Buying a mattress is not something people do often. A mattress lasts anywhere between five and 10 years (sometimes even longer), so the average person might need to buy a new mattress only once or twice in their lifetime. And when they do, they usually end up making the wrong choice. The reason why most people buy the wrong mattress is that they usually focus on random firmness levels, hot new technologies, or the cheapest price point, without considering their own comfort and requirements.
When buying a mattress, the focus should always be on comfort and support. Your bed is closely linked to your sleep quality, and if you are not comfortable, then the mattress will be the reason behind poor sleep quality and sleep deprivation. You must first consider support and comfort, and then base your decision around these two factors, even if that means having to choose a different brand or material than you initially planned to. Because when you buy the right mattress, you will be sleeping happily for many years.
Types of Mattresses
The options in the mattress market are far greater than what they used to be a decade ago. It isn’t just foam or spring anymore; there are other options that are just as popular as memory foam or innerspring. Having said that, let’s now discuss the types of mattresses that are available today and their characteristics.
When it comes to the perfect combination of comfort and support, memory foam is hard to beat. Memory foam is a popular mattress material because it conforms to the body and offers excellent shoulder and hip support for side sleepers. Memory foam cradles you as you are laid upon the mattress; it contours to the body and makes you feel surrounded and supported by the mattress. Although foam tended to get hot during the night, the latest memory foam technology doesn’t have that issue. Memory foam mattresses are also slower to sag because they are made of several layers of foam.
If you’re looking for customized firmness and plushness, latex is a good choice. Latex mattresses can either be all-natural or synthetic. All-natural latex mattresses may be more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, but they are healthier and also more likely to last longer. Latex is a natural substance obtained from the rubber plant, used to make a variety of products. Synthetic latex usually has a small percentage (or nothing) of natural latex and the rest if only memory foam. Latex is less dense compared to memory foam and offers more customization options than other materials. Natural latex also heats less.
Mattresses that have a support core of metal springs or coils are called innerspring. The quality of the mattress is usually measured by the number of coils in the design. The number of coils as well as their distribution determine the quality of the mattress and how well it will conform to the body. Innerspring mattresses differ in the spring shapes and coil gauges. This affects the quality of back support. Whether you are a back, side, or stomach sleeper, it is necessary to buy the right innerspring mattress.
Any mattress that has a support core of springs or coils and a comfort layer of memory foam or latex is called a hybrid mattress. Hybrid mattresses have become quite popular in recent years because they offer both support and comfort. You can have latex and memory foam hybrids, and innerspring, memory foam and latex hybrids. The choices are endless.
Pillow Top Mattress
For those who prefer the extra softness and the cushiony feel, there’s the pillow top mattress. That’s right, when you lie upon a pillow top mattress you feel the softness of a pillow (hence, the name). Pillow tops do provide extra comfort to those who find it uncomfortable to sleep on a regular mattress surface. Instead of adding a topper, you have the top already sewn or stuffed into the mattress.
Gel Top Mattress
Those who require extra cooling at night will benefit from gel mattresses. Many foam mattresses usually have a gel layer on top to provide extra cooling. However, not many people like the feeling of gel, so you must test it out before the purchase.
If you want a bed that has a fully customizable firmness and height, an air bed is a way to go. It is a mattress that has chambers inside filled with air. The thickness of the mattress is adjustable. You simply let out air to make it softer and fill it up completely to make it firmer. Many beds also allow you to customize each side separately.
This is much like an air bed, only filled with water. You can easily customize the thickness, but you must test out the feel of the waterbed before purchase.
When to Buy A New Mattress?
The average lifespan of a high-quality premium mattress is no more than 10 years. For most standard mattresses, the lifespan is anywhere between five and eight years. But do people change their mattresses every five years? No. That’s because they don’t know the right time to buy a new mattress and ditch the old one.
When people suffer from a bad back, stiff shoulders, painful neck, and general discomfort all over the body, the first impulse is to think they have a medical condition. However, the reason could be as simple as the wrong mattress. When a bed becomes old, it fails to provide the support that is offered when it was new. That is why mattresses need to be changed every few years because the materials they are made of tend to sag and cease to remain comfortable any longer.
Of course, there are telltale signs that it’s time to buy a new mattress, but a lot of people tend to ignore them because buying a mattress is expensive and a lot of hassle. The obvious signs include a mattress that has sagged in the middle, that does not feel firm anymore, that does not offer edge support, and that has a worn-out casing or top cover. These signs appear anywhere between five and 10 years, depending upon the quality of the mattress and how roughly it is used every day. The size and weight of the sleeper is also a big factor behind the lifespan of a mattress. If you are on the heavier side, it is recommended that you buy a firmer mattress to enjoy a longer lifespan and less sagging.
However, not all aches and pains can be blamed on the mattress. If you are suffering from shoulder and neck stiffness every morning then there are chances that your pillow is not right. If you have a new mattress that does not feel softer comfortable enough you can remedy the situation by adding a mattress topper.
