Choosing the Best Mattress Firmness

mattress firmnessDo you wake up every morning and find yourself stretching to get the kinks and aches out of your lower back?

That’s one of the signs it’s time for a new mattress.

But buying a new mattress is something you need to spend some time on. We spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping, so it’s important to choose a mattress that lead to a healthy, comfortable sleep.

Here are a few tips to find the best mattress firmness, whether you’re shopping for your home or for your hotel.

Picking the “Just Right” Mattress

Whoever came up with the story of Goldilocks knew what they were talking about: the best mattresses are ones that are neither too hard nor too soft.

Speaking to WebMD, Dr. Arya Nick Shamie said a good mattress should support your body in a neutral position, one where your heels, shoulders, buttock and head are given proper support, and where your spine has a good curvature.  Sealy Posturepedics & Stearns & Foster Innerspring Mattresses are built w. center core support (additional support where you need it most – the center third of the body!

“If the mattress is too firm, it will push on those main pressure points and take you out of alignment,” Shamie said “If it’s too soft, those pressure points won’t be properly supported, so your whole body flops back.”

When you go mattress shopping, experts suggest testing the mattress in the store. Lay down in in the position you normally use to sleep, and give the mattress 10-15 minutes. Sleep expert Michael Breus told WebMD he recommends shoppers bring their own pillows to better replicate the way they sleep when they’re at home.

Mattress Pros and Cons

There are a number of different types of mattresses on the market. Here are a few of them, along with their pros and cons.

  • Innerspring – These are among the most common type of mattress, offering support through a series of coils underneath a pillow, latex or foam padding. Innerspring mattresses range in firmness and price to fit everyone’s comfort and financial need. The downside is that cheaper mattresses aren’t likely to offer as much support.
  • Memory Foam – Memory foam gets its name from what it does: conforming to – or in other words, remembering – the shape of your body. Memory foam reduces pressure points and relieves pain, and also absorbs movement, meaning you’re not likely to disturb or be disturbed by your partner’s movement. The downside is that the foam absorbs heat, and thus can feel very warm during the night. Tempurpedic has “SmartClimate” cooling fibers and cool to touch materials.
  • Latex – Latex mattresses are fashioned from natural or synthetic rubber, and are known for giving firm, bouncy support. They provide a similar level of comfort to memory foam, but may not be the right choice for people who don’t like the feel of a firm mattress.
  • Air Mattresses –This doesn’t refer to the inflatable things your nieces and nephews sleep on when they come for Thanksgiving. These are mattresses that use air-filled chambers instead of coils. They can be adjusted so that they don’t always put pressure on the same parts of the body, and work well for couples who have very different preferences for mattress firmness. The downside is that if you fail to make the mattress firm enough, you could wake up in pain.
Have I Chosen the Proper Mattress?

Once you’ve gotten your new mattress home, you should start to feel better, chiropractor Dr. Eugene Su tells the website Lifehacker. He recommends new mattress owners ask themselves a series of questions:

  1. Do I have more energy when I wake up, or less?
  2. After I’ve been up for a while, do I feel any unusual soreness or pain, particularly in my back or sides?
  3. When you get up, what is your mood like? Are you ready to tackle the day, or are you grumpy?
  4. Do you find yourself tossing and turning, or waking up during the night to change positions?

Su says these are warning signs for when you need to replace a mattress, but if this sounds familiar after you’ve bought a new mattress, you madey need to trade it in for something new.

Of course, mattress firmness can only get you so far. “There’s no mattress that’s going to save your body when you get only five hours of sleep,” Shamie said.


17 thoughts on “Choosing the Best Mattress Firmness

  1. Your site is so helpful, useful and informative. Thank you so much for saving us hundreds of dollars!! Wish there was some way to repay you for this information!! Can’t wait to share this website with our friends who are also looking to buy a new mattress. It is great to know this stuff before you even think about buying a mattress. You totally ROCK!!

  2. The biggest sign for me that a mattress is working well is that I don’t wake up in the middle of the night. If you can sleep soundly throughout the night without waking up, you are going to be so much more rested the next day. Thanks for this article. It was a good read.

  3. Thank you for the help. My wife and I have finally decided that it is time for a new mattress. I love the idea of getting a memory foam mattress. I move a lot in my sleep, so it would be great if it didn’t shake the whole bed and wake up my wife. Are there any major negatives to memory foam mattresses?

    1. We personally sleep on a Tempurpedic mattress. We love it. The only negative that I have been told by some is that the foam mattresses could be “hot”. My husband and I have not found this to be true for us. My son and his wife also sleep on a Tempurpedic mattress and love it!

  4. etting a new mattress can be a difficult thing to do. You want to make sure that it will help you sleep, and that it will last a long time. So, I am glad that you talked about the pros and cons of different types of mattresses. I also like what you said about knowing if it is a good after you have slept on it.

    1. Appreciate your comment. Although not everyone endorses memory foam, some do prefer it to other mattresses offered by the many mattresses manufactured and offered. As mentioned in my article, mattress purchasing and sleeping on your chosen mattress is a very personal preference. This is the reason why there are so many different mattresses in the marketplace today!

  5. I find it weird that everyone says foam sleeps warm. I’ve own several memory foam mattresses and they don’t feel warm to me, and I hot quickly. I guess its because of the bed sheets I use?

    1. Thank you for your comment. I sleep on a Tempurpedic mattress and do not feel hot nor does my husband. Everyone’s body temperature is different. Again, choosing a mattress is a very personal preference as is choosing sheets to cover the mattress.

  6. That is a great idea to bring your own pillow and lay down on the mattress for awhile. Using your own pillow will put you in the position you will most likely be sleeping in so you can better see how the mattress will feel every night. I will have to tell my friend about bringing her pillow when she goes out for a new mattress. Thank you for the awesome information!

  7. I liked that you explained the features to these different mattresses. The one that I’m sleeping on is really old, so I need to replace it. It seems like a memory foam mattress would be nice to have since it’s supposed to conform to my body. I hope that will help with my back problems.

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