Support and Comfort
There are two major factors to look for when you are searching for a new (great) mattress – support and comfort. When you lie down on a mattress, it should properly support your body, sinking and conforming around your shape in the correct areas to ensure your spine remains aligned while you sleep through the night. Proper alignment from head to toe is essential for healthy sleep and to alleviate back pain. While being supportive of your body, a proper mattress should provide pressure relief. Pressure points on your body, typically shoulders, hips, or back, are what cause you to toss and turn at night. The reason memory foam mattresses have become so popular as of late is due to the fact that they are excellent at being both supportive and comfortable.
This again plays into the same category of support and comfort. A mattress should neither be too hard nor too soft. It should be as neutral as possible, to keep your body and spine in a neutral position. If a mattress is too stiff, it will cause too many pressure points on your body, pinching nerves and stopping blood flow. If you often wake up with the feeling of pins and needles on your body, it’s likely from the mattress being too stiff. And when the opposite occurs, with a bed that is too soft, you will get a concaving “hammock” effect, which will cause back pain from improper alignment of your spine. It is important to find a mattress with a neutral feel, that will be both stiff and soft in the correct places.
One of the most often skipped over features of a mattress (and the downfall to many lower end foam mattresses) is the breathability or temperature neutrality of the material. Although that conforming feel that memory foam mattresses provide is one of its greatest features, the lower end are also susceptible to the oven-effect, where the mattress retains body heat and starts to get uncomfortably warm through the night. In rare occasions, a mattress might be the opposite. Not retaining enough temperature, and consistently leaving you feeling colder than you would like (I’m looking at you, water beds). The newest generation of foam and standard inner-spring mattresses companies tend to design special materials into their products to allow the bed to breathe and disperse heat more evenly. – But, as we shall see from reviews, some companies perform better than others in this aspect.
It goes without saying that most mattresses aren’t cheap, especially if you are looking for a good one. It’s a large investment to make, so when you purchase one, it is important to find a mattress that will last you for years. It’s important to find a mattress that was designed with durability in mind. Some mattresses may start off feeling amazing, but may start to sag or develop a body imprint after just a few months of use. This tends to result in improper spine alignment and increased pressure points on your body, which would be devastating to your sleep cycle. If you’re going to be investing in a new mattress, make sure the manufacturer has designed a durable base and proper materials to ensure they will keep their shape over the years. Look for a mattress that offers a minimum 10 year warranty.