Determining if you need a new Mattress
Whether you are seriously looking to improve your sleep, or just curious to know what’s out there in the world of mattresses, there are some basic things to keep in mind. Most importantly is to stay aware of whether you need a new mattress, and how best to determine if you do. You can split this into two different criteria: your body, and your bed.
How is your body's condition?
If you’re not sleeping well, that is a big red flag. Although factors like stress and diet have been pointed out as possible causes of a bad night’s rest, the direct physical affect of a mattress is undeniably a cause for a good or bad night’s rest. If you are constantly waking up sore, get tired earlier in the day, or just can’t fall asleep, it may be because your body and your mattress are just not compatible. Or you should ask yourself the next question…
How is the condition of your mattress?
Not everyone remembers exactly when he or she bought his or her mattress. But it’s good to keep in mind that mattresses have a life span, and do wear out. A collapsing, frayed, noisy mattress is a sure sign that the wear and tear has overtaken the original quality of the mattress. If this is happening, then you definitely need a new mattress.
Remember, there are many mattress options out there – from innerspring mattresses, latex mattresses and memory foam mattresses to air beds, adjustable beds and waterbeds – with Tempurpedic, Sleep Number and Sealy among the most popular brands. Read more about the different types of mattresses and see what might be the best mattress for you.
Important Qualities of a Bed
Every important investment combines the practical and the personal. There is no truer statement that applies to the investment you make when you are buying a bed. The practical elements of a mattress, though available in wide ranging materials and firmness, are quite common through all, whether it’s memory foammemory foam, airair, or latexlatex or innerspringinnerspring. But what’s personal to you – how you like to sleep, what you find comfortable, and – most of all – what feels right, is something that is much more unique.
But a good rule of thumb is to be aware of the practical, so that your personal decision is better informed. Think about the following qualities when choosing a bed:
- Comfort and Support. These do go hand in hand – finding the right firmness, coupled with the right cushioning is what can create a superlative sleep experience. You want a mattress that can support you, but make sure that if you can, to test out a mattress for at least twenty minutes to make sure that it feels good.
- Space. It’s not just about how much room it takes up in your bedroom, but how much space it gives you, and a potential sleeping partner. The last thing you want is to feel crowded – especially when you’re sleeping alone. There are simple ways to figure out how to choose the right size.
- Durability. Five to seven years is the standard lifespan for a mattress, although materials like memory foam and latex can last much longer. Make sure the mattress you buy has a good warranty, because what’s the point of buying one if it’s not going to last?
- Foundation. People tend to forget that a bed is not just a mattress and frame – mattresses need the right foundation, whether it is a box spring or slats – and they’re not interchangeable between different types of mattresses. The wrong foundation can reduce the effectiveness of a mattress so take this seriously.
Whether you are looking for good value, or will pay anything for a good night’s rest, just remember to not buy blindly. Do your research, remember these qualities, and take your time to choose the right mattress. Check out our mattress comparison page for more about the different types of mattresses.
How to Choose the Right Size
Choosing the right size mattress is not as simple as you might think – people tend to only think of the length and width of the mattress itself, but there are more factors at play. The thickness of the mattress is a huge consideration for support and comfort, and the available space around the bed can end up being limiting. Make sure to look at the big picture before choosing a mattress size, and follow a couple of simple tips.
Standard mattress sizes, from an innerspring mattress to a memory foam mattress, come in the following: King, Queen, Double, Twin, Single, and Cot. But in between, there are even more variations, from California King (which are longer, but narrower than a traditional King), Double XL’s (between a Double and a Queen), 3/4’s (a wide Twin), and a Twin XL (a long Twin). Long and wide options are perfect for particularly tall people, or for when you just want some extra room to stretch out. Confused by all the choices? Looking at a visual diagram can be a helpful tool.
Another useful tool is measuring tape. If you have no idea what size your current mattress is, or have an empty bed frame that needs a new one, make sure to measure how much space you have. A mattress that’s too big may not fit, and one too small will just look weird. If you’re starting from scratch, measure out your bedroom, so you can get a sense of how much room a particular mattress size will take up. You’ll save yourself some unwanted surprises that way.
Choosing the right size mattress is not an exact science, but by knowing what’s out there and determining your needs, you will be able to find the right one.
Does Memory Foam Really Work?
There’s nothing wrong with questioning new discoveries. Surely there were people who questioned the computer, the radio, and gravity, even fire. When the memory foam mattress was introduced in 1992, it was certainly met with skepticism – after years of padding and coils it was hard to look at a mattress in a new light. Yet nearly twenty years later, brands like Tempur-Pedic and AngelBeds are still selling strong. So do memory foam mattresses accomplish what they claim?
Foam has been a component of the typical innerspring mattress for years, mainly as a buffer between the metal support coils and upholstery. It was only a matter of time before someone invented foam that was dense and complex enough to be the centerpiece. NASA did this by creating foam with millions of tiny air pockets that reacted to pressure and heat. So when a sleeper rests on a memory foam mattress, their body heat and weight cause the air pockets to collapse and conform to their body shape. This means that the sleeper will virtually melt into the memory foam and the mattress will relieve all of the pressure points by supporting the body’s natural curves.
The theory is great, and in practice, those who adopt memory foam mattresses, like a Tempurpedic mattress, report incredible results in consumer studies, with over 90% of users rating their experience to be excellent or very good. But as a word of caution, not everyone likes to sink into the mattress, because it can feel too snug, and limits movement. Thinking hard about what makes you comfortable as an individual should influence your decision overall.
How Do Innerspring Mattresses Work?
After almost a hundred years of being the dominant mattress on the market, we are in danger of taking the innerspring mattress for granted. How many times have you actually thought about the inner workings of the mattresses that you grew up with and most likely still sleep on today? It’s proven that these mattresses work – by learning a little more about how they do work – you may be able to rediscover the perfect night’s sleep with a classic tradition.
The most significant element of an innerspring mattress is the core system of coils. These provide the support that is needed for a good night’s rest, but depending on the shape of coil you choose – from pocketed coils to hourglass coils and continuous coils – you can considerably alter the how much comfort and support you get. Along with the shape, the gauge, or thickness of the coil makes a difference in terms of strength, and you should always be aware of the tempering of the coil to measure its durability.
But the foundation of a mattress can make a difference to its overall effectiveness. A good foundation will aid the mattress and help shoulder the pressure of body weight. Box springs are the most common, but more and more torsion module foundations and bed frames with slatted wood bases have been coming onto the market. While you are free to choose the foundation you want, you can trust predetermined mattress / foundation sets to give you the correct combination of mattress and foundation.
The third major component of an innerspring mattress is the upholstery. This upper part of the mattress provides the insulation, cushioning, and softness through layers of foam and soft fibers. While the coils provide the most support, the upholstery – ranging from ‘pillow top’ to ‘Euro top’ is what is responsible for the comfort, and feeling that you’re sleeping on the softest bed ever.
So when you start the process of choosing a mattress, remember that you can get innerspring mattresses that work well in more combinations than all of the other mattresses available. By finding the right combination of the three elements, you can virtually guarantee a good night’s sleep for years to come.
Check out Simmons, Sealy, Serta, and King Koil – some of the most respected innerspring mattress brands to see what they have to offer.
Advantages of Air Beds
Imagine having a bed with a renewable core – something that on a nightly basis can be refilled and returned to a condition that’s as good as new. When your core is comprised of air, this is entirely possible, and is one of the major reasons why air beds like Sleep Number beds are so popular. But aside from using one of the nature’s key resources, there are several advantages of air beds that should be considered by anyone looking for a new mattress.
First, air beds are incredibly flexible in terms of support. The air filled core is entirely adjustable, and with the simple touch of a button, you can make your air mattress firmer or softer, according to your tastes. This is an advantage for people whose sleeping habits can change seasonally, or for circumstances like injury, happy events like pregnancy, or even on a nightly basis.
Also, air beds can have two independent halves, so that couples can adjust their side of the bed to their own needs. This increases the chances that both sleepers will enjoy a good night’s rest, and not just one.
Portable air beds also offer a level of portability and space saving storage, as they are completely collapsible. While early portable air beds were criticized for being flimsy and more like an air bag, advancements in construction quality have increased the durability and comfort level, making them a solid spare bed investment.
Durable, adjustable, and comfortable, air beds like those found at Dream Number Beds and Select Comfort are wonderful options to be considered.
Do you have the right frame for your mattress?
No investment in a new mattress is entirely complete without having the right foundation. You may not think it at first, but choosing the right frame for your mattress is as important as finding the mattress itself. From optimizing the comfort and support of your mattress, to helping create the most relaxing bedroom atmosphere, the right bed frame can do wonders for your sleep experience. Make sure you have all the information you need to pick one that is compatible to your mattress.
The most obvious thing to consider is the size. It’s a good idea to measure your bed frame to see what kind of mattress it can accommodate. It may sound silly, but it’s not out of the ordinary to end up buying a king size mattress while you only have a queen size frame handy, or have a frame that is too big for your current mattress. Having a mattress spilling over the sides is one of the worst things you can do to the effectiveness of your mattress and for your sleep.
Unfortunately, even if you do have the right size, not all bed frames are compatible with every mattress. Memory foam mattresses, for example, do not function well on a traditional box spring, or any textured surface. This material is specially constructed to conform to the shape of anything it touches, which means it fares better on a solid, flat surface. Air beds, adjustable beds, and waterbeds also function best in custom frames created specifically for their specialized mattresses.
If you invested in a new mattress and feel like it’s not doing everything you thought it would, before you return it or look for a new one, take at a look at your frame. You may just find that it’s time to upgrade or switch to a more compatible model for your mattress.