What Mattress Type to Choose?
Having discussed the different types of mattresses in this post, it is no doubt difficult to know what is going to work best for you. Of course, you can go to a store and lie on a mattress for 30 minutes to test its comfort and firmness. However, 30 minutes is a lot less than the next 30 years you will be spent sleeping on the mattress. It often takes a month or more for the average person to figure out the suitability of a new mattress. In such a case, your best bet is to buy a mattress online and take advantage of the in-home trial period.
So, whether you buy online or in-store, how do you know which type of mattress is right for you? Your basic considerations should be comfort, support, firmness, bounce and edge support. Based on the different mattress types, here’s what could be the right fit for individual sleepers.
Memory Foam: A mattress made of memory foam is for you if you want contouring, body shaping, pressure relief, and a whole lot of support. However, there is a wide range of foam that is classed under “memory foam” and they are not created equal. Memory foam is a good choice for those who want to be hugged or surrounded by the mattress.
Latex: If you want bounce, responsiveness, and cooling, without the hug and contour of memory foam, latex should be your pick. Latex is highly customizable, so you can have just the right firmness or plushness. Wherever possible, try to choose natural latex instead of the synthetic varieties.
Innerspring: Mattresses with springs or coils are best for those who want the traditional feel of coil or spring, along with great bounce, cooling, and edge support. Innerspring Mattresses last longer because of the support provided by the coils and springs.
Hybrid: If you want the best of all worlds, a hybrid mattress is for you. There are latex and memory foam hybrids as well as latex, memory foam and innerspring hybrids. They combine the best features of every materials, from great bounce to support and comfort, to cooling and firmness.
Pillow Top: A mattress that has an extra layer of soft material either sewn or stuffed into the cover is called a pillow top mattress. It is a great choice for those who prefer a softer sleeping surface and the comfort of a cushion. Pillow top mattresses often offer cloud-like support and comfort.
Factors to Consider While Buying A Mattress
Even after you decide the type of mattress that may be right for you, there is another important step- the features of the mattress vis-a-vis your own requirements.
There are a number of questions to ask to determine if the mattress is the right fit for you.
Is the Firmness/Plushness, Right?
What is firm for you may be soft for another. When you look at online reviews and see that most people find a certain mattress too firm or too plush doesn’t always mean they are right. Firmness/plushness is totally subjective. Therefore, you never know if the firmness or plushness level is right for you until you test out the mattress. To determine this, visiting a store and lying on the mattress is the best way.
Is It Conforming (Or Not) To Your Body the Way You Like?
Some people love the feeling of being hugged by the mattress when they lie on it. This body contouring feature is mostly found in memory foam and foam hybrid mattresses and is preferred by those who love the feeling of comfort. However, if you want to stick to memory foam but the mattress that you tried isn’t contouring your body like you would prefer, you must keep looking at other products.
Is the Bounce Right?
Those who prefer a plush mattress also usually love some bounce. But there are people who like their bed to be firm with little to no bounce. Again, testing out mattresses is the best way to figure this out. Remember that latex has more bounce than memory foam mattresses, and the greater the bounce, the harder it is for you to share the bed with someone who moves a lot in sleep. This calls for better motion isolation.
How Is Edge Support?
If the edge isn’t strong enough, it will be difficult to get in and out of bed. This is more concerning in case of those with mobility issues. A strong edge support will also prevent you from falling out of bed. Mattresses that have the perimeter constructed with a firmer material usually have better edge support.
Does It Keep You Cool or Make You Hot?
Sleeping hot or cool is also subjective and something that’s hard to figure out from a brief encounter with the mattress at the store. This is when you should take advantage of the in-home sleep trial that online mattress companies offer. When you sleep on a mattress for a few weeks, you gradually find out if it keeps you cool throughout the night or makes you hot and uncomfortable. Memory foam tends to be hotter than latex, so if you sleep hot gel memory foam or latex are good choices.
Is It Big Enough for You and Your Partner/Kids/Pets?
Different mattress sizes are designed to hold a certain number of sleepers. A twin is just right for one person, while the king is right for not only a couple but also for little humans and pets sharing the bed. The bigger the mattress, the more it costs, but you should always focus on the comfort of everyone that shares the bed. After all, who doesn’t love to sprawl?
Is It of High Quality?
At first glance, every mattress looks the same. But upon closer inspection you will find the small differences between a high quality and low-quality mattress. This is best done at a store, where you can touch and feel the mattress, lifting every fold and seam to inspect the strength and workmanship. If the seams look flimsy, it isn’t a high-quality mattress. If you’re looking at memory foam, make sure to ask about the density of the foam, if it is certified, and free from harmful chemicals. Most reputed mattress companies make sure to make their materials free from harmful chemicals.
What Is the Right Mattress Size?
