A good mattress should last you at least 10 years, say Singapore experts. Here’s what you should look out for when buying a mattress:

Home and family: Mattress buying

Expert tips on what to look out for when you’re out shopping for mattresses. Image: Corbis

Experts: Paul Bell, an osteopath from The Osteopathic Centre, Michelle Anne Ng, marketing manager at Simmons (SEA) and Dave Hong, marketing manager at Sealy Asia

How do you know you have the right mattress?
Your spine should be straight when you sleep on your side and in its natural curve when you lie on your back. It should also:

  • Mould well to your body, leaving no space between the mattress and your body.
  • Let your hips and shoulders sink slightly deeper into the bed than the spine and torso. Queen- and king-sized mattresses should let you feel undisturbed even when your partner tosses in bed.

What’s the right way to test a mattress before buying it?
A couple should try out the mattress together so as to simulate the way they sleep. Lie on your backs and sides for at least 20 minutes.

Does mattress height matter?

Yes. The thicker the mattress, the more plush and comfy it is. Some models are filled with pressure-relief materials like latex and memory foam, which add to the height. Make sure that the mattress, when paired with your bed frame, makes it easy for you to get on and off the bed comfortably.

Does a heavier person need a firmer mattress?
Yes. However, there is no recommended level of firmness for different weights. Generally, a mattress with a thin cushioning on the topmost layer would be more comfortable for a heavier person as he/she can feel the support of the mattress better and be more comfortably cushioned at the same time.

What mattresses are suitable for people with spinal or back problems?
A light to moderately firm one. The mattress should be highly compartmentalised – it should have numerous small spring compartments to support and mould to different parts of the body. Memory foam mattresses are also suitable.

What kind of mattress should I buy if I don’t sleep in an airconditioned room?

Look for mattress fabrics made with more cotton and less polyester, and pair it with a bamboo bedsheet that wicks perspiration from your skin.

Aching joints and fatigue, even after a good night’s sleep – are these signs that your mattress is not suitable for you?
Yes, the mattress could be too hard or too soft for you. It could take up to a month to adjust to a new mattress. Other causes could be using the wrong type of pillow, or a bed frame that gives insufficient support to the mattress.

How long should a good mattress last?

10 to 20 years. When you feel that the mattress is squeaky or saggy, that is, when the body sinks more than 2.5cm into the bed, it’s time to change your mattress.

Five tips on how to buy a mattress for your kids

Experts: Gary Tho, pediatric and family chiropractor at Holistic Chiropractic and Will Kalla, spinal care specialist at Precision Spine Chiropractic.

1. Choose a firm mattress for your baby. Test it by pressing onto the mattress. A firm one should bounce back immediately.

2. Let your kids try the mattress first. Toddlers usually need a medium-firm mattress for sufficient support. Get them to lie in their usual sleeping position for about 10 minutes,
then ask them if their neck, shoulders and hips are comfortable.

3. Consider your child’s sleeping position. A back sleeper tends to feel comfortable on
all types of mattresses. A side sleeper would benefit from a memory foam mattress that
moulds to the hips and shoulders.

4. Look for hypoallergenic materials if you children have sensitivities. These materials, like cotton, silk or synthetic material are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction, and so are good for children with asthma, eczema or rhinitis.

5. When choosing a pillow, get your child to lie on it before buying it. His neck should be in line with his spine whether lying on his back or his side.

This article was originally published in Simply Her Jan 2012.