The two main things to consider when buying a mattress are support and comfort.
Support: Your mattress needs to support the natural curve of your spine. Okay, but what does that mean? It means you need to maintain the same natural alignment whey you’re laying down as when you’re standing. If your mattress doesn’t have enough support, it will sag, throwing your spine out of alignment. A mattress can also be too firm which tends to only support the heaviest parts of your body. It might help to try this: take a doll and lay it on the table. You can see there are spaces between the doll and the table. The table is only supporting the areas of the doll that are connecting with the table. Now put the doll on a pillow. The pillow comes into contact with the entire length of the doll with no spaces in between. This is what you need from your mattress. You want it to be firm enough to keep your spine in place, yet still conform to your body. Here is a general guideline to follow –
• Back or stomach sleepers generally do better with a firmer mattress because it will not allow them to sag into the surface at an unnatural angle. Air, water or foam mattresses are not generally recommended because they do not provide this level of support.
• Side Sleepers usually place the greatest amount of weight on the smallest areas of the body thereby creating pressure points. A side sleeper will probably want a softer mattress, especially if they have a very curved or rounded figure.
• A new mattress should always be placed on a firm base, never a saggy one. The box springs do much of the work for the mattress by absorbing stress and weight. The correct foundation can extend the life of the mattress, therefore you should try to purchase the box springs designed to go with your mattress.
• A crib mattress should be firm. Babies can't lift their heads out of soft mattresses if they get turned over. A firm mattress also helps the bedding to stay tight on the mattress which can help prevent bunching.
TIP – You can always soften up a firm mattress with pads and toppers.
Comfort: There is no one-mattress-fits-all. We are all different and have different ideas as to what’s comfortable or not. My best advice here is to go to a mattress store and try out the mattresses. Lay on them in the position you normally sleep in. Take your time. Laying on a mattress for a few seconds will not give you a good idea as to how it will feel after you've been there awhile. Here are some different kinds of mattresses you might consider –
• Innerspring - There are springs in the mattress that help support the weight of your body. The higher the number of coils, the firmer the mattress.
• Pocketed Coil Innerspring - The coils work independently. On a regular innerspring, what effects one coil, effects several of the surrounding coils. With the pocketed coils, what effects one coil, only effects that coil. This system supports your overall body better than a regular innerspring. Also, if you wake up every time your partner moves, this type of mattress will help.
• Latex - It’s impression resistant, conforms to the contour of your body while offering support, hypoallergenic, bacteria and mildew resistant. It also has great breath-ability, it will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Beware of latex allergies.
• Multi-Zoned Latex – Latex mattress cores are always made with holes in them. These holes soften the latex and make it comfortable. The larger the holes, the softer the latex core becomes. Most mattresses have the same size holes throughout the mattress giving it a uniform feel. The multi-zoned mattress has sections with different size holes. This gives the mattress different zones making it softer or firmer in different areas.
• Pillow Top – This is a mattress with an extra layer sewn to the top to create a pillow feel. It’s great for support and comfort. You can get the same effect using a mattress pad or topper. I would also suggest purchasing an organic mattress. Organic mattresses are made without the use of toxic chemicals which is better for the environment and better for your health. So, try out some different types of mattresses keeping in mind how well they will support you. If you’re sharing your bed with someone who has different requirements, you might consider using two twin beds side by side. You should also check to see if the store you’re purchasing from has an exchange policy. This allows you to exchange your mattress for another if you find you purchased one that wasn’t quite right for you.
Written by: Shelly Platt, Naturally Good
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