Ensure that your nightly visits with the Sandman are not disrupted simply by asking, “Whats the best mattress for me?” and by finding the answer right here.
How exactly does my mattress affect my sleep?
A fitful, restless, sleep takes its toll on the human body sooner or later, and eventually us toss-and-turners are forced to ask these questions: Why is this happening, what is it effecting, and whats the best mattress to make it stop?
Rest assured (no pun intended), that you are not the only one waking up stiff, fatigued, and plagued by the these questions. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that 47 million Americans are waking up right beside you and proceeding into their day with enhanced behavioral problems and decreased productivity.
Could this daily and relentless fatigue be due to something as simple as the mattresses your sleeping on?
“A mattress can impact a person’s sleep,” says Michael Decker, PhD, RN, Associate Professor at Georgia State University, and a spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “When you lie on any part of your body for an extended period of time, the weight of it reduces the flow of blood through those blood vessels, which deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients. This causes nerve cells and pain sensors in your skin to send a message to your brain for you to roll over. Rolling over restores blood flow to the area, but it also briefly interrupts your sleep.”
This brief interruption seems harmless enough, but during sleep our bodies repair themselves by rebooting our immune systems, rejuvenating our serotonin levels, and sharpening our memory and reflexive capability.
If you’re waking up feeling as though any of these are not being properly restored, then chances are your mattress is the culprit. According to Dr. Decker, “a mattress that reduces the pressure points on your body should give you a better night’s sleep”, which will allow your body to undergo the restoration that it needs.
However, tackling the mattress market isn’t as easy as buying a new pair of shoes. There’s a lot to consider to find the best mattress for your sleep preferences, body type, and medical condition.
Learning Which is the Best Mattress
BEST MATTRESS: SUPPORT, SOFTNESS, & SIZE
The three most important things to consider when you embark on your search for finding out whats the best mattress include:
SUPPORT; We all love a mattress that makes you feel like you’re resting upon a cloud, but spinal support is key to avoiding stabs of pain through the night and stiffness the following morning.
SOFTNESS; That isn’t to say that softness isn’t important, as well. It has its place in a well-built mattress that compliments the structural support system. Make sure to ask your salesman how support & softness work together in the mattress your considering for purchase.
SIZE; According to the Better Sleep Council, during a healthy night of sleep we do around 12 full body turns and somewhere between 40-60 movements. This makes the size of your bed very important, especially when occupied by more than one individual.
CONSIDER YOUR SLEEP STYLE
When choosing a mattress, it’s important to take note of what your sleeping style is in order to find the best fit for you. This is especially important if you’re shopping on a budget. High end memory foam and latex lines are the best mattress options in terms of customer ratings, but they can also break the bank. Many innersprings can provide affordable comfort at first for some sleepers, but tend to breakdown within a couple years. Knowing your sleep style (and the mattress marketplace) can help you choose the cost-efficient option that’s best for you.
Sleep on your stomach? For this style of sleep, support is of the utmost importance. The best mattress is one that is firm and a bit stiff, which will keep you from developing lower back pain over time by keeping your body aligned, as opposed to sunken inward unnaturally. Firm latex and memory foam will keep your body aligned, without putting undue pressure on arms, ribs, and hips.
Sleep on your side? Side sleepers require a softer option, something that doesn’t put stress on your shoulders and hips, but “cradles” them instead. This is where it’s important to find that balance between support and soft; for instance, the best mattress would be a plusher model, rather then one that’s too firm and places disproportionate pressure on hips and shoulders. Look for plush memory memory foam with at least 4″ of memory material, or other options with thick, plush tops.
Sleep on your back? For you, lower back support is the most important thing and to find the balance, medium-firm is the best mattress option. Be sure to avoid overly stiff spring mattresses that will push against your spine and choose an option that will provide enough support for the curve of your back. The best mattress is one that conforms to your spine, allowing your lower back to decompress at night.
Combine all sleep styles? In this case, your best mattress choice is going to depend on your personal comfort level. Make sure to try out a mattress before purchasing and give preference to medium mattresses, as these tend to be the most comfortable for multiple sleep styles.
KEEP YOUR ALLERGIES IN MIND
For buyers who have allergies, or even asthma, a hypoallergenic mattress could be of interest to you, but make sure that you do your homework as you can spend a great deal of money on something that merely claims to be hypoallergenic.
“There are a lot of claims made by mattress manufacturers that their mattresses are hypoallergenic, or don’t support the growth of dust mites, but I don’t know of any scientific evidence to support these claims,” says Paul V. Williams, MD, a pediatrics professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and allergist at Northwest Allergy and Asthma Center in Washington State.
Dust mites will dwell wherever there are dead skin cells to consume, so it’s important to regularly wash sheets, bedding and pillows, and to go with a washable mattress encasing that will limit your mattress’s exposure to dust mites. In so doing, limiting their food supply.
Another option is natural latex mattresses, which are noted to be a “green” alternative, is naturally antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and is highly resistant to dust mites due to their material and structure.
BE A SMART SHOPPER
At the end of the day, the mattress that you buy needs to reflect your comfort level, budget, and expectations. This includes being able to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, instead of stiff.
Here are a few tips for being a smart mattress shopper:
WARRANTIES; Be mindful of warranties, as even the ones with the most longevity don’t always cover normal wear or comfort issues. Look specifically for a comfort guarantee that allows you to return or exchange with minimal cost, just in case your first choice isn’t the best mattress for you.
COMPARABLES; Know that comparison-shopping with mattresses can prove very difficult as certain brands can only sell a line exclusively to one department store. This means that if you try to go purchase what should be the same mattress at a competing store, it won’t be exactly the same. Some design attributes will have to have been changed to stay in line with the exclusivity agreement the brand has with one department store over another. When comparing, consider the support systems and material composition and focus less on covers, colors, and collection names.
ALWAYS TEST-DRIVE; Don’t be shy! Your salesperson will expect you to want to try out the mattress and it’s recommended that you lay down for about ten minutes on each side to get a good preview. When shopping online, opt for retailers that offer trial periods and free exchanges or returns just in case.
These tips are designed help arm you with important information and hopefully provide guidance so you can discover whats the best mattress for your needs – Happy mattress buying!