There are lots of different options for mattresses out there, and it can be difficult to know which one to choose, especially if back pain is an issue. Firm or soft? Innerspring or memory foam? And what about waterbeds and futons–are those ok?
Hopefully, this guide will dispel any misconceptions you may have about selecting a mattress and help you choose the mattress that is right for you.
Try before you buy.
Ultimately, there is no one mattress that is best for a particular condition–everyone is different. What works well for someone else will not necessarily work for you. If you’re not sure where to start when choosing a mattress, go to a mattress store where the the sales associates are knowledgeable about the different types of mattresses–they can help you narrow down your options. Be prepared to try it out several mattresses, though; it’s the only way to really determine which one is right for you. For this reason, you should also avoid buying mattresses online unless you have had the chance to try them out first.
Shop with your partner if you’ll be sharing a mattress.
You and your partner may have different needs in a mattress, and you need to find the mattress that works best for both of you. However, if your mattress needs are very different, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get separate beds. Many adjustable air mattresses allow you to adjust the level of firmness on each side of the bed.
Choose the mattress that feels best and is supportive.
The key is to find the mattress that is soft enough to conform to the natural curves of the spine, but firm enough to provide support so that you don’t sink in too far. Medium-firm mattresses work best for most people, but ultimately it depends on your preferences.
Don’t get a mattress just because it’s “orthopedic,” expensive, or a name brand.
Price and name brand do not necessarily equal quality, and the more expensive, brand-name mattresses will not necessarily be right for you. Mattresses can vary greatly from brand to brand, but just because a particular brand is supposed to be the “best” doesn’t mean it will be the best for you. Also, many manufacturers claim that orthopedic mattresses are designed to support the spine and relieve back pain. However, there is really no standard for what makes an “orthopedic” mattress orthopedic. Often, they will use materials that are more supportive and of a higher quality than cheaper mattresses, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are better than non-orthopedic mattresses of a similar construction.
Know the difference between memory foam and innerspring mattresses.
Before you go shopping for a new mattress, you’ll want to have an idea of the different types available on the market. Innerspring and memory foam are the two most common types of mattresses on the market. One is not necessarily better than the other, but one type may fit your needs more.
Innerspring mattresses are made up of a steel coil support system, with different variations on coil designs. Generally, the more coils, the more support you get. The coils are covered with padding to make them more comfortable. Innerspring mattresses tend to be the least expensive option.
Memory foam mattresses rely on polyurethane or latex foam to provide support. Memory foam molds to the shape of your body, and often minimizes the transfer of movement from the other side of the bed. However, memory foam mattresses tend to be more expensive than innerspring mattresses.
Don’t use a futon or a waterbed.
A waterbed will probably not give your back the support it needs, especially if you have a condition like degenerative disc disease or frequently suffer from back pain. A futon may not be terrible if it’s of a good quality, but most futons are cheaply made and will not provide the best support for your back. In general, you should avoid futons, but if you need one for space reasons, go for the highest quality one you can afford. As a rule of thumb, if it’s something you would have owned while you were in college, you probably shouldn’t be sleeping on it.
No one but you can decide which mattress is right for you, but this guide should help to steer you in the right direction. Sweet dreams!