The importance of a good quality mattress is often underestimated. People tend to look for the easiest or cheapest option available but don't put a lot of thought into the actual mattress itself. All the while, their sleep quality may be suffering as a result of the wrong mattress or one that is not cared for properly.
We blame so many different things for why we can't sleep well at night, but it's time to look at your mattress as the prime suspect. To help you choose the right mattress, we've put together this guide on buying a new mattress in 2019.
Does your mattress need replacing?
The first question is, do you actually need a new mattress? One reason to buy a new one is purely choice. Maybe you've moved into a furnished apartment and need to replace the old, used mattress. OR maybe you're buying a new bed and want a nice, new mattress to go along with it. Otherwise, here are some signs that your old mattress might need replacing:
- It's more than 10 years old – On average, a mattress should last between 7-10 years. Sealy mattresses will last a decade (some customers have even claimed their Sealy has lasted them three decades!) so if your mattress is too old, it might be time to think about a replacement.
- Your sleep quality has declined – Do you struggle to fall and stay asleep at night? Your mattress isn't the only potential cause
of this, but it's certainly worth thinking about. If you sleep well in other beds, like in hotels, then your mattress could be to blame for your
poor sleep at home.
- Saggy, lumpy, uncomfortable mattress – If you've actually noticed that your mattress has lumps, dents where you sleep, or springs sticking out, then it's definitely time for a new one.
- You wake up sore – If you often wake up with a stick neck or a sore back, don't just blame it on the fact you're getting older.
Your mattress should support you as you sleep, so pains like these could indicate that you need a new one.
How to choose the best mattress
Now you've decided you do need a new mattress, let's look at some of the different factors to consider when choosing which one to buy.
Mattress types and materials
Are all the different types of mattresses and materials used confusing you while you browse? Once you understand the advantages and potential disadvantages of each type of mattress, it should help you decide which is the right fit for you. So, here are some of the most popular types of mattresses for you to choose from:
Spring or coil mattresses used to be the standard of sleeping. Everyone had them. And while there are other options on the market these days, innerspring mattresses remain a popular choice. The springs in these mattresses have different shapes and patterns, determining the level of support and comfort they provide.
Some spring mattresses do not last as long as others, but they do tend to be more affordable than the other options on this list, which is part of the reason why they're still popular. They provide great edge support but some don't conform to your body as well as others. Plus, another consideration is that some spring mattresses can be noisier than others, which could disturb your sleep as you or your partner move.
Memory foam mattresses are a more recent addition to the market, and they keep gaining popularity. These mattresses provide great support while you sleep as they conform and contour to the shape of your body. Many people find this a more comfortable sleep compared to innerspring mattresses.
Foam mattresses might not be for you if you tend to get too hot in the night, though. They're not great at allowing air through the material, meaning they retain your body heat and warm you up in the night.
Latex mattresses are similar to memory foam mattresses, although they tend to be a bit more on the expensive side. Like memory foam, they're great at providing you with comfort and support in the night.
They're also impressively dust-resistant, making them a good choice for people with allergies. One advantage it has over memory foam is that it does not absorb and retain heat as readily, making it a cooler night's sleep.
A hybrid mattress, as the name suggests, is a combination of two different mattress types. Most commonly, a hybrid mattress will have a spring or coil base with a memory foam or latex foam top.
This combines the best of both, allowing greater airflow through the mattress to keep you cool while still having the support and comfortable top of a foam mattress. Hybrid mattresses are more expensive, though, compared to the above options.
Mattresses with adjustable bases are designed to help with a variety of sleep disturbances, pain problems, and other medical conditions like heartburn and sleep apnea. You can adjust the angle and position of the mattress as well as enjoying other features like massage and temperature control.
As you'd expect, these mattresses can be expensive, but they are extremely comfortable and can help you get a good night's sleep even when you're experiencing pain or other symptoms. Adjusting your mattress will create some noise and movement, as you would expect, which might disrupt your partner's sleep.
Do you prefer a soft mattress, a firm one, or somewhere in between? A lot of people don't really know their preference until, like Goldilocks, they've tested out a few to find the one that's just right.
Soft vs. firm mattresses
Why would someone choose a hard mattress when a softer one sounds so much more comfortable? The main advantage of firm mattresses is that they provide more spinal support, making them good for posture and back pain. Some people simply find firm mattresses more comfortable than softer ones than they sink into.
As well as preference, weight can play a factor in choosing mattress firmness. The heavier you are, the more you will sink into the mattress as you lie there. So, firmer mattresses tend to be better for heavier people.
How is firmness measured?
It's not an absolute of choosing a soft mattress or a firm mattress. Most mattresses are actually measured on a scale from 1-10 in terms of firmness, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest.
It's uncommon to see mattresses sold at the extremes of this scale, and most people prefer a mattress somewhere between 3-8. This middle ground provides a good balance of comfort and support to give you a good night’s sleep, but where you fall on this scale is mostly subjective.
Best type of mattress based on how you sleep
Another factor that impacts the best mattress material and firmness for you is the position in which you sleep. That might be on your back, or your front, or you might switch between multiple positions during the night.
If you sleep on your back, then you are spreading your weight fairly evenly across the mattress, rather than placing too much pressure on any single body part. To give your spine the most support possible when sleeping on your back, a firm or medium-firm mattress is your best choice.
You're not too limited when it comes to the type of mattress you choose since your spine is already in a neutral position, so foam, spring, or hybrid mattresses should be fine for you.
Sleeping on your front or your stomach can place a lot of pressure on the pelvis. If your mattress does not provide enough support, then your hips may end up sinking into it, putting your spine in an uncomfortable position. So, avoid mattresses that are too soft if you sleep on your stomach.
People who sleep on their side should opt for mattresses with a soft-to-medium firmness level. Sleeping on your side can place a lot of pressure on your
shoulder and hip joints, which is why a softer mattress that conforms to your body position is better. For this reason, foam or hybrid mattresses tend
to be better for side sleepers than spring or coil ones.
Combination sleepers tend to change positions during the night, shifting from their back to their side, for example. This can make choosing the right mattress more difficult because your needs may change as you move during the night.
Best type of mattress for pain management
Back pain is a frustratingly common problem across the world. Almost 4 million Australians reportedly suffer from back pain.
The wrong mattress or an old, worn out mattress can cause or worsen back pain, while the right mattress can relieve back pain and other chronic pain conditions. The tips discussed above should help you to choose the right mattress for your body type and sleeping position, but if you already suffer from chronic pain or a specific health condition, then you might need something more specialised.
As we've already mentioned, an adjustable mattress can be the perfect solution for pain management Mattresses designed with orthopedics in mind, like the Sealy Posturepedic range of mattresses, also help ensure that you get the support your spine and joints need.
Another important factor in your sleep comfort is having enough space to really get comfy. The size of mattress you need will generally depend on your height and overall body size, whether you sleep alone or with a partner, and what position you sleep in – whether you like to spread out or curl up tight.
The size of the room may also play a part if you don't have much space for the larger mattress sizes. So, make sure you measure your room before you go shopping for a new mattress.
If you're buying a mattress for your child, think about how much they'll grow over the few years. It may be better to get them a larger mattress than to keep buying new ones every couple of years.
Here are the main sizes to choose from:
Now that you are more knowledgeable about what you need from a mattress, the next step in buying one is to figure out how much you’ll have to spend. And like any big purchase, it’s important to set yourself a budget.
You may be reluctant to spend more on your mattress, but remember that a good quality mattress will keep you comfortable for longer, meaning you won’t
have to replace it any time soon, saving you money in the long run.