Table of Contents
- Mattress Shopping- In-Store or Online?
- Mattress Buying Guide
- Review of the 5 Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
Getting a new mattress is not a straightforward task. With the number of options available in the market, the decision can be a daunting one. But even if the thought of all the different options, price points, and features drains you out, you can’t rest easy until you make this decision, because, well you don’t have a mattress to rest on.
Lucky for you, this mattress buying guide will walk you through the process of choosing the right mattress so that you can narrow down your choices one decision at a time.
Mattress Shopping- In-Store or Online?
So, first things first. Are you going to shop for your new mattress in-store or online? In-store shopping is the more traditional route to go when mattress shopping because you have the luxury of stretching out on the mattress and testing it out before committing to one. However, thanks to flexible return and exchange policies, online mattress shopping has also become quite popular lately.
Most online retailers offer 30 to 60-day return or exchange policies, that allow you to try out your mattress for up to 2 months, instead of a quick lie-down for a few minutes in the store. Moreover, with online shopping, you are less likely to make a rushed decision and can carefully compare prices from different vendors to make sure you get the best deal.
Mattress Buying Guide
Choose the Mattress Type
You can find several types of mattresses in the market- foam, innerspring, hybrid, latex, and adjustable air mattresses. Deciding which type of mattress is suitable for you depends upon a number of factors such as whether the position you sleep in, your bed partner’s sleeping position and habits, your preferred level of firmness, and whether you sleep hot or cold, etc.
Innerspring mattresses provide support through a series of steel coils that are encased within thin layers of comfort foam or fiber. The coils in an innerspring mattress are the reason behind their characteristic bouncy or springy feeling. The intensity of the bounce depends upon the density of coils as well as whether the coils are interconnected or pocketed. The coils of innerspring mattresses are usually reinforced for better support near the edges of the mattress. This minimizes sags or the risk of the mattress occupant rolling off the edge.
On the other hand, foam mattresses are less springy, and firmer. Foam mattresses have a foam base and additional comfort layers that can be comprised of memory foam layers, open-cell foam, gel-infused foam layer, or viscoelastic memory foam layers, etc. Different types of layers have different benefits and combining multiple layers in a foam mattress helps take advantage of the benefits of all. The base of foam mattresses comprises durable and supportive materials such as polyfoam. The main advantage of foam mattresses is that they cushion and contour the body’s pressure points such as the hips and shoulders. They also help ensure proper spine alignment, which in turn leads to fewer backaches. Newer models in the memory foam lines include mattresses with multiple layers of foams. The bottom layers are heavier and harder, for extra support, while the upper layers and softer and cooler for extra comfort.
Latex mattresses are made using comfort layers and a support base made out of latex. The two types of latex that are commonly used are Dunlop latex or Talalay latex. Synthetic latex, although less common, is also used sometimes. Like foam, latex too contours the body and provides pressure relief. Its advantage though is that latex mattresses usually allow for more airflow, thereby helping with regulating temperature. This is especially useful for people who tend to sleep hot.
Hybrid mattresses offer a great balance between innerspring and foam mattresses. The core comprises an innerspring support system, which is surrounded by layers of foam or latex. The combination helps minimizes the shortcomings of each mattress type and maximizes the advantages of each.
The final type of mattresses is airbed mattresses. Air mattresses are little more than slabs of rubber or PVC that are filled with air. The firmness of the mattress depends upon the amount of air inside or in other words, the air pressure in the mattress. More sophisticated airbeds come with electric in-built pumps that allow you to adjust the firmness with the touch of a button. Moreover, dual-chamber air mattresses are the ultimate solution for bed partners with different mattress firmness preferences. This is because both chambers of the air bed can be controlled separately.
Mattress Types for Different Sleeping Positions
According to our surveys, side sleepers generally prefer a softer mattress, while back and stomach sleepers prefer a firmer mattress.
If you are a side sleeper, you want a mattress that provides support without causing pain in your shoulders or side. Innerspring or soft foam mattresses are a good option to consider for side sleepers as they can support the bodyweight easily while also conforming to the body so that you wake up without a sore shoulder, hips, or side.
On the other hand, stomach sleepers generally prefer a firmer sleeping surface that doesn’t make them feel as if they are sinking into the mattress. This is why, a firm memory foam or even a spring mattress with dense springs, can be good options for stomach sleepers.
And lastly, those who sleep on their backs, want the ideal balance of support and comfort. A firm mattress that keeps the spine aligned, while also providing pressure relief to your body. Adjustable mattresses such as air mattresses, or innerspring mattresses are a more suitable option for back sleepers.
What to Look for in a Mattress for Side Sleepers
If you are a side sleeper and are in the hunt for a new mattress, there are two key things to look out for in order to get the most comfortable sleep:
· Back support and spine alignment
· Pressure relief for less shoulder pain
Sleeping on the side is often touted as the ideal position to sleep in for avoiding backaches and for maintaining spinal health. This is because when you are sleeping on the side, your spine is in a neutral position, and there is no pressure on the spine. However, this is only true if your mattress is of the right firmness level and provides sufficient support. For this, memory foam mattresses are the answer. This is because they contour to the body better and provide support to all the key joints and body parts. Look for a mattress that provides a smooth surface and is free of any sags or dents.
