mattress buying guide

How to Choose a Mattress – Buying Guide

You spend an estimated 1/3 of your life in bed! Upgrading your mattress is an investment in your well-being to ensure quality sleep. The right mattress can improve your physical and mental health. When you sleep on the proper support you will wake up refreshed to face the day, free of aches and pains. You will sleep more soundly and comfortably with fewer interruptions, giving your body time to recharge. If you are not getting a good night’s sleep, your body cannot properly function. Sleep affects almost every tissue in your body—stress hormones, the immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health. Sleep helps you think more clearly and focus better, increases energy, and improves mood, alertness, and reflexes. Good sleep is critical for your vitality.

Most adults sleep in their beds between seven to eight hours every night. Over time, your mattress will wear out. Experts recommend replacing your mattress every 7-10 years unless your body cues tell you differently. If you are experiencing the discomfort of aches and stiffness in your back, neck, or shoulders after a full night’s sleep, you should replace your mattress sooner rather than later. Older mattresses often begin to sag, so your spine is not supported for proper alignment. A worn-out mattress also tends to transfer motion from one side of the bed to the other, disrupting your partner’s sleep. And if you are experiencing worse allergy and asthma symptoms, older mattresses can accumulate dust mites, mold, and other allergens over time and may be part of the problem.

With so many options on the market, knowing where to start your search for a new mattress can feel overwhelming. We’ve created this buying guide to help you find the mattress that is right for you. We will walk you through the different mattress types, sleeping positions, firmness levels, and questions to ask; with a step by step break down of what you need to know when shopping for a new mattress.

Mattress Types

We want to help you shop with confidence when buying a new mattress. For some people, a mattress purchase may seem straightforward. Some might feel that all mattresses are basically the same. But that is not the case, there are different mattress types, and each is built with different materials or features. Peel back the cover, and the interior construction will determine how a mattress will feel, how long it should last, and how much each will cost. Learning about the different types of mattresses will help you meet your individual preferences and needs.

As you begin your research, you will commonly come across these options: innerspring, foam, latex, hybrid, and adjustable air. No single option is fundamentally better than another, but each comes with pros and cons, different materials and durability, and a range of price points.

Innerspring. Modern innerspring mattresses are constructed with one or more layers of individually wrapped coils that move independently of each other. Unlike the creaky connected coil spring beds of yesteryear, the new innerspring mattresses are much quieter. The shape of the springs, the number of coils, and the coil gauge vary per mattress manufacturer. Most either come with a quilted top comfort layer or an upper layer of foam to relieve pressure. The innerspring mattress works well for those who sleep hot because the construction allows for better airflow. But innerspring mattresses are not as good with motion isolation, so your partner may feel you move at night. Typically, innerspring mattresses need to be replaced every six or seven years. To add to the mattress’s longevity rotate your mattress 180 degrees about every six months.

Foam. Foam mattresses provide cushioned support, ideal for side sleepers to relieve hip and shoulder pressure points. Couples often prefer a foam mattress that isolates motion well, so you do not disturb your partner if you toss and turn at night. You can find foam mattresses on the market designed with gel-infused foam that helps dissipate heat. But if you sleep hot, skip the foam. Cooler options to consider would be innerspring and hybrid mattresses that are more breathable. The mattress lifespan of a foam mattress is typically ten years. To ensure your foam mattress lasts, rotate it regularly, use a mattress protector, and purchase a sturdy bed frame.

Latex. A latex mattress is constructed from either natural or synthetic latex. Latex mattresses made from natural latex are an eco-friendly option because it’s made of the byproduct of sap from a rubber tree. This sustainable choice is more expensive, but it’s also durable and, if maintained. The highest quality mattress type can last for 10 – 20 years. Similar to memory foam, latex mattresses offer contouring and pressure point relief while promoting natural spine alignment. Because latex is a buoyant material, latex mattresses tend to be bouncier and retains less heat than memory foam, where your body will sink into the mattress.

Hybrid. For the best of both worlds, the enhanced support of a hybrid mattress combines foam or latex for comfort and coils for support. Sleepers find this combination comfortable and supportive without being too firm. These types of mattresses help isolate motion from one side of the bed to the other, so it works well for couples. A high-quality hybrid mattress tends to have a 7 to 10-year lifespan. The quality of the materials will impact how the bed ages. Pay attention to the coil gauge. The thickest gauge of 12 gives the maximum support for those who need it.

