told that a higher coil count equates with more comfort, anything above 390 will probably produce a negligible difference you can’t even feel.
These mattresses are widely available in different levels of firmness, price and the like, making it easy to find one to your liking. While a more expensive mattress does not necessarily mean it is more comfortable, it is best to avoid the cheapest ones because they lack sufficient coils and cushion to provide proper support.
Air mattresses look like innerspring ones, but instead of coils, have air-filled chambers. These beds have a long history of use for people with injuries that limit them to a lot of time in bed — the pressure can be adjusted to prevent prolonged pressing on one area, which can lead to bed sores and skin breakdown.
These beds are great for couples who have different preferences when it comes to firmness — you can each choose your comfort level, and set the stage for a good night’s sleep. When it comes to these types of beds in particular, it is important to do your research to get an idea of the different offerings. For example, Personal Comfort Bed versus the Sleep Number Bed can give you an idea of the differences between these two popular air mattress beds.
Over the last several years, these types of mattresses have become quite popular. Because they can mold themselves to the exact shape of your body, they are ultra-comfortable. This glove-like fit can reduce pressure points and pain.
They may be a particularly good choice if your partner’s movements disturb your sleep (the foam absorbs movement), have chronic pain issues, or difficulty getting comfortable. However, because the foam molds from your body heat, some people complain they feel hot during the night.
Latex mattresses are made from rubber — natural or synthetic — which provides bouncy, firm support that is evenly distributed throughout the bed. The comfort level is similar to memory foam, but provides more support, which makes it a better choice if you have issues such as back pain. If you don’t like firm mattresses, this is not the best choice.
Adjustable beds are just that — adjustable. You can elevate and bend the mattress at varying levels. If you like to do a lot of stuff in your bed, like watch TV or read, this can make those tasks easier and more comfortable. People with sleep apnea may benefit from sleeping at an elevated angle rather than flat, as can people who have conditions that make it difficult to transition from a lying to standing position.
No matter what type of mattress you are considering, shop smart. When testing out the different ones, spend at least 15 minutes in the position you normally sleep to get a good sense of whether you will be comfortable. You should also bring your own pillow. It is important to recreate your usual sleeping conditions as much as possible to make the right choice.