How to Get the Best Sleep
You spend over 33% of your life in bed. So why not take the time to educate yourself on how to find the best mattress? We have collected and documented a comprehensive set of the reviews and ratings available on the web to help you do just that. Use our reviews to better understand what it takes to optimize your night regardless of your weight, body type, stature, or sleep preferences.
Whether you’re a side, back, stomach or combination sleeper, it’s important to understand how to pick a mattress based on your individual sleeping position or sleep habits. We’re here to help you find the best mattress for you.
What to Think About When You’re Thinking About Buying a New Mattress
So it’s time to buy a new mattress, but with so many mattresses out there, you’re not even sure where to start. Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve tried out some of the biggest names and the best mattresses on the market to help you find the right one for you.
And the good news is, buying a mattress is easier than it’s ever been. No need to deal with pushy salespeople, you can do everything online—from research to purchase—and have a new mattress in days with just a few clicks.
Here we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about buying a mattress. Taking these things into consideration as you look for a potential mattress for your home will help you make a great decision that will have you sleeping like a baby for years to come.
Choose a Mattress Type
As you shop, pretty much all the mattresses you see will fall into three or four main categories—foam, innerspring, hybrid, and latex. Each has unique characteristics that will affect how they feel when you lie and sleep on them. Here’s what you should know.
- Foam mattresses (sometimes, but not always memory foam) often consist of multiple layers of different types of foams of varying densities. These beds are often the least expensive, though there are luxury foam beds that can get up there in price. Many of the new bed-in-a-box mattresses that have come on the scene are made of foam. Foam is great at contouring to the body whether you sleep on your stomach, back, or side, which makes it especially great if you like the feeling of sinking into your bed.
- The world has been sleeping on innerspring mattresses for, well… a long time. The innerspring is the classic, traditional mattress type. These mattresses are, by definition, constructed by a system of coils or springs in the central part of the bed. The innerspring system is responsible for the superior support and responsiveness provided by innerspring beds. They also tend to be heavier, firmer, and structurally stronger, which can make them pricier than many other mattresses of other types. Today’s innerspring mattresses often have layers of foam or latex surrounding their core, which kind of blurs the line between true innerspring and our next mattress type…
- Hybrid mattresses are made up of a layer or layers or foam or latex, along with a structure of coils. For many, these are the Goldilocks “just right” of the mattress world with the support of springs combined with the comfort and body-hugging of foam. Innersprings have this combination as well, which is why many innerspring mattresses are billed as hybrid innerspring mattresses. Many luxury mattresses in the hybrid category are among the best and sometimes most expensive mattresses you can find.
- There are not a ton of pure latex mattresses on the market, but they are growing in popularity, especially among the environmentally conscious. Latex has much of the contouring capabilities as foam, but with more of a bouncy, responsive feel than foam has. It also breathes a lot better than foam, which people who sleep hot will likely enjoy.
Your Needs and Preferences
As you start your search for a new mattress, we recommend you take a little time to think about your sleep preferences. Do you find yourself sleeping on your stomach, back, or side most often? Do you sleep in all those positions? Do you like the feeling of sinking in and being hugged by your bed, or do you prefer the sturdier support and a sensation of floating on top of the bed?
Knowing what you like will help you decide what kind of mattress to go with, as well as how firm you want it to be, so you get one that suits you perfectly.
The Degree of Firmness
If you experience any kind of back, joint, or muscle pain, a new mattress can do a lot to alleviate it. And finding the right level of firmness can also work wonders. A softer (less firm) bed will help alleviate pressure points by contouring to your body more, giving you a feeling like you’re sinking in and being swaddled, especially with foam mattresses.
A firmer bed can be even more supportive, especially for heavier-weight sleepers. You won’t get as much body-contouring, but if you tend to shift positions during the night, a firmer bed will make it easier to do that without disturbing your sleep.
It’s also important to note that a feeling of firmness will change depending on what kind of bet you have. For example, even a firm foam mattress will feel softer and more contouring that a firm innerspring bed. Also, your weight will play a role. A softer mattress may feel firm enough for a light-weight sleeper, and that same mattress for a heavier-weight sleeper may feel way too soft.
Preferred Sleeping Position
As far as we know there are no benefits to sleeping standing up, or sleeping on your head. So as far as we’re concerned there are three positions that most people sleep in each night. And the category of sleep type you fall under should be considered when looking for a mattress. When it comes to a pain-free night’s sleep, it’s really all about spinal alignment.
- When you are lying on your side, the primary pressure points created where your body meets the mattress are at your shoulders and hips. This is why side-sleepers may fare better on a medium to softer mattress (depending on their weight) so that it can conform to the shape of their body and provide adequate support to keep their spine aligned. A firmer bed can put too much pressure on the shoulders and hips and cause curving of the spine. See our picks of the best mattresses for side sleepers.
- If you sleep on your back you can basically sleep well on any level of firmness. It’s really about what you like. A firmer bed will keep your back straighter, but if you like to really sink into your bed, go ahead and get a softer one. Too soft and you risk some curving of the spine which can cause discomfort. See our picks of the best mattresses for back sleepers.
- If you sleep on your stomach and experience pain, it’s probably because your mattress is too soft for you. A firmer mattress will keep your spine from resting in a painful inverted curve. Especially if you are on the heavier side, you’ll want to find a mattress that’s firm enough to support you. See our picks of the best mattresses for stomach sleepers.
Our Review Criteria
When we look at mattresses we look specifically at certain categories to help you get a good idea of what the mattress is like and whether you will get what you need from it. Within each category, we rank how well the mattress performs in that category.
- Like new cars, new mattresses often have a smell to them. Unfortunately, it’s usually not as pleasant as that new-car smell. Beds that are shipped in a box especially have a strong “off-gassing” odor that takes some time to dissipate. We tell you how bad the smell is and when you can expect it to go away.
- We try to give you an idea of how long your new mattress will last. Looking at the kind of materials that go into a mattress as well as how well it is constructed can paint a picture of its shelf life. A lot of people want to save money with an inexpensive mattress, but if that cheap bed isn’t going to last, you could be spending more money in the long run when you need to replace it.
- It’s all about you and your partner’s preferences, but certain mattresses can be better for sex. A mattress’ responsiveness, support, and construction can all play a part in bedroom activities. We explain how in this category. Check out the best mattresses for sex.
- Yes, this is a made-up word. We use it to describe how much and how well a mattress conforms and hugs your body when you’re lying on it. How much you sink into is versus sleep on top of it. Again, this has to do partially with your preference as well as your sleeping position and body size.
- Edge Support
- If you’ve ever nearly rolled off the edge of a bed, you know why this category is important. From feeling supported all the way to the perimeter of your bed while you sleep, to getting in and out of it, to sitting and tying your shoes, edge support makes all that possible or not so much.
- A lot of people out there sleep hot, and this can be due to their mattress’ inability to keep them cool while they sleep. In this category, we examine how well a mattress “breathes” — meaning how well does air flow through it. Many mattresses now have various forms of cooling technology, we look at their effectiveness here. Check out the best cooling mattresses.
- Motion Isolation
- Motion isolation versus motion transfer is a very important trait in a mattress if you sleep with a partner. How well a mattress performs in this category is an indication of how good or bad it is at keeping motion on one side of the bed isolated to that side and not reverberating across the whole surface. The better the motion isolation, the less movement will disturb you, the better you and your partner will sleep.
Customer Service and Delivery
One of the best things about the mattress industry moving online is that you can complete the entire process from the comfort of your own home. What makes the experience a pleasant one or a not-so-pleasant one is the quality of customer service you get (or don’t) from the mattress company you decide to go with.
We let you know which brands are doing customer service right—from live chat or phone reps, to warranties and return policies, to delivery services. Some of these things can make or break the mattress buying experience. Some brands will drop a dented box in your driveway, while others will bring it right into your bedroom (with COVID safety in mind), install it and take your old mattress away, all with a smile and all for free!