When people say that a bed is the most important piece of furniture you will ever buy, it is not strictly true: it is the mattress.
Elements of a comfortable mattress
INNERSPRING : The most widely purchased type of bedding uses the support of tempered steel coils in a variety of configurations. Layers of upholstery provide insulation and cushioning between your body and the spring unit. The result of this basic approach, coupled with state-of-the-art technology, is a full range of comfort choices.
Quality tip : You can't judge the quality of mattress solely on the number of coils it contains. A high coil count doesn't automatically mean it's a better product. It's a combination of a top quality innerspring system and superior upholstery material that makes the difference.
FOUNDATION : A good foundation or box spring is as important as a good mattress. Don't put a new mattress on an old foundation. When you select the mattress, purchase its companion foundation-the two are designed to work together to provide maximum comfort. In fact, buying the mattress without its matching foundation may affect the terms of the warranty.
Qualities you look for when buying a mattress
COMFORT : Gone are the days when a mattress had to be stiff-as-board to be good for you. And it's interesting to note that recent studies suggest that a medium-firm mattress is more likely to improve back pain than a firm mattress. Today's top quality mattress/foundation ensembles are built for just that – superior comfort. Luxurious new cushioning materials and extra-soft surface treatments create more of a plush, comfortable feel. Additionally, it is normal for some body impressions to appear in the first few weeks of sleeping on such mattresses.
SUPPORT : Correct support is the essential ingredient for a healthy body. A good mattress and foundation will gently support your body at all points and keep your spine in the same shape as a person with good standing posture. Pay special attention to your shoulders, hips, and lower back-the heaviest parts. If there's too little support, you can develop back pain. But if the mattress is too hard for you, you can experience uncomfortable pressure.
DURABILITY : It's the quality of the materials used and how they're put together that determined how long a mattress and foundation will provide the comfort and support you bought them for. The best assurance of good performance over a good many years is to buy the highest quality sleep set you can afford.
WARRANTY : Don't look to the warranty to tell you how long to keep your mattress and foundation. The warranty is there to protect you from product defects, not against the gradual loss of comfort and support. Keep in mind that while a sleep set may still be usable after many years, it's probably not giving you the good night's sleep you deserve.
SPACE : Cramped quarters can turn sleeping into a nightly wrestling match. A healthy sleeper moves anywhere from 40-60 times a night, including some dozen full body turns. You need freedom of motion while you sleep and to help you relax while you're falling asleep. If you sleep with a partner, be sure to select a queen or king size bed. Both are not only wider, but several inches longer than the standard "double" (full size), which offers each sleeper only as much as a baby in a crib.