Adjustable Air. On the market today, adjustable air mattresses are among the most expensive and may be cost-prohibitive for some. Adjustable air mattresses are constructed with air chambers that can be adjusted or programmed to suit the preference and comfort level of each person in the bed. The inflation levels can be set with a remote or a phone app. If the mattress is maintained correctly, it can last at least eight years. Some manufacturers can replace air chambers and other components in adjustable air mattresses with a modular design so that they will last much longer. And adjustable air mattresses tend to come with longer warranties compared to other mattress types.

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Questions to Ask When Choosing a Mattress

As you gather your research about different mattresses and begin to compare your options, here is extra guidance on questions to ask yourself as you narrow your choices and follow-up questions for the retailer. Buying a mattress is about meeting your preferences and needs, so these items might be key to finalizing your choice.

Comfort Layers. What is your comfort level sweet spot? The upper few inches on a mattress can be key to your comfort. This top layer alleviates pressure points, shapes to your body, and accommodates any shifting or tossing during the night. For a good reason, this is commonly referred to as the comfort layer. This layer can be a single layer of quilted materials or multiple levels of material. When researching your mattress options, focus on the comfort layer's feel and your preference for this material.

Firmness. Are you sinking into the mattress or resting on top? Do you experience push back, or do you feel the material is contouring to your body? The firmness levels of a mattress are ranked 1-10 on a comfort scale. For a softer mattress, you will want to select from the lower end of the scale, and the scale gets firmer as it increases. One is extra soft, and 10 is extra firm. Most sleepers prefer a firmness level between the range of 4-7. Factors such as your body weight and sleeping position will affect your ideal firmness level.

Motion Isolation. Do you need to accommodate a sleeping partner? If you share a bed, you will want to inquire about motion isolation for a good night’s sleep. If your partner tosses and turns at night, ask the retailer about low motion transfer, so your sleep is not disrupted. Motion isolation is important because if your partner (or children or pets) changes position in the night frequently, it will be undetectable to you.

Temperature. What type of temperature regulation does the mattress have? Do you sleep hot, or do you sleep cold? Ask your mattress retailer or research online the temperature controls or cooling effects of the mattress type that you are considering. Sleeping too hot or too cold can disrupt getting a full night of sleep, so temperature controls may be an important concern for your selection. If you are always cold, memory foam mattresses may be a better option. Hot sleepers often find the breathability of innerspring helpful. If you and your partner have different preferences, consult with the retailer on how to meet in the middle or suggestions of bed accessories or dual options that can provide a solution.

Sleeper Weight. Ask your mattress retailer or research online the weight distribution of the mattress that you are considering. Whatever side of the spectrum each sleeper weighs, a mattress should accommodate your needs and proportions. For example, an average person requires 3 inches of comfort layering, while a heavier individual may need 4 inches since they may sink more into the mattress. A firmer mattress may lack comfort and cushion for a lighter-weight sleeper.

Care. How do I take care of the new mattress? You want to make sure that your investment lasts as long as possible, and a well-cared-for mattress will last longer. Whatever you select for your mattress, a mattress protector can guard against stains, tears, moisture, and dust mites that can cause your mattress to deteriorate quicker. Once you have purchased a mattress, look for tips from the manufacturer’s website on how to best care for your new mattress.

The Details. What is the return, exchange, and refund policy? What happens if we sleep on the mattress and it’s not a good fit? What are the terms of the warranty? What exclusions apply? Who should I contact for support if I have questions about my purchase? The best piece of advice is to ask about the benefits, discounts, upcoming sales, warranty period, and trial offers. A mattress can be a significant investment, so make sure that you are getting the best fit and price. Don’t be shy to ask about offers or sales that could save you money. And leave with a clear understanding of their return, exchange, and trial policy in case the mattress is not a good fit. Also, look at online reviews and comparison sites to choose a reputable company.

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Sleeping Position

Another important consideration when deciding on a new mattress is your sleeping position at night. Do you sleep on your side, your back, or your stomach? Or do you sleep in a combination of positions? Knowing this important personal trait, you can make a better-informed decision when shopping for a new mattress. Get better sleep by selecting a mattress with the proper support for your sleeping position.

Back Sleepers. Selecting a proper firmness level will be necessary for those who sleep primarily on their back. Soft mattresses tend not to provide enough support to keep your spine aligned. A firm foam or hybrid mattress can support you for a better night’s rest.

Side Sleepers. Side sleeping is a common sleeping position, and it’s widely accepted that memory foam mattresses are the best mattresses for side sleepers because it perfectly combines contour and support. As a side sleeper, your shoulders and hips will take the most pressure. Look for a softer mattress that can relieve pressure points while cushioning your body for comfort. Typically, a hybrid mattress will not offer the same level of contouring or pressure point relief that a side sleeper prefers.

Stomach Sleepers. Stomach sleepers put a lot of stress over time on their spine, which can lead to neck and back pain. A firmer mattress, either foam or hybrid, that supports your spine is best for stomach sleepers. You do not want a mattress that your body sinks into, or you will wake up in pain and stiffness.

Combination Sleepers. If you change sleeping positions frequently throughout the night, you are a combination sleeper. Therefore, you will want to ensure you are comfortable on your mattress no matter which way you turn. Medium firm mattresses offer the best support and cushion combination for comfort. A hybrid mattress is ideal since it is most responsive with its innerspring support and foam comfort layer. A latex mattress is another good choice for combination sleepers. Latex is a buoyant material that makes it easier to move around on the bed. Latex mattresses work well for those with mobility issues or who change sleep positions at night.

When to Buy a New Mattress

If you are thinking about getting a new mattress, it’s time. Something has probably changed in your sleeping pattern to make you question the comfort of your mattress and signal that you are ready. If you are no longer getting a restful night’s sleep in your bed, it may be time to invest and find the best mattress to fit your needs. There is no clear way to determine whether it is time for a new mattress, but here are a few general rules:

  • Your mattress is 7+ years.
  • You are no longer sleeping comfortably throughout the night.
  • You wake up feeling stiff or achy, especially with pain in the shoulders and hips.
  • Your mattress is damaged or sagging.
  • You have increased allergies or asthma.
  • You sleep much better at a hotel or a relative’s home.
  • The mattress firmness is too firm or too soft based on your current preferences and needs.

You also may need to consider your age. As your body ages, your mattress needs will change. So even if your mattress is not worn out, a new mattress can better support these normal changes in your body. As you get older, you may need additional support or more comfort to sleep soundly. Your sleep patterns will change, making it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. An uncomfortable mattress can also exacerbate chronic health conditions and make restful sleep more difficult. Now may be the perfect time to invest not only in a new mattress but also in a sleep system that serves you better as you age.

Before you buy the same mattress that you’ve had for years, you should consider how your bed can help you age in place. Dawn House’s thoughtfully designed sleep system offers a level of comfort, safety, and freedom. With state-of-the-art health monitoring and supportive features, you can continue to live independently. The adjustable bed height helps you safely enter and exit your bed. The personalized bed settings will improve your sleep comfort, and snore reduction will help your partner sleep more soundly. The sleep monitoring technology and reporting will give you peace of mind, measuring wellness indicators like heart vitals and sleep activity throughout the night. And many more features have been designed to specifically accommodate those who wish to thrive in their home longer.

To complement the sleep system, Dawn House offers mattresses that seamlessly integrate with the base and other features. The mattresses are available in full, queen, king, split king, and twin long. The reactive foam in the Dawn House mattress adjusts to accommodate the shoulders while supporting the hips for side sleepers yet contours to the lumbar to support back sleepers. The hybrid mattress option offers the contouring foam layers and the added benefit of a coil system for temperature regulation, pressure relief and edge support. And the beds offer a weight capacity of 700 lbs., so anyone can benefit from the sleep system. The bed also comes with free delivery and white glove service, a 100-day return policy, and a hassle-free warranty. And the Dawn House concierge customer service is available to help answer any questions as you research options and will continue to support you after the purchase.

How Much to Spend on a Mattress

A new mattress is an investment in your sleep quality but comes with a price tag. Mattresses vary widely in price, depending on key factors. Comparison shopping, whether online bed shopping or in-store, and watching for sales may be necessary to find the best high-quality mattress within your budget.

These factors will affect the quality and price of a new mattress:

Materials. The quality of the materials that make up a mattress will affect the cost. Higher quality construction materials, like natural and organic fibers, will cost more.

Bed Size. Larger-sized beds like a queen or king will cost more than a full size.

Mattress Types. Hybrid mattresses tend to have a higher price tag since they include both coils and foam. Foam and innerspring mattresses are typically less expensive. By comparison shopping, you can find the best quality to fit your budget and the mattress type that best fits your needs.

Features. Innovation and technology will cost more. And the addition of a foundation, adjustable base, or box spring will add to your total expense.

Construction Location. Companies that outsource production to other countries typically cost less. But remember, it is only a good savings if a mattress meets U.S. safety standards!

Shipping and Delivery. Most mattresses will come with free shipping, especially if ordered online. You can often purchase white glove delivery for a fee, which means your old mattress will be removed too.

Because all these factors can contribute to the cost of your new mattress, it is challenging to give a basic price range. In some cases, you could spend as little as $300 and over $3,500 for a luxury mattress. But remember that a mattress is an investment in your health and sleep quality. Spending a little more for greater comfort, quality, and durability will be worth the expense in the long run.

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