Best Mattress Buying Guide: Size, Firmness, Eco-friendly

by Purvin Arshad

Buying a brand new mattress requires a significant financial commitment. It can also be an exhausting task, considering all the latest technologies and materials offer seemingly endless options. However, if you take a stepwise approach, then choosing a mattress that will provide years of comfort can become simple.

mattress bed

Source: Amazon Zinus

Signs That Indicate It Is Time to Buy a New Mattress.

1. Mattresses typically come with warranties that range from five to twenty years. In reality, though most tops of the line mattresses life expectancies range from seven to ten years.

Keep in mind that under normal conditions, mattresses need replacing due to wear and tear. Warranties typically only cover manufacturing-related problems. That is why there is really no chance of a mattress lasting as long as warranty claims.

This is not to say mattresses can’t last more than a decade. Of course, with proper care, they can. Latex mattresses, for example, can last as long as fifteen years if they are looked after.

2. Other than age, a second factor that tells you a mattress needs replacing is if you experience back pains upon waking.

Over the years, a mattress loses its ability to provide your body with the support it needs. The comfort providing layers in the midsection begin sagging. This puts more pressure on the shoulders, neck and back, which transform into neck pain and sour back in the morning.

Studies have shown that mattresses are havens for allergens and mites. When you sleep on an old mattress, you are just dipping into a pool of everything that leads to allergies. If you notice your allergies are worse in the morning and during the night but improve during the day. Then it is time to consider changing your mattress.

Memory foam mattresses conform to your body and allow you to sink in for a cosy restful sleep. With time the foam tends to become softer. If the dent lasts longer than normal after you leave the bed, consider replacing it. Another sign is if you sink more than 2 inches. Regardless of the mattress type, if it does not feel right, or is uneven, then it is time for a change.

3. Another sign is when the mattress feels lumpy or you can feel the springs. 

Body shape changes with time. For people over forty, the body undergoes changes roughly every seven years. If you have gained a considerable amount of weight, the mattress will begin to feel different. This is especially true during pregnancies. If you develop age-related arthritis or back pain the right mattress can aid in managing pain.

Mattress Size

What to consider to choose the best bed size?

There are several factors to consider when deciding on which size bed will be best for you.

1. The primary among these is the size of the person.  Tall people will need some extra length. If you are over six feet, a full-size or twin bed will not provide sufficient length. And if you also happen to be broad then you should consider a queen at the minimum.

If you are a solo sleeper, you have the option of full, queen or even twin XL. It all depends on how much extra space you like. If there is a partner, or you allow your pet to sleep with you then king or even California king may suit you better.

2. Other considerations include room size. If you live in a studio apartment, then you may not have the luxury of fitting a king-size bed. Your preference for a large sleeping space takes a back seat. Also, you will probably not want the bed to take up all your available space.

3. The location of the room is another factor. Transporting a big mattress to a room that is not very accessible might be a problem.

4. Lastly and perhaps for many people, the major factor is your budget. The bigger the size of the mattress the more it will cost.

Common mattress size

The most common bed sizes available in the American market are as follows:

  •  Twin size measures 38 inches by 75 inches and is the smallest standard-sized mattress. It is primarily intended for children or teenagers.
  • Twin XL measures 38 inches by 80 inches. This is the same length as a twin bed but gives you five inches extra in length. This is a good fit for taller individuals with minimal space in a room.
  • Full size measures 54 inches by 75 inches. It is also known as a double bed and is well suited for single adults of average height.
  • Queen sized mattress measures 60 inches by 80 inches. This is the most common size because it can comfortably fit two people. This size also effectively fits in the majority of the rooms.
  • King size measures 76 inches by 80 inches. This is the broadest standard-sized mattress available. It is comfortable for two adults with enough space left over to squeeze a child or a pet.
  • California king measures 72 inches by 84 inches and is the longest standard-sized mattress. It is well suited for exceptionally tall people but is 5 inches narrower compared to the king size. It has the added benefit that it can be purchased with split mattresses. This is great for couples wanting two different firmness options.

mattress dimension and size

Firmness Scale

The texture, (how soft or hard), your mattress is usually the single most important criterion in selecting a mattress. It just happens to be the first thing we notice when shopping for a mattress. A numerical scale going from 1 to 10 is used to grade how firm or soft a mattress is. You need to beware of the fact that different manufacturers have different scales but are loosely similar.

Firmness Scale and Mattress Firmness

  • 1-2,  Soft
  • 3-4, Medium – Soft
  • 5, Medium
  • 6-7,  Medium – Firm
  • 8-10, Firm

Some mattresses are labelled “Universal comfort”. This means the mattress is to the needs of all sleepers regardless of preference. More precisely what this label says is that this mattress is suitable for the broadest range of sleepers.  Considering eighty per cent of sleepers prefer mattress in Medium to Medium-firm range, the Universal comfort mattresses satisfies this need.

Furthermore, these mattresses are designed to be compatible with all sleeping positions. They are capable of providing contouring, support and sink levels that make them comfortable for the average person.

How You Sleep Matters

Different sleeping positions require support in different areas of the body, that is why it is relevant to the type of mattress you purchase. Now, this might become a bit complicated if you have a partner, but many models are suitable for different types of sleepers. Common sleeping positions include:

Side Sleepers

Have you have woken with discomfort in your shoulders or hips? Chances are that you did not get the necessary support while sleeping. These areas are the pressure point spots and were compressed overnight, thus the pain. You need to select a mattress that can cushion these points and release the pressure. At the same time, you need to ensure that the spine is not out of alignment.

Memory foam or latex mattresses are well suited for this purpose, in addition to hybrid mattresses. A mattress in the soft to the medium-firm range can prove to be beneficial. A padded topper can also provide the necessary support if you are not ready to change your mattress.

side sleeper

Back Sleeper

People who sleep on their backs require something that will support the spine. If that is not available then you may develop back pain over time. Options that make this possible include innerspring or hybrid mattresses. Based on the firmness scale, a firm mattress that prevents sinking will be the ideal choice for heavier sleepers. Whereas, the medium-soft mattress will be better suited to lighter back sleepers.

Stomach Sleeper

Sleeping on your stomach may help with sleep apnea or snoring, but back specialists do not recommend it. This is because extra stress is placed on the spine in this position. To ensure that your spine is not compromised, stomach sleepers should choose a firm mattress. This will keep your stomach and hips from plummeting too deep into the mattress.

stomach sleeper

Eco-Friendly Mattresses

How do we decide if a mattress is eco-friendly? The obvious answer is that it be fabricated out of materials that do not hurt the planet. This means that the materials used in its construction are natural, biodegradable and free of chemical use. The methods used in growing natural plants are equally important. They should be grown without the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

Many mattresses are labelled as eco-friendly and claim that they are certified. However, be warned that not all certifications are valid, as some aren’t backed by regulations or global standards. One clue to look for is how many certifications a manufacturer is showing. A higher number of certifications indicates that the company is committed to achieving its goals. Some of the most common certifications that you are most likely to come across include the following.

  • OEKO-TEX. They issue certifications that fabrics used in the mattress are free from harmful chemicals. Additionally, they do not have any allergenic materials.
  • The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). They certify that a company has not used any loopholes to make false claims about their product being organic.
  •  Greenguard Gold. This certification enforces strict standards for exposure to chemical emissions.
  •  CertiPUR-US. This simply means the mattress has been tested for emissions from the foam.

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