After eight or nine years, a mattress can start to provide less support, leading to back pain. So if you’re looking to replace or buy a new mattress, here’s how to make it a less exhausting proposition. There are hundreds of models to choose from. But a big part of what makes a good one is very personal: One person’s luxury is another person’s backache waiting to happen so trust your own judgment.
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The Hard Truth
For a start, know that firm mattresses aren’t always better for your back. If you suffer from lower back pain, research shows that the best mattress for this is a medium firm mattress rather than a firm one. Go for one with a firm support and one that feels most comfortable to you.
What Are Pillow-Top Matresses?
Pillow-top mattresses offer an additional plush layer on top of the mattress and over the support system for extra comfort. But if you are petite and small-framed, you probably don’t weigh enough to compress the foam to even benefit from the underlying coils and support system. On the other hand, larger, heavier people tend to prefer this extra cushioning between them and the coils.
Do It Like Goldilocks
Just like Goldilocks, you need to try a bed to know if it’s the right one for you. Some are too hard, others too soft – find the one that’s just right. When shopping for a mattress, make sure the base is similar to the one you have at home. Lie down on the mattress for 10 minutes. And try to roll over – it will take more effort if the bed’s too soft, and feel uncomfortable on your hips and shoulder if it’s too firm.
Best for: Bounce and affordability
These generally use a steel coil support system that’s covered with padding and upholstery, including extra foams, fibres and smaller steel springs. The idea here is that the more coils there are, the more support and contour. These are usually more affordable, but any tossing or turning is likely to disturb a partner.
Try: Serta Hydra, from $3,050, from Serta Sleep Centre.
Best for: Less movement
One of the more popular types, a pocket spring mattress offers an even distribution of weight, and can support two people of two different body weights well because the springs are separated and sewn into individual fabric pockets. Since a pocket spring mattress can contain up to 3,000 springs and stuffed with natural materials like wool, it can be heavy to turn and may trigger allergies.
Try: Top Point 1000 pocket spring core mattress, from $2,045, from MÖBEL STORY.
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Best for: Sleepers prone to allergies
Latex mattresses tend to feel cool and are built to last. It’s also an ideal option for those prone to allergies as it doesn’t harbour dust mites. These type of mattresses feels solid and sturdier, and will not please those desiring more plushy beds. Another big plus for latex mattresses is that they are eco-friendly and can be recycled.
Try: PosturePedic Hybrid (Latex), from $5,599, from Sealy Sleep Palace.
Best for: Aching backs
These mattresses are topped with a layer of temperature sensitive material which resists pressure, and quickly reverts to its original shape when released. You’ll feel as if your body is sinking into it, your weight absorbed in, taking pressure off your joints and improving blood circulation. The most well-known memory foam is Tempur, which is originally developed by NASA.
Try: Tempur Original 21 mattress, from $5,499, from Tempur Sleep Boutique.