The level of firmness of your mattress is also important to ensure pain-free nights and days for side sleepers. Soft mattresses don’t provide enough support and firm mattresses can often put too much pressure on the shoulders leading to painful shoulders in the morning. This is why side sleepers should ideally look for a mattress that is medium to firm with a pressure relief design.
Mattress Shopping Tips
1. Lie Down on the Mattress
If you are shopping in-store for a new mattress, the most important thing to do is to try out the mattress by lying down on it. Instead of just a quick lie-down, take your time making yourself comfortable on the bed, and see if the mattress works for you. Plan to spend at least 10 to 15 minutes on the mattress before committing to any.
If you are buying a mattress online and don’t have the luxury of lying down on the mattress before making the purchase, make sure that you purchase one with a decent trial period or tone that has a flexible return or exchange policy. This way, you will be able to try out the mattress for a few days to see if it is the right fit for you.
2. Look for Return or Trial Policies
Whether you are buying in-store or online, it is important to make sure that your mattress comes with a flexible return and/or exchange policy. Deciding whether a mattress is a suitable fit or not based on a 10 to 15 min lie down is next to impossible. This is why it is better to opt for a mattress from a vendor that offers favorable return and exchange policies. Most mattress manufacturers offer anywhere between a couple of weeks to several months of trial periods. Free pickup, extensive return periods, or customer support are some extra benefits to look out for.
3. Get the Best Price
When buying a mattress from a store, there is a good chance that with some negotiation, you might be able to bring down the price a bit, or at least ask for complimentary add-on services such as old mattress removal or delivery service if these aren’t already included in the price. When buying online, the prices are usually fixed, but even then, a quick Google search might give you a promo code that can help knock a few dollars off the asking price.
4. Box Spring or Not?
Most mattress retailers would try to upsell their products by insisting that you need a box spring too. However, it might not be needed. Check to see if your current box spring is structurally in good condition and is the same size as the new mattress you are thinking of buying. Depending upon the brand and size of the mattress you are thinking of purchasing, you will be able to save a few hundred dollars by sticking with your old box spring. It is important to remember though that, some mattress brands will only provide complete warranty coverage to your mattress if you purchase the accompanying box spring too.
5. Know the Warranty Policy
Typically warranty periods for mattresses range from 10 to 25 years. However, most warranties only cover manufacturing defects and even this coverage can decrease over the years. It is important to note, however, that a longer warranty period doesn’t automatically mean a more durable or higher quality mattress. It is important to take other factors such as the material used, the number of layers, base, and firmness into consideration.
6. Inspect Your Mattress Upon Delivery
When your mattress is delivered, inspect it thoroughly to ensure it doesn’t have any defects, stains, or signs of damage. If it looks damaged or doesn’t look new, don’t accept the delivery. In case, the mattress is in a box, unroll and inspect it as soon as you receive it. Contact customer support if there is an issue with the mattress. Taking pictures of any defects or stains can also be helpful in case you are asked to provide those for warranty claim purposes.
7. Account for Stretching or Adjusting Periods
Most mattresses, especially if they are mattresses-in-a-box, will take some time to gain their proper shape, form, and level of firmness when they are unrolled for the first time. Allow up to 72 hours for the mattress to stretch before sleeping on it. Moreover, if you changed a mattress, there might be a bit of an adjustment phase during which your body gets used to the new mattress. This is why most mattress manufacturers give trial periods of at least a few days so that you can judge the mattress objectively once your body has adjusted to it.
Review of the 5 Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
In order to provide you with the most comprehensive mattress buying guide for side sleepers, we tested several mattresses. Listed below are our top 5 picks.
When it comes to high-quality mattresses, Casper is one of the more popular choices, and for good reason. Casper Sleep Original Hybrid mattress is a top choice for side sleepers looking for a mattress with medium firmness. The mattress is available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King sizes. The dimensions of the King-sized Casper Hybrid are 76 x 80 x 11 inches and weighs 112 pounds.
The mattress is made of three layers of high-quality latex foam that will provide you support and comfort for many nights to come. The Zoned SupportTM layer provides superior support and pressure relief to your spine, hips, and shoulders. The AirScapeTM layer at the top improves airflow, helping you sleep cooler.
The reinforced, resilient springs give the mattress a slight bounce and allow for airflow. The firmer edges, though make sure the mattress remains stable and minimizes movement. The mattress comes with a removable, durable cover that is made using recycled materials and should last you for several years.
Casper offers an excellent 100-night trial and return period, so that you can be sure that the mattress is the most suitable option for you or not. Moreover, the brand offers a 10-year warranty and excellent customer support.
Tuft & Needle’s Original Full Adaptive foam mattress is made using 35% micro-polyamide and 65% polyester to give you a comfortable and plush surface to sleep on. The Gel Memory foam combined with the medium firmness means the mattress provides a great balance between pressure relief and support, making it a great option for all sleeping positions, including those that prefer to sleep on their sides.
The Original mattress line by Tuft & Needle comes in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King sizes. The dimensions of the Full-sized mattress are 75 x 54 x 10 inches, and it weighs a moderate 58.4 pounds. The mattress is certified by both Greenguard Gold and CertiPUR-US, so you can be sure that it is made using eco-friendly, chemical-free materials.
The mattress has a full foam base arranged in an open-cell formation to ensure that the mattress contours perfectly to your body to provide ideal support and pressure relief. Tuft & Needle’s propriety Adaptive Foam technology is second to none in the industry, and this coupled with graphite and gel beds in the mattress cover, mean you sleep much up to 30% cooler at night. However, during our testing phase, we found this mattress’ cooling technology to be a bit lacking.
Like all mattresses from the manufacturer, this mattress too comes with a generous 100-day trial and return policy and a 10-year warranty. This is backed by a great customer support service, to ensure that your experience with the company and your mattress is as hassle-free as possible.
In recent years, Nectar has made a name for itself as one of the preferred US mattress manufacturers. This popularity in part is due to their generous 180-night trial and return period (If you purchase from Amazon. 365-night trial period if bought directly from the manufacturer) and a lifetime warranty period, both of which are better than what most other mattress manufacturers are providing.
Nectar’s Gel Memory Foam Mattress comes in Twin and California King sizes. The dimensions of the California King are 84 x 72 x 11 inches, and it weighs around 102 pounds. The mattress also comes with two complimentary premium pillows, that are otherwise priced at $150 on Nectar’s website.
This mattress has a unique 5-layer foam design, that provides optimal levels of comfort, firmness, airflow, and coolness, regardless of your preferred sleeping position. The Tencel long staple fiber removable cooling covers helps you sleep cool even on those hot summer nights, and the medical-grade memory foam contours to your body perfectly providing pressure relief and support as needed.
Sweetnight’s Gel Memory Foam Mattress is a popular choice amongst people with varying sleeping positions, primarily due to the fact that the mattress can be flipped to switch between soft and medium firmness levels. The mattress is available in Full, Queen, and King sizes, and all sizes come in 10 inch and 12-inch height variants. The Queen 10-inch variant has dimensions 60 x 80 x 10 inches and weighs 63 pounds.
Sweetnight’s mattress boasts a 4 layered and zoned foam design, that provides a perfect balance between comfort and support, and is suitable for any sleeping position as it can either be used either as a mattress with soft or medium firmness levels. The layers of the mattress include 2-inch gel-infused memory foam, a 5-inch comfort foam, and 3-inch high-density support foam. Together all the layers provide optimal back and spinal support and alignment while providing relief from pressure in sensitive areas such as the shoulders and hips. On top of that, the gel foam keeps the mattress, helping you sleep comfortably even when the temperatures are high.
The design of the mattress also allows for motion isolation, making this mattress a great option for light sleepers or couples who don’t want to be bothered by their partner tossing and turning at night.
Sweetnight’s mattress is delivered in a box straight to your doorstep and is covered under a 100-day trial period and a 10-year warranty that is backed by excellent round-the-clock customer support and service.
Lull is yet another industry leader when it comes to mattresses, and their Premium Memory Foam mattress does not disappoint. The mattress is available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King sizes. The dimensions of the Queen-sized Lull mattress are 80 x 60 x 10 inches and it weighs 69 pounds.
The mattress is made using premium quality memory foam. The 3-layer design provides an ideal blend of comfort and therapeutic support, making it suitable for any sleeping position. The top layer of the mattress is made of 1.5-inch viscoelastic memory foam that has been injected with gel polymers that act as a conductor to keep the mattress feeling cool regardless of the temperature. The mattress is also designed to ensure breathability and airflow, for extra comfort.
The mattress has a 7-inch strong and durable polyurethane foam core so you can rest assured that your Lull mattress will remain as good as new even after years of use. On top of this, the company offers a 10-year warranty and a trial period of 100 days to make sure you and your Lull mattress are the perfect match.
Most mattresses generally have a lifetime of 5 to 10 years. However, if your mattress shows obvious signs of wear and tear or is causing backaches or uncomfortable sleep, then it is probably time to change your mattress.
For bed partners with different sleeping positions, a dual-chamber air-filled mattress can help provide the optimal level of firmness for each partner as the firmness of each chamber can be controlled separately.
Latex or foam mattresses are generally a better option for people with allergies as both materials have antimicrobial properties and are resistant to mold and dust mites.
Mattresses that are CertiPUR-US certified are chemical-free.
Memory foam or latex mattresses are generally better for people with backaches as they contour better to the body and so provide more support and help with spinal alignment.