Mattress Comfort

Here are some questions to ask yourself and your partner when selecting a bed that will fit both your comfort preferences.

When you first purchased your current mattress, did you enjoy the level of comfort it provided?

Studies have shown that a drastic change in comfort levels can be challenging for people. This is especially true when it comes to bed types. For example, if you are switching from a waterbed to an innerspring mattress, the adjustment can be very hard.


In what position(s) do you and your partner most frequently sleep?

Side sleepers (the majority of people) can experience uncomfortable pressure points due to the reduced surface area of the body and generally prefer more cushioning, while stomach sleepers tend to prefer a firmer mattress. Back sleepers generally fall somewhere in the middle and have the widest range of personal preferences. Back sleepers that prefer a more upright sleeping position should consider an adjustable bed.


When testing a new mattress, try laying on it in your typical sleeping position. How does it feel after 10-15 minutes?

Studies have shown that in as little as 10-15 minutes the impressions people have of lying on a new mattress tend to be highly consistent with long-term satisfaction.


Do you and your partner have different comfort preferences?

If so, consider that it is easier to “soften up” a firm mattress than to “firm up” a soft mattress. It is recommended that you purchase a bed that suits the firmer preferences, and then add padding on one side to accommodate the needs of the other partner. Alternatively, certain mattress models are available with differing levels of comfort on each side of the bed.


Are you or your partner frequently disturbed by each other’s movements?

If this is an issue, you might want to consider a bed that uses pocketed coils (Simmons has the widest mattress selection using this type of coil) or memory foam (Tempur-Pedic is the leading brand), both of which are known for their effectiveness at motion separation.



Mattress Support

Here are a few questions to consider when determining the appropriate level of support for your new bed:

When your current bed was new, did you wake up feeling well-rested and free of aches and pains?

If so, you may want to start by focusing on beds with a comparable level of support. As a general rule, orthopedic experts recommend going with the firmest (i.e., most “stiff”) mattress that you find comfortable.


In what position(s) do you and your partner most frequently sleep?

Side sleepers often prefer a mattress with slightly more spring (e.g., medium firm), so that the bed is able to accommodate the body’s natural curves while keeping the spine in alignment. Stomach sleepers, on the other hand, tend to prefer the stiffest, more supportive mattresses. Back sleepers fall somewhere in the middle, but prefer a slightly firmer mattress. Due to their stiffer support requirements, most back and stomach sleepers prefer innerspring mattresses to other types of mattresses such as memory foam (see our mattress product guides for an overview of the various types of mattresses).


What is your body type?

In general, the heavier you are, the stiffer the support you need in order to keep your spine in proper alignment.


Mattress Durability

Here are some questions to consider when evaluating mattress durability:

How long do you intend to use this bed?

A good mattress can last 10 or more years, however, if you anticipate buying a new bed in only a few years (e.g., upon moving, graduating, upgrading, etc.), you may be able to use a less expensive mattress that meets your support and comfort criteria today. Just know that it is more likely to wear out quicker.


Will this bed be used on a regular or part-time basis?

Beds used in guest rooms or vacation homes are exposed to less wear and tear than primary use beds, and thus do not need to meet the same durability standards.


Does the possibility of body impressions on the surface of your mattress bother you?

Certain types of mattresses (e.g., pillow-tops), are more prone to creating body impressions over the life of the bed. This can be of concerning if you and/or your partner spend an extended amount of time in bed. Taking measures such as regular flipping of the mattress, particularly in its first few years, can help protect against this. If body impressions are a major concern, we recommend you purchase a bed without a pillow-top and pad it with a separate topper that can be replaced over time.

Have you previously experienced problems with edge break-down or sagging?

In general, beds have gotten better at protecting against these common issues, but there are specific mattresses that have special features to prevent further edge break-down and sagging. If you have experienced these issues in the past, it is important to consider these special mattresses that have greater durability.


Mattress Size

Here are some things to consider when choosing the right mattress size for you:

What size is your current mattress?

Studies show it is difficult to adjust going from a larger mattress to a smaller one.


Are you and/or your partner active sleepers?

To minimize disruptions during sleep, make sure you choose a bed large enough to allow for free, easy movements.


How tall are you and your partner?

If possible, your mattress should be a minimum of 6 inches longer than the tallest person sleeping in it.


Do you frequently receive “visitors” in your bed (e.g., kids or pets)?

If so, you may want to factor this into your decision of what size mattress to purchase.


What size bed can your room physically hold?

Large beds can be difficult to navigate, particularly around tight corners, hallways, doorways, and stairwells. Be sure to take detailed measurements in advance if you think this may be an issue.