Forgive me if I sleep until I wake up.
That sounds great doesn’t it? Sleeping the entire night without turning into the fabled princess who finds a pea under her mattresses. By the way, what’s the lesson in that fairy tale besides not getting a good night’s sleep? And who wants that?
More and more studies are proving the importance of regular sleep and how detrimental the lack thereof can be to our overall health. Additionally, many people suffer from sleep disorders or have physical conditions that can interrupt their sleep, including insomnia, Parkinson’s Disease, or restless leg syndrome. I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about. If you have not experienced poor or interrupted sleep yourself, you probably know someone who has.
So, how do we combat a restless night’s sleep? In a 2012 National Sleep Foundation poll, nine out of 10 respondents reported their mattress was critical to their sleep experience, and four in 10 (41%) reported they tossed and turned at least a few nights a week. There may be a few ways to solve this sleeping problem. Based on the study, getting the right mattress is a great start. Let’s look at the different options available in the market to determine which mattress best meets your sleeping needs.
Buying a new mattress is a big deal. It can be one of the most expensive and important purchases you make. Because we tend to keep our mattresses for at least 10 years, we may only have to make this type of purchase a handful of times over our lifetime. To find your best mattress, there are a few things you will want to consider during your search: mattress size and type, your sleep style, and your body height and weight.
Mattress Sizes for All
Most mattresses come in standard sizes, including:
- Twin, 38” x 75”
- Twin XL, 38” x 80”
- Three-Quarter, 48” x 75”
- Full, 54” x 75”
- Full XL, 53” x 80”
- Queen, 60” x 80”
- King, 76” x 80”
- California King, 72” x 84”
Nearly 15% of all men in the United States are six feet or taller and 5% of women are 5’9” and up. To accommodate tall folks, extra-long sizes are available in twin and full as well as the California King, which is 84” in length. Additionally, you can have a customized mattress made to, for example, fit into an RV or another specialized space.
If you are the parent or caretaker of a child or adult (could also be individual) with special needs, there are beds designed to protect them while they sleep.These beds tend to be expensive, however, can be covered by private insurance or Medicaid.
Pick Your Best Mattress
Let's Talk Firmness
Mattresses can come in different firmness levels. Here are the recommendations based on particular sleeping positions and body types:
- Soft: not recommended for any sleep style or body type due to the lack of spine and hip pressure-point support
- Medium-Soft: recommended for side sleepers
- Medium-Firm: recommended for most sleep styles and body types including those who suffer from back pain and/or are petite
- Firm: recommended for overweight individuals (10” thickness), the elderly, and the disabled (depending on disability). If an individual is over 250 pounds, a 12” or thicker mattress is recommended. A pillow topper can be added for extra comfort
Innerspring mattresses, the most traditional type, are composed of steel coils in different configurations that determine the firmness and support of the bed. They also have a cushion or encasing layer that offers protection against the coils and provide additional support for the sleeper. This is the most common type of mattress and is available in a variety of styles at varying prices. Durability can be an issue with innersprings compared to other models, however, these mattresses offer stronger edges which is an important feature for the elderly or disabled who may have difficulty getting in and out of bed.
- Sleep Styles: most sleep styles but especially stomach sleepers
- Body Types: good for most body types but highly recommended for overweight individuals, the elderly, the disabled
- Coolness: recommended for individuals who tend to sleep “hot” due to its breathability factor
- Movement Transfer & Bounce: High. Not recommended for couples with different sleep styles
Memory foam mattresses came on the scene in the 1990s and took the industry by storm. The beds are made of different materials including polyurethane and latex, or a combination of both. The memory foam softens when you lie on it and then slowly molds to your body shape, offering exceptional body contouring. When you get out of bed, the foam returns to its original shape. Due to the contouring of the material, it may be difficult for some individuals to reposition themselves or get out of bed.
- Sleep Styles: side and back sleepers, individuals who suffer from back pain. Not recommended by stomach sleepers
- Body Types: not recommended for petite, overweight individuals, disabled, or seniors who require a stronger bed edge
- Coolness: memory form not recommended for “hot” sleepers, latex has more breathability
- Movement Transfer & Bounce: Low. Recommended for couples who have different sleep patterns
This mattress type combines the innerspring system of coils with memory foam, offering the support of a traditional mattress with the contouring capability of memory foam. Hybrids tend to be more expensive than other models but provide the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and durability.
- Sleep Styles: good for all sleep styles but especially for back and stomach sleepers
- Body Types: recommended for most body types but especially for overweight individuals
- Coolness: better than memory foam (non-latex) but less than innerspring, may not be appropriate for “hot” sleepers if non-latex memory foam material
- Movement Transfer & Bounce: medium; recommended for couples who have different sleep patterns
Adjustable beds are the fastest growing type of bed in the industry and for good reason. The bed offers incredible benefits to people who suffer from sleep disorders including sleep apnea, insomnia, snoring, and restless leg syndrome, as it allows you to raise your head or legs for support and improved sleep. This is also a good choice of bed for couples who have different sleep habits and is a great choice for disabled individuals as well as seniors, who now make up 15% of the U.S. population. Although this type of bed is expensive, the health benefits may outweigh the price tag.
Besides the Best Mattress, Design Your Best Room
In addition to purchasing the right mattress, there are other things you can do to help get the best sleep every night for the rest of your life. Therapeutic pillows, black-out curtains, and white noise machines are just a few of the things you can add to your bedroom to help you sleep. For more on how to get a better sleep, check out our article, “Tips for a Better Sleep.”
Say Goodnight, Gracie
Unlike shopping for automobiles, studies show we like to go shopping for mattresses; however, we are embarrassed to lie on beds in the showroom. Many mattresses are now available online and delivered through the mail and usually have generous trial periods. If you prefer to “test drive” in a store, take your time and don’t be intimidated: 20 minutes per mattress is the recommended amount of test drive time.
Also, be sure to ask about trial periods and return policies. Many companies give you 30+ days to try out the mattress at home. Also, be sure to find out the return policies and associated charges as well as what the warranty covers. You can also buy a base, box spring or other products through most companies, when you purchase your mattress. Finally, keep in mind that price doesn’t always translate to best, so don’t get hung up on the notion that price equals better. The typical mattress purchase in the United States is $1,000, with many good models costing a lot less.
When you’re ready to shop, take a look at our best selection of mattresses on the market. Here’s to finding your best sleep. We truly hope you do.