Sleep.how Guide to Choosing a Mattress
Buying a mattress can be overwhelming. Today, there are thousands of options available at the click of a button, each claiming to be the right mattress for you. Even knowing where to start can be a head-scratcher.
Luckily, Sleep.how is here to help!
We’ve developed a quick guide to show you what we think are the important things to consider when you’re choosing the perfect bed. We help people find mattresses because we know that your mattress can be what makes or breaks your sleep routine. So read on, and be prepared to find the perfect night’s sleep before you know it.
- Best Back Pain Mattress
- Best Back Sleepers Mattress
- Best Cooling Mattress
- Best Couples Mattress
- Best Eco-Friendly Mattress
- Best Firm Mattress
- Best Heavy Weight Mattress
- Best Hybrid Mattress
- Best Innerspring Mattress
- Best Latex Mattress
- Best Memory Foam Mattress
- Best Non-Toxic Mattress
- Best Organic Mattress
- Best Sex Mattress
- Best Side Sleepers Mattress
- Best Stomach Sleepers Mattress
Types Of Mattresses
First things first—let’s go over the most common types of mattresses available today. For the most part, when shopping, you come across three distinct categories:
Foam mattresses are made from multiple layers of different types of thick foam. Foam mattresses have become increasingly popular over the past few years and now make up most of the bed-in-a-box market. These mattresses tend to be cheaper, softer, and way easier to set up than their counterparts.
Innerspring mattresses are the most traditional form of mattress we use today. A layer of metal coils, or springs, form the core layer of support for the body in these beds. Because of this added structural layer, they tend to be more supportive than all-foam beds, offering better edge support and responsiveness. Innerspring mattresses are also slightly heavier, firmer, and can be more expensive than other models.
Hybrid beds combine the use of foam layers with a layer of supportive coils. In a sense it is the best of both worlds—often hybrid beds are soft and cushiony like foam mattresses, while still maintaining the supportive core sturdiness you will find with an innerspring mattress. Many of the most expensive, luxury mattresses today are hybrid mattresses.
Knowing Your Style
Choosing the right bed should really start with a careful analysis of your own sleep habits. Do you sleep on your side or back? Do you toss and turn, or lie like a corpse all night? Do you prefer to sink into a cloud, or be supported by pressure-relieving sturdiness?
Understanding these preferences is a great way to start narrowing your search down to only mattresses that will support your particular style of sleeping.
Firmness and support
Soft versus firm is likely the oldest debate in the history of beds. Some like the feeling of being swaddled by luxurious softness, sinking into a cradling top layer with lots of give. Others want a firm surface that helps align their back and allows them to move around without feeling like they’ve fallen into quicksand. It all depends on you and what you like.
Generally, softer beds conform to bodies more easily. They can offer pressure-relief by contouring to the body in corrective ways—some memory foam beds are specifically designed to respond to body shape over time.
Firmer mattresses will offer significantly more support, and not conform to the shape of the body as much. Firmer mattresses can be good for people who tend to move more at night, as well as people who like to feel well-supported as they sleep.
An important thing to note is that your body weight will impact how soft or firm any given mattress feels. Someone weighing 120 pounds may find a bed much more firm than someone who weighs 220 pounds.
At Sleep.how we use a 1-10 system to rate the firmness of each mattress we review.
There are three main sleeping styles, each with their own considerations when it comes to mattress preference:
Side sleepers tend to prefer softer mattresses that allow them to find support by sinking into the top of the bed. Less-firm mattresses allow side sleepers to have each curve of their body cradled by contouring materials. Firmer beds can force side sleepers’ spines out of alignment.
Back sleepers don’t necessarily need softer mattresses, though some prefer them. Back sleepers have a wide range of preferences and typically can be happy with a number of different mattresses. Firm beds will offer a supportive feeling and soft beds will allow for cloud-like relaxation, though too much plushness can cause back sleepers to fall out of alignment.
Stomach sleepers usually prefer—and will feel less pain with—firmer mattresses. Too much give or cushioning will cause misalignment of joints and the back. Firmer mattresses provide the best support for stomach sleepers.
Our Review Criteria
We review mattresses according to a uniform set of categories we think add up to a pretty good picture of what a mattress is like. For each element, we give a short description, as well as a rating from “Poor,” all the way to “Excellent.”
Odor refers to any smells that might accompany a mattress. Beds that come in boxes, and especially those made of foam and latex, often “off-gas” (let off an odor) when you open them for the first time. We like to let you know how much of an odor you can expect, and when it will go away.
This refers to the quality of the materials and craftsmanship used in creating the mattress, and how well it will hold up under use. Cheaper mattresses might seem like a good option in the moment, but if they need to be replaced after only a few years they might end up being more expensive. We sometimes talk about warranties in this section too!
Though every couple is different, we rate the quality of a mattress for sex on its ability to provide spring, responsiveness, and support. With this category as much, if not more than others, you and your partner’s preferences are the most important things to consider.
Conforming properties of a mattress are how much or little the materials will cradle and shape around a sleeper’s body. This is not an objective measure of quality—a poor rating in this category could be perfect for someone who doesn’t need or want the feeling of sinking into their bed.
Edge support is how well a mattress can support weight around the perimeter of the top layer. Sitting on the edge of the bed, not sloping off in the middle of the night, and more, all depend on strong edge support.
Temperature refers to how a bed manages airflow and keeps you cool throughout the night. For anyone that sleeps hot, it’s incredibly important to find a mattress that has cooling properties. For those who don’t, it might not be worth extra money to seek a bed that does. There are tons of ways companies make their mattresses breathable, and this is where we break that technology down.
Motion isolation ratings will tell you how well we think a mattress keeps movement on one side of the bed from affecting the rest of it. For couples, sleepers with pets or just light sleepers, excess motion in the night can be a serious sleep disturbance. This section will tell you how good or bad a mattress performs when it comes to keeping motion from bothering you and your sleep partner.
Other Things to Consider
Shipping and Installation
Today it’s easier than ever to purchase a high-quality mattress without ever having to leave your house. But how do most mattresses get to your house? And who will set it up?
We discuss the ease of shipping and installation in all of our reviews as well. White glove delivery can be the difference between two beds you’re considering and may push you one way or the other. Some companies are better than others in this category, and we’ll let you know which ones we think do a good job of seamless setup.
Just because the thought of talking to a salesperson in a physical mattress store feels as antiquated as the Flintstones' car doesn’t mean you won’t need to speak to someone when learning about mattresses. Good customer service, whether it be in the form of online chat availability with experts or easy return policies is important. We’ll help you see who does customer service right.