how to choose a mattress

Let’s start by talking about how you decide whether you need a new mattress. There’s no sense in spending up to get a brand-new bed when you might not actually need it. 

To that end, a mattress topper might actually be the most economical thing to do.

Does Your Mattress Need Replacing? 

First, you should probably be thinking about a new mattress around the time period of its suggested useful life, and that’s between seven and 12 years. From there, you have to look out for sagging or body impressions. So most people should be rotating their beds between two and four times per year, but a lot of people don’t do that. 

Because of that, they end up with either a huge crater in the center of the bed because that’s where they’re sleeping, or they get one side that wears much more quickly than the other. If your mattress is sagging or has a body impression when no weight is on it of about a half an inch to maybe an inch and a quarter, you should be thinking about a new bed because you’re basically sleeping on a compromised mattress. 

And the other thing that’s important with this one is your mattress foundation: you need to get one that solid doesn’t have any give to it. It is really important to meet the criteria for your mattresses warranty. A lot of people probably have a mattress that was just fine, but they put it on a foundation that doesn’t really meet the criteria for their warranty. That means that they need a new bed and they can’t access that warranty. 

Of course, the last warning sign is pain. So if you’re experiencing low back pain, upper back pain, pain resulting from your sciatica, maybe with your hips, might want to think about getting an entirely new mattress, it might be the bed that’s actually making things worse, you should definitely consult your physician and your chiropractor so that you can figure out the right bed for your particular situation. 

How Do You Shop for a Mattress? 

Now when you do start shopping for a mattress, there are really two types of beds that you’ll encounter. 

All Foam Beds 

Number one, all foam beds. So as the name states, these are entirely made of foam, they are typically more affordable to make, they’re typically lighter. And that’s why you see so many bed in a box companies out there. Because it’s more affordable to make the bed it’s lighter so they can ship it in a box via FedEx or UPS—they can also offer completely free returns. That’s why so many people are trying them, and that’s why so many brands are out there because it makes sense for both the customer and the brand.

You will usually see polyurethane foam mostly as a support core memory foam latex foam or some sort of proprietary foam on the bed. I’ll link a few example beds of each one of those down below in the description so you can check them out. There are some big name brands that utilize a lot of these foams. 

Hybrid Beds

The other type is a hybrid bed and this is really combining two types of material that are dissimilar. So you might see coils and foam, coils and gel, gel and foam, or even air and foam, you’re going to see two different types of materials jammed together on a mattress. These can be great. There’s a lot of people that absolutely love these beds. 

Other Factors that Go Into Choosing a Mattress 

Firmness

Now, just because you get an all-foam bed or a hybrid bed that doesn’t really say anything about the firmness profile of the bed. It really just says something about its construction. 

We can categorize firmness into five different categories: soft, medium, soft, medium, medium, firm, and firm. That’s the best way to do it. 

Otherwise, it kind of gets a little convoluted with all these different beds. On a scale between soft and firm, if you’re a strict side sleeper you’re probably going to want a little bit softer of a mattress just to allow nice pressure relief for your shoulders, and your hips in particular. 

This however, is more of an art than a science because everybody’s different and firmness is a little bit subjective. 

Now let’s talk about strict back or stomach sleepers. These are similar in terms of the firmness that you want, you’re generally going to be looking for a little bit firmer of the bed, you want to keep your hips and your spine in proper alignment. If it’s too soft, your hips are going to sag down again this varies by person and by your weight. 

For combination sleepers, where you rotate positions at night, you need kind of an interesting mattress: you need one that’s soft, but not too soft. The right mattress provides pressure relief, but not too much. You’ll basically need to play to your dominant sleeping position. 

Now for couples, this one is a little bit harder to please because you’re trying to you know match two people up right, you have to worry about weight, size, sleeping preferences, what sleeping position you guys sleep in. 

Body Weight 

Your weight is also really key when you’re choosing a new mattress, lighter individuals, they can get away with anything. That’s why so many bed and box companies are really popular because young professionals, college students, people in their 30s, they can pretty much sleep on any mattress they want as long as they’re under 250 pounds. 

So that’s why so many people are buying those beds, and they can really choose anything. 

If you’re over 250 pounds or are in that range, you need to be a little bit more selective with your mattress. The list of beds you can choose from is narrowed.  For a lot of people that are a little bit heavier, you think you’re going to spend a ton of money on a brand-new bed, there are some really affordable great beds that are specifically designed for people that are a little bit heavier. 

Just know that when you are heavier, you’re putting more stress on the bed, you’re probably looking for something with coils, and extra support.

Budget

Now the last thing is your budget, but that’s obviously up to you right. One thing to add is that you shouldn’t be so concentrated on the price: just because a mattress is more affordable doesn’t make it bad. Conversely, just because a bed is really expensive doesn’t make it the best one ever. 

Focus on your sleep or type the firmness you want and the material preferences that you have. Be a little bit more flexible with your budget both up and down.