Mattresses begin from crib and go up to California King (the largest size in the US). A single bed is hardly enough for a grown person and is best suited for a child or teen. On the other end of the spectrum, a Cal King has ample room for a couple, a child, and a big pet. There are several other sizes in between. When confused between two sizes, it’s better to go with big, because more room is always nicer than less room.
Of course, if you sleep alone, you don’t necessarily have to buy a king or queen bed, but if you certainly can. And if you share the bed with someone else, then a bigger size is always more recommended. When the bed is big, you less notice the other person when they move around. When you have less room in the bed, every little movement is more noticeable, and this can ruin your sleep quality. Almost everyone agrees that a bigger bed is certainly better than a small one.
When upgrading to different mattress sizes, there are several ways it can cost you. The mattress itself will be more expensive, and you also must get a bigger bed frame, new sheets, pillows, and blankets. Most importantly, you will need more space in the room. If you don’t have space for a bigger bed, a big mattress is out of question. Before you go into buying a mattress, keep these additional costs in mind.
Off-Gassing and Chemicals
Foam mattresses are notorious for off-gassing when they are new, especially the first few days after you bring it home. There is a distinct smell associated with a new foam mattress that many people dislike. The recommended solution from mattress companies is to let the mattress air out and breathe for a few days for the off-gassing to wean away.
But what is off-gassing exactly? Foam is a synthetic compound, made with a certain amount of chemicals. Any artificially manufactured material cannot be completely free from chemicals and the foam mattress is also not. After a mattress is manufactured, it is packed in a box and sent to the warehouse. Polyurethane foam releases compound in the air when newly manufactured, called off-gassing. But because it’s packed in a small box, it doesn’t come into contact with oxygen and doesn’t get to off-gas. When it’s opened, it starts to give out that “new” smell, which some like and some detest. As time passes, the smell also goes way.
A lot of people are concerned about off-gassing. They wonder if it is healthy to breathe in the compounds released by the mattress. No, it isn’t, but only if it’s in large amounts. The amount released by mattresses is tiny, and they stop within a few days of bringing the mattress home. If you are concerned about this, look for mattresses made with CertiPUR-US certified foam.
A lot of people are also worried about flame retardants in mattresses. Flame retardants are harmful chemicals often added to mattresses to make them resistant to fire. However, mattresses that are CertiPUR-US certified do not use any of the harmful flame retardants. Rather, they meet federal flammability standards by using a sock cover or ticking with fire-retardant properties. That’s another advantage of buying a mattress made with CertiPUR-US foam.
With all the concerns around foam, it isn’t surprising why natural latex mattresses are in great demand. They are free from all the above concerns. Regardless of what kind your mattress is, let it air out for a few days until the smell goes away.
How Much to Spend on A Mattress?
The sky is the limit when you’re buying a mattress. The more you spend, the more you get. It goes without saying that a budget mattress will have the basic features while a luxury mattress will boast of the high-end features. At the end of the day, it comes down to what you are looking for and how much you are ready to spend.
Let’s break down the price range of mattresses and what it can get you:
Under Rs 10,000
If you’re looking to go with the most affordable price range, you can get decent foam and innerspring mattresses. However, don’t expect the fancy features in the price range. It is possible to get comfort and support, but not the additional features that high-priced mattresses boast of. The lower end of the spectrum usually offers thinner mattresses, but closer to Rs 10,000 you can find more layers, greater padding, as well as features like gel cooling layer and more numbers of coils and springs.
Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000
Most high-quality mattresses fall into this price range. You will find a large selection of premium foam, latex, spring, and hybrid mattresses that boast of denser foam and a higher number of layers (usually three or more). The more layers the mattress has, the greater the weight it will be able to support and keep its shape for the longest time. This isn’t true for less expensive mattresses. Mattresses in this price range will also have better motion isolation and edge support. As you go higher in the price range, you will discover fancy covers and upholstery, and the focus on natural and organic materials. Natural latex mattresses are usually on the higher end of this spectrum.
Rs 25,000 and Higher
This is where the truly luxury mattresses begin. You get thicker layers of denser foam, capable of withstanding the heavier weight and lasting a longer time. Luxury innerspring mattresses come with a ridiculously high coil count, something unimaginable in cheaper options. You also get hand-tufting and exotic materials like Joma wool and horsehair. However, despite the fancy additions, luxury mattresses aren’t necessarily more comfortable to sleep on. They are simply intended to give your bedroom that touch of elegance. If you’re looking for support and comfort, a Rs 125, 000 mattresses won’t provide you with it any better than a mattress priced at Rs 30,000. What you get more of is luxury. Think organic cotton instead of regular cotton, elegant tailoring, and a higher number of bells and whistles.
The purpose of a mattress is to provide support, comfort, and spinal alignment, all without breaking the bank or falling apart in two years. You don’t necessarily have to spend Rs 50,000 on the right mattress—however, there is a lot of research required to get the right fit. When it comes to finding the mattress that helps you sleep happily for many years to come, you should be willing to spend the time looking at the different options