How To Choose The Best Mattress: Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid

older couple smiling on the bed

Choosing the right mattress is absolutely crucial if you want to sleep well and wake up feeling refreshed and energized in the morning.

However, that’s easier said than done.

There are plenty of types of mattresses to choose from, and people often don’t know how to choose the best one.

We will help you out with that by explaining what the most common misconceptions about mattresses are and by comparing various mattress types side by side.

No matter what your body type is, in which position you sleep and how old you are, there is a perfect mattress for you somewhere out there. Let’s go and find it!

5 Mattress Myths People Still Believe And How To Avoid Them


People often have very different ideas about what their mattress should be like. And many of them are completely wrong.

From the way they should feel to how often they should be changed, there are plenty of mattress myths that can prevent you from buying something perfect for you.

There are even some people who still believe in that breaking the law thing if you remove the tag!

So, let’s clear up a few of the most common mattress myths to help you focus on what really matters – the purchase of the
product that is perfect for you.

Myth No.1 – Firm Mattresses Are Good For Your Back


While firm mattresses do indeed provide good support, for many people they are actually too firm and do not provide relaxing sleep.

This is because a mattress that is too firm for you can leave parts of your body without adequate support as it fails to accommodate and adjust itself to your body shape.

Go for a medium-firm mattress instead.

Myth No.2 – Waterbeds Provide No Support


Again, this is not true.

There are plenty of waveless and ultra-waveless models out there that are specifically designed to keep the water calm, so you can actually get some great sleep in one of those.

Do not discard waterbeds just because somebody told you they don’t work.

Myth No.3 - Mattresses Need To Be Replaced Every 8 Years

replacing mattress

Here’s another very widespread misconception.

It’s probably so widespread because it has a nugget of truth in it.

Yes, there are many recommendations out there that say you need to replace mattresses every 8 years or so (the recommendations range from 7 to 10 years).

But this is not a law or anything of the sort.

If you feel your mattress is still in good shape, keep it.

If you feel that it’s not what you need much before the 8 years are up, replace it. As long as you’re enjoying sleeping on it and it does its job, you don’t need to change it.

Myth No. 4 – It Is Against The Law To Remove The Tag


No. Just no.

When you buy your mattress, it’s yours and you can do whatever you want with it.

The tag is vital for warranty claims because of the information on it, but it is NOT illegal to remove it.

Myth No.5 – You Can Immediately Feel Which One Is Right For You


Your body will need time to adjust to a new bed, and that process can take a few days.

In fact, it can sometimes take weeks for you to be fully comfortable.

Besides, just sitting on a mattress in a store isn’t something you should base your decision on because you will sleep on it for hours, not just a few moments, and the feeling after that is quite different.

So always try to get one you can return or replace with a new one if things don’t work out for you.

Mattress Types: A Comparative Overview

OK, now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about things that can actually point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing the right mattress.

There are many different mattress types on the market, each with its pros and cons. Therefore, it’s important to know how they compare to each other in order to know which would fit you best.

1. Innerspring Mattresses

innerspring mattress example

Innerspring mattresses have the longest tradition of them all – the first one was invented all the way back in 1871.

But don’t think that just because the idea is old, these mattresses have nothing to offer.

The core of these things houses coils and springs under a comfort layer, which has its ups and downs.

For example, because of their structure, they’re one of the coolest mattresses on the market, but you are very likely to feel every move the person sleeping next to you makes.

Still, due to their fairly low price, these can be a great buy.

2. Memory Foam Mattresses


Memory foam mattresses, on the other hand, are on average more expensive than the previously discussed type and generally warmer.

On the plus side (although the warmth doesn’t necessarily have to be a drawback), the foam adjusts to your body perfectly and transfers very little motion, so you will sleep undisturbed on it.

But that’s not all because memory foam mattresses are also great in protecting you from allergies, and due to their softness and elastic nature, they can bend in a variety of different shapes.

3. Latex Mattresses

an example of a latex mattress

Next, we have latex mattresses.

There are two main types of latex, Dunlop and Talalay, with the latter being slightly more complex but offering a cooler and better-ventilated product.

What is especially important to note when talking about latex mattresses is that they are environmentally very friendly because they are made from tree sap and do not include any chemicals.

As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to flip them every now and again. And while they are not the cheapest option on the market, they do offer excellent value for your money.

We’d argue that their biggest drawback is their weight, which makes them difficult to move around as you please.

4. Natural Fiber Mattