How to Choose a Mattress: Complete Mattress Buying Guide 2022

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How to Choose a Mattress: Complete Mattress Buying Guide 2022

You’d want everything new after moving to a new house, and a new mattress also falls under that list. But the whole tedious process of mattress buying drives you crazy. We all know how having a good night’s sleep is advantageous for health. We often notice how a messed-up sleep cycle leads to anxiety, stress, and mood swings throughout the day. We all know how costly mattresses can be and, therefore, have specific ways of knowing how to choose a mattress?

Mattress Types

When buying a new mattress, you wish to buy yourself the best mattress. But, without prior knowledge of the diverse mattress types, it can become overwhelming to choose from. Remember, once you enter the bedding showroom, you will be flooded with types of mattresses – each having a specific firmness level and each claiming to be the best type of mattress. But, worry not, we have got you covered with the types of mattresses:

Foam

Memory foam mattresses are stealing the limelight because of their supreme pressure-relieving feature. If choosing the best mattress for back pain, simply for memory foam mattresses – they take off the pressure from the body and distribute it thoroughly. Memory foam mattresses are famous for offering a cradling effect to the body while sleeping. Side sleepers and those suffering from back pain pick a memory foam mattress. 

Hybrid

When learning how to choose a mattress, hybrid mattresses might catch your attention. Hybrid mattresses are made of a blend of memory foam mattresses and coils. The coils are placed at the bottom to provide support, while the foam is fixated on the top for the lush feeling. If you are curious about the cost of a new mattress, especially the hybrid ones, it will be pricey because it provides you the sensation of two materials at the same time. 

Latex

When choosing a mattress, pick a latex mattress for people who like it organic. Why? Latex mattresses are sustainable ones and, therefore, quite heavy on the pockets. It is quite similar to the memory foam ones but is more resilient. You can choose between two latex mattress types – denser Dunlop and Talalay, which are very tender, though it is quite impossible to find the difference between them. Latex mattresses are relatively bouncy, and you will not experience the sinking-in feel.  

Innerspring

When buying a mattress, you can also consider an innerspring mattress consisting of steel coils, thereby offering firmness. This firmness gifts stomach and back sleepers with utmost relaxation in their spines, keeping them straight. Two factors you need to consider about innerspring mattresses when learning about how to choose a mattress:

  1. Coil Gauge: Coil gauge states the thickness of the steel, ranging from 12 to 15. The lower the number, the more, the firmer it is. 
  2. Coil Count: The coil count states the total number of coils in the mattress. A high-quality model will have 400 coils in a Queen size bed.

Airbed

Airbed mattresses are inflatable mattresses or sleeping pads. Due to its buoyant nature, it is often used as a water toy or flotation device. In certain countries, including the UK, it is known as a lilo or ready. 

Mattress Firmness

Understanding the firmness level is crucial when buying a mattress because it almost tops the list of mattress buying factors. Mattress firmness levels depend greatly on the type of sleeper and their body type. The process of how to choose the right mattress involves determining the firmness level from 1 to 10. The detailed demonstration has been stated below:

  • Side Sleepers

Your mattress shopping should include plush to medium level firmness or 5 to 6 firmness levels for side sleepers. This firmness level ensures that your hips and shoulder sink perfectly, providing backing to your lumbar and waist region. Your spine needs to be lying parallel to the base. 

  • Back Sleepers

Selecting a mattress for back sleepers will include looking for a medium firmness level. Back sleepers require a natural alignment to their spine. Just when they stand up, their spine has a slight curve. You should note that there shouldn’t be more than a finger’s width between your back and the bed just to avert muscle tension. Again, 5 to 6 firmness level is most suitable. 

  • Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers require extra reinforcement in their mattress because their upper body needs to be avoided from bowing down – otherwise, it will cause back and neck pain. For these sleepers, having a slightly firm bed is effective. Having a firmness level of 7 to 8 will work for stomach sleepers. 

When choosing a mattress, it is important to thoroughly understand the different firmness levels that otherwise lead to back, neck, and overall body pain. 

Bed Size
Mattress Measurements
Comforter Width
Comforter Length
Crib
28 inches by 52 inches
28 to 36 inches
48 to 52 inches
Twin
38 inches by 75 inches
66 to 68 inches
86 to 88 inches
Twin XL
38 inches by 80 inches
68 inches
90 inches
Full (Double)
54 inches by 75 inches
81 to 84 inches
86 to 88 inches
Queen
60 inches by 80 inches
86 to 88 inches
96 to 100 inches
King (Eastern King)
76 inches by 80 inches
102 inches
86 to 88 inches
California King (Western King)
72 inches to 84 inches
107 to 110 inches
96 to 98 inches

Mattress Thickness

One of the mandatory steps to consider when learning how to choose a mattress is the mattress thickness. The mattress thickness doesn’t define its comfort level but how it has been designed.

Most mattresses have a minimum of 2 layers. Deluxe quality mattresses comprise 4 to 5 layers each adhering to specific purposes. The cost of a new mattress highly depends on the number of layers the mattress contains – the higher the thickness, the greater the price. Below are the different categories listed that will help you in understanding: 

1. Deep or Thick Mattresses – 12 inches and above

The most lavish of the lot, the deep or thick mattresses are extra deep in consistency. They are composed of intricate layers all acting together to boost the durability, support, and comfortability of the mattress. 

2. Medium or Standard Profile Mattress – 8 to 11 inches 

Mattress thickness of 8 to 11 inches is regarded as medium or standard level. These mattresses are commonly found in the majority of people’s places. These mattresses are appropriate for every type of sleeper. 

3. Low Profile Mattresses – Less than 6 inches

It is recommended that you don’t spend money on a mattress that has a thickness of less than 6 inches. A side sleeper requires at least 5 inches to sink in, and with only 1 inch left out, it is quite obvious to bottom out. It can be used for kids, or for guest room seating, but not a recommended option for long term. 

Mattress Size

When you are in the course of learning how to choose a mattress, it is important to learn about mattress sizes as well. If you are confused about what mattress size should you get, you need to consider the diverse mattress sizes. 

1. Twin Mattress Size

Twin mattresses measure 38 by 75 inches and are most suitable for young children, teens, or any person measuring 6 feet or under. This amounts to the most affordable of all mattresses. 

2. Twin XL Mattress Size

The main difference between a twin mattress and a twin XL mattress is the length. A twin XL mattress measures 38 inches by 80 inches and is perfect for your growing child.

3. Full Mattress Size

How to choose a mattress when you both are cuddlers and looking for a compact bed? You need to find yourself a full mattress size measuring 53 inches by 75 inches. Though, if you are someone taller than 6 feet then you might take a U-turn and not go for it. 

4. Queen Mattress Size

Queen mattresses are the most popular among families of two or three. If you are someone having a kid, or a fur baby, a queen-size mattress measuring 60 inches by 80 inches would decently suffice. It is the nicest option for your guest bedroom or master bedroom as well. Moreover, the price of a queen-size mattress is almost similar to a full bed, therefore, why not invest in a bigger space?

5. King Mattress Size

Large and roomy, breezy and carefree, these are just a few ways to describe a king mattress. A king-size mattress measures 76 inches by 80 inches. For couples who like their own spaces, have kids who are playful and love sleeping with their parents, or have one or more fur babies crawling under the bedsheets at midnight, then this is the mattress you should look for. Though, for smaller spaces, this might not be the best type of mattress. 

6. California King Mattress Size

The biggest of all, a California King mattress size measures 72 inches by 84 inches and has an elongated length as can be observed. For taller couples, this is the best option. Though, moving this mattress can be a painstaking process – it is quite bulky. 

Sleeping Positions

What is your sleeping position is one of the major criteria determining how to choose a mattress. Stomach sleeper, side sleeper, or back sleeper, there are different types of sleepers, and sleeping position is one of the things to look for during selecting a mattress. 

Side sleeping position is one of the most common ones. Though it is quite detrimental to the spine alignment because of the lack of support. It has less adaptability and often results in back discomfort. This is the reason, while you are in the process of knowing how to choose a mattress, always opt for mattresses that offer optimum back support evenly distributed. 

  • Back Sleeper

The most suitable sleeping position – back sleepers find spine alignment right on point. When you lay straight on your spine, your body weight is getting rightly distributed throughout, and the natural curvature is also maintained. Reduced risk of injury and high flexibility are added advantages. Though it is still recommended to have some additional support for your lower back. 

  • Stomach Sleeper

Stomach sleeping is regarded as the most inappropriate position because of the misalignment of the spine. Early-morning soreness, neck pain, and overall body pain are quite common symptoms of stomach sleepers.  When you sleep by placing your face on a soft mattress, it will result in a stuck head. You will undergo immense neck pain if you are a stomach sleeper and your mattress is not on point. When discussing how to choose a mattress, get yourself a firmer mattress of firmness level 7 or 8. 

  • Combination Sleeper

Combination sleepers toss and turn continuously during their sleep. Therefore, if you are a combination sleeper and gaining knowledge about how to choose a mattress, opt for something that offers absolute balance to your body. 

Body Type

When choosing a new mattress, you need to consider your body type. You definitely don’t wish to sleep on the softest mattress being a heavy sleeper, and completely sink in. Body type is a critical factor to consider when reading how to choose a mattress. 

  • Heavy Sleeper

For all heavy sleepers or the ones weighing more than 130 pounds, having a 7 or 8 firmness level is essential. Since heavy sleepers tend to release more pressure, they require more support as well. Soft mattresses can feel very lush and soothing, but for heavy sleepers, they will only lead to misalignment of the spine, back and neck pain, and complete soreness. A firm mattress is perfect for maintaining spinal alignment. Latex and hybrid mattresses tend to be helpful options.

  • Light-weight Sleeper

To all the light-weight sleepers or the ones weighing 130 pounds or less reading how to choose a mattress, you need to select a medium-firm mattress having firmness levels of 5 to 6, or even below. Your mattress shouldn’t be too firm as it will result in stiffness, and uneven distribution of body weight. For these people, innerspring mattresses are not really the best option. Foam and hybrid are suitable ones.  

  • Pricing/Cost 

Here comes one of the most crucial factors determining the process of how to choose a mattress. Most of us human beings will not buy a product if it exceeds our budget way too much. That doesn’t mean that it is hard to get a multi-talented mattress at an affordable price. But before that, you need to grasp all those factors that you need to look for in a mattress and then analyze if it’s worth the money. The majority of quality mattresses range from $600 to $2,000. 

  • Materials Used

No wonder a latex mattress will cost you more than an innerspring, or memory foam. A hybrid mattress is also costlier than these two materials. Apart from these, any organic, hand-woven material will have a high pocket pinch. 

  • Construction

Quite knowingly, mattresses comprising numerous layers will have a higher price. Each layer is created in a way to perform specific functions. 

  • Mattress Type

The costliest of the lot are hybrid, latex, and airbed mattresses. Innerspring mattresses are the most affordable, and memory foam mattresses come second in terms of affordability. 

Bed Size
Mattress Measurements
Comforter Width
Comforter Length
Crib
28 inches by 52 inches
28 to 36 inches
48 to 52 inches
Twin
38 inches by 75 inches
66 to 68 inches
86 to 88 inches
Twin XL
38 inches by 80 inches
68 inches
90 inches
Full (Double)
54 inches by 75 inches
81 to 84 inches
86 to 88 inches
Queen
60 inches by 80 inches
86 to 88 inches
96 to 100 inches
King (Eastern King)
76 inches by 80 inches
102 inches
86 to 88 inches
California King (Western King)
72 inches to 84 inches
107 to 110 inches
96 to 98 inches

How to Choose a Mattress for Back Pain

Back pain has become a household issue. Every other person states about their immense back pain, and overall body soreness. One of the main reasons behind back pain is not selecting the correct mattress. Choosing the best mattress for back pain involves knowing about the cause of the pain, and how to resolve the same. There are some back pain that appears out of nowhere and is generally short-term, and those are known as acute back pain. The ones that continue to be painstaking are known as chronic back pain

Lower Back Pain

Do you know why most Americans visit their doctors, and that too quite frequently? It is because of lower back pain. Lower back pain affects five vertebrae in the lumbar region – L1 to L5. And, the wrong mattress further accentuates the issue by throwing the spine balance off guard. For side sleepers, their hips and shoulders might suffer disparity because of the improper pressure distribution. On the other hand, for stomach and back sleepers, the pain might be caused because of too firm or too soft a mattress pushing the natural curvature in a pressurized form. 

To sum it up, during mattress shopping, side sleepers need to shop for medium-soft to medium-firm firmness levels, and back and stomach sleepers should pick medium-firm to firm.

Upper Back Pain

Middle and upper back pain are comparatively rare in the count, and if this persists, you might need to see a doctor. The anatomy in these parts is relatively stronger, and sudden twists or sprains are unlikely. Middle or upper back pain is also sometimes caused by bad postures, and considering the current work-from-home scenario, the propensity has increased. For this issue, opting for a pressure-relieving mattress is good to go. 

How to Choose a Mattress for a Child

Your child requires more sleep than yours. It is our responsibility to provide them with the utmost comfort, and relaxation. Below are certain factors to consider when choosing a new mattress for your child:

  • Safety: The first and foremost factor you need to consider is  the safety of your mattress. Beds for kids, especially the ones in the crib need to be extra precautionary – they should definitely meet the safety guidelines. 
  • Size: Adults don’t outgrow, children do. Therefore, when learning how to choose a mattress for your baby, you need to select a size that can accommodate their growing phase – like a Twin or Twin XL. If you wish, you can always create a mattress specifically for your child. There are plenty of brands, shapes, sizes, and price ranges to choose your mattress from.
  • Price: When knowing how to choose the right mattress for your kid, you also need to be careful about the price. Since a child’s mattress comprises few layers, its price might not be that high. But if you wish to consider something with numerous added features, that might cost you similar to an adult’s bed.   

How to Choose a Crib Mattress

The first mandate in choosing a crib mattress is ensuring immense safety. Babies in cribs tend to toss and turn, and bringing them a crib that is fitted with all security measures will provide solace to our minds as well. How to choose a mattress for your kid? Start by following the standards stated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that talks about limited lead exposure. 

The crib you are planning to purchase needs to be of the recommended size of 27.25 inches by 51.25 inches. The thickness needs to be not greater than 6 inches. In fact, when you choose a firm crib, you are also limiting the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 

The usability of a crib mattress depends on more factors:

  • Relief of Cleaning: Opt for crib mattresses that are waterproof in nature, this will help it stay dirt-proof.
  • Weight: Your crib mattress needs to be lightweight as you might need to lift it up for cleaning.
  • Mattress Type: Foam and innerspring are two available options from which you can choose. Some brands do produce specialty mattresses that are eco-friendly in nature.

When Is the Best Time to Buy a Mattress?

Now, this is going to be an interesting section because we will be stating when is the right time to buy a new mattress. There are some days when buying a new mattress will be comparatively easier on the pocket. These are holiday weekends when you will be able to save quite a bit.

  1. President’s Day Weekend
  2. Memorial Day
  3. Fourth of July
  4. Labour Day
  5. Thanksgiving, that is, Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Unless your purchase decision is last-minute, or time-sensitive, you should definitely try out buying the mattress during these days. You will find some amazing discounts!

Where to Buy a Mattress

How to choose a mattress? One of the factors you need to determine before buying a mattress is whether you wish to purchase online or in-store. 

  1. In-store: In-store purchase is beneficial for people who wish to touch and feel the product, and understand if that is the exact material they are looking for.  Though it can be quite overwhelming as you can’t compare among diverse products. Moreover, it is really not possible to understand if that mattress would suit you just by lying down for a few minutes.
  2. Online: Online shopping for a new mattress is better for indecisive people as they get numerous options under one roof. They can compare prices, features, delivery time, and more. Moreover, you also get quite an amount of discount. 

When to Replace Mattress?

There are certain factors that are signs you need a new mattress. We have curated some of the top issues that people faced before they geared up to buy a new mattress:

  1. If you often suffer from neck, back, shoulder, and overall body pain, or joint pain
  2. Dense body impressions have left marks on the surfaces where you and your partner rest
  3. The edges of your bed have started sinking when you sit or sleep
  4. You feel fatigued and tired after waking up
  5. You suffer from dust allergies
  6.  If you own the mattress for more than 8 years
Bed Size
Mattress Measurements
Comforter Width
Comforter Length
Crib
28 inches by 52 inches
28 to 36 inches
48 to 52 inches
Twin
38 inches by 75 inches
66 to 68 inches
86 to 88 inches
Twin XL
38 inches by 80 inches
68 inches
90 inches
Full (Double)
54 inches by 75 inches
81 to 84 inches
86 to 88 inches
Queen
60 inches by 80 inches
86 to 88 inches
96 to 100 inches
King (Eastern King)
76 inches by 80 inches
102 inches
86 to 88 inches
California King (Western King)
72 inches to 84 inches
107 to 110 inches
96 to 98 inches

There are numerous steps to know when understanding how to choose a mattress. It is only after you consider all these steps and more that you should proceed buying the mattress. Remember, a mattress is quite costly, and buying the wrong one will only rip you off your hard-earned money.  

You need to replace your mattress positively if it has crossed the 8 years mark. Moreover, if you feel you are suffering from back/neck/shoulder pain, or notice edges sinking, or suffering from dust allergies, etc – these are also signs that you need a new mattress.

Mattress generally last for about 8 years. 

Choose a mattress topper by selecting the perfect size, then opt for the perfect thickness – either more than 2 inches for firmness or lesser for softness. 

You will need a box spring if:

  1. Your mattress is breaking down
  2. You are using a bed frame
  3. You need extra height
FAQS

The Log position, in which a person sleeps on their back with arms tucked into their sides, is considered the least common sleeping position.

Take a Sleep Quiz

Find out if a memory foam, hybrid, or latex mattress is the right mattress choice for you.

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Disclaimer

www.sleepauthority.com is brought to you by Resident. Our company sells Nectar, DreamCloud, Awara, Level Sleep, and Home Well Designed. While we intend for this site to be an educational and useful resource for consumers interested in sleep-related topics, we also promote our family of brands – brands that we believe in – on this website. Where we have commissioned independent research and/or articles to support our content, we will state as such in the sub-heading of the article. Where we compare our brands and products against others, we will provide the review criteria as well as state our basis for choosing the “best” or “top” product in a link accompanying the comparison. Our aim is to assist consumers in choosing the best solution for getting restful and comfortable sleep and it is our belief that there is a Resident product that meets any sleeper’s needs.

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians