Choosing the right mattress can be daunting. That’s because finding the perfect sleep solution is dependent on a number of factors—including your your sleep position, body type and comfort preferences.
The right mattress will provide proper spinal alignment, along with just the right amount of pressure point relief and support to emulate an almost weightless feel. Here, then, are a few guidelines to help you find the perfect fit.
Determining your sleep position is an important step in choosing the right mattress. Are you a side, back or stomach sleeper—or a combination? Here are a few general tips for each type of sleeper:
- Side sleepers typically prefer a medium to soft comfort level to alleviate pressure points in the lower hip and shoulder areas. A zoned mattress—designed with a firmer middler and softer, contouring head and foot surface—creates the perfect symmetry to cradle your entire body in comfort while providing critical support in the center of the mattress. Bonus tip: side sleepers also tend to prefer higher loft pillows which cradle the neck and head while elevating the shoulders.
- Back sleepers have the most options—anything from a very soft to really firm level may suit you depending on your weight and comfort preferences. Bonus tip: Back sleepers have the latitude to sleep on either high or low profile pillows; back sleepers who snore, however, should choose a higher loft pillow to help open the airways.
- Stomach sleepers typically need a firmer surface to ensure proper support and spinal alignment. Bonus tip: stomach sleepers should also look for a lower loft pillow to avoid stiffness and aches and pains in the neck, shoulder and back regions.
Your weight is one of the most important factors when finding the perfect sleep solution. A mattress that is not firm enough can lead to improper spinal alignment, causing problems like lower back issues in the morning. Independent studies by SleepLikeTheDead.com have found that, the heavier you are, the more you will benefit from a thicker and firmer mattress. This does not necessarily mean all low profile mattresses are suitable for lighter individuals, but it is a strong recommendation for plus-size individuals to choose a more substantive sleep surface. Some mattress types, such as memory foam or latex, can provide comfort and support benefits for virtually any size person.
Regardless of mattress norms, you know your comfort preference better than anyone else. If you’ve preferred sleeping on a firm mattress for 20-plus years, it’s probable you’ll enjoy a firmer feeling mattress in a newer model. With the constant evolution of technology and materials, though, now is a good time to explore your options. If you’re unsure about the best fit for you, a quality mattress company can give you a professional recommendation based on your unique sleep needs and profile.
The type of support you need from your mattress is a product of all three factors listed above. If you experience any of the following pain points, it’s time to start looking for a better sleep system:
Headaches, Neck Pain and/or Knots
Attributed to: bad sleeping posture or unsupportive pillows that lead to tension in your neck muscles.
Numbness, Accompanied by Tossing and Turning
Attributed to: too much pressure on the shoulders, which can hinder blood circulation and cause achy shoulders as well as numbness in your arms and hands. Your body sends signals to adjust, even while you sleep, causing you to toss and turn.
Chronic Back Pain
Attributed to: lack of proper spinal support, which can cause stiffness and back pain, primarily in the lower regions. Sleeping incorrectly for prolonged periods can also cause joints to slightly dislocate, which contributes to chronic back pain.
Hip Pain and Joint Inflammation
Attributed to: your mattress being too soft, which allows your hips to sink and bottom out. This can aggravate pressure points and hinder blood circulation. An excessively soft mattress can also cause hip pain and inflammation of the joints while diminishing your overall quality of sleep.
One final tip: when you switch to a new mattress or mattress material, it can take two to three weeks to adjust to a different type of comfort and support.
If you’re in the market for a new mattress and need more information on all the different options available, Brooklyn Bedding offers a Mattress 101 page called Sleepology to help you get a handle on features and benefits of the most common types of mattresses. It’s never too late to get you best sleep ever!