Easy 7 step guide
to buying a mattress
You live in a time where there’s plenty of things that make you lose sleep. Whether it’s that Instagram feed on your phone that scrolls to infinity or your to-do list for the morning after, stresses at work playing on your mind or the constant worry about your child’s progress at school, that nagging preoccupation that tax season is around the corner, or the excitement about that holiday with your significant other.
Only the right mattress will ensure that no matter what, nothing keeps you up at night.
What is the “right” mattress, anyway? And with all the choice out there, how will you know what’s right for you? With a mindboggling array of options to consider, one of the most common mistakes to occur when purchasing a mattress is to blindly choose one on the basis of it’s construction materials alone. The truth is, what’s inside a mattress, ie: the construction material, is merely an enabler of a specific set of benefits. Every mattress, depending on what it’s constructed with and how, will offer a different range of properties and benefits.
A good quality mattress combines research, development and technology to best use these materials in a scientific way, backed by experts and sleep scientists, to offer specific benefits. Each of these mattresses is then put through a rigorous round of testing to ensure that these benefits are indeed met. So it is important that your pick a mattress not based on what’s in it, but based on how it meets your needs.
If that sounds confusing, don’t worry. This 7-step guide below will help you navigate the types of mattresses and purchase the right one for you.
First things first: there’s no single ideal or best mattress. What’s good for someone else may not be good for you, and vice versa. Every mattress packages a different set of benefits for different needs, or addresses a different pain-point.
What are you looking for in your new mattress? Do you prefer a soft mattress? Or are you more comfortable with a firm mattress? Do you have any aches and pains? Does your mattress need to cater to any other health or physical concerns? Do you tend to sweat a lot in your sleep? What is your budget? Our mattress selector can also help you make a more informed decision.
The market is abundant with mattresses of a range of materials. These differ in their internal composition and construction, which provides differing benefits for different needs, sleeping styles and conditions.
Spring mattress: made up of individually pocketed springs that minimize motion transfer across the mattress, making this a good choice if you, or the person you share a bed with, are a restless sleeper.
Rubberised coir mattress: treated with latex solutions for a dense and firm support base that retains shape for years and provides optimum spine alignment and back support.
Foam mattress: a wide range of support levels, depending on the density and combination of foam used, and can range from ultra-plush to extra-firm to suit a range of requirement, needs and sleeping conditions and styles.
Latex Mattress: being 100% natural, is a good choice for infants, pregnant women or seniors, or anyone else with sensitive to other materials, and does a great job with maintaining body alignment and providing ample support. This is a great choice for anyone who prefers making sustainable and eco-friendly choices as it is 100% biodegradable.
The most crucial aspect of the mattress is how it supports or holds your body through a night’s sleep. This depends entirely on the internal construction, the materials used and how they work together to provide support. This also affects how hard/firm or plush/soft the mattress feels. The entire spectrum of firmness to plushness has a range of possibilities and benefits. The right mattress for you is ultimately a matter of personal preference and requirement.
Chronic back pains: you can choose a mattress that is certified by a medical body, endorsed by orthopedists or has specialised orthopaedic support built in to provide the enhanced support and relief that you might require.
Mild back pains: a mattress with basic 3-zoned support features – either 3-zoned foam or 3- zoned pocket springs, etc. – will do the trick.
If you do not suffer from any specific pain points, consider the firmness you prefer. The firmest mattresses are coir, followed by spring mattress if you like a little bounce and resilience, and latex and memory foam if you prefer a more luxurious and soft, plush kind of support.
Another point to consider is your body weight: heavier bodies would do well to avoid very plush mattresses, whereas those who weigh less should avoid very firm mattress.
The internal mechanics of every mattress come encased in layer/s of various material that provide an added element of comfort to your sleeping experience. This would include any layers that insulate the inner support layer, the upholstery or any other added materials that encase the mattress, thereby also affecting the height of the mattress. Making a choice depends on whether you want a smooth or textured feel, a rugged or soft feel.
If you are a hot sleeper who experiences discomfort from the heat and sweating a lot, choose a mattress which has an in-built cooling technology or one that is made of a naturally ventilated material such as coir or pin-core latex.
For those sensitive to material or other allergies, mattresses made of natural material such as latex preferably with a cotton fabric, provide a chemical-free and breathable option. These are especially recommended for young kids, pregnant women or senior citizens.
Before you purchase a mattress, it’s critical that you measure your cot, so you can pick a mattress that fits it perfectly.
How you sleep, who you share your bed with and how much you weigh also determines what kind of mattress is right for you.
Side sleepers would do well to choose a mattress that lies between soft to semi-firm, but be sure to avoid an overly firm mattress entirely. A good choice is usually on the softer side, such as memory foam or latex, as these provide sufficient comfort by taking the shape of the contours of the body but also provides support to stress points around shoulders and hips, most commonly felt in this sleeping style.
Back sleepers can choose any firmness, but usually tend to prefer a slightly firmer (more than side sleepers) support and comfort level as it is the position with a large surface area of the body requiring support. A mattress ranging midway between semi and very firm will provide ample spine alignment.
Stomach sleepers require a mattress that is not too soft – for it will sag and cause discomfort in the torso – or too firm – for it will have no give or push back to support the body. In a super soft mattress, the middle section could sag much faster, causing misalignment of the spine, pain and discomfort. It’s good to get a healthy balance between plus and firm.
If you tend to toss and turn a lot, or your child or partner do, avoid a very firm mattress to ensure a smooth roll-over. Consider a spring mattress that will contain motion and keep it from travelling across the mattress, for undisturbed sleep.
For those battling chronic aches and pains, or have an excessively active lifestyle in sport, an orthopedic mattress provides therapeutic properties.
Where you live and how you use your mattress also matters. Primarily, consider the weather as it affects not just the quality of your sleep but the life of your mattress too. If you live in a hot and humid place, you’ll want a mattress that’s airy and breathable like spring or coir. For colder places, you’ll want an outer layer that can provide warmth maybe.
Generally speaking, a good mattress that will serve you well and for a good amount of time will not be really cheap. But think of it as an investment towards having a healthier quality of sleep. Which is why it is worth spending not just money, but also time to understand what kind of mattress you need and why, so you make the best possible choice for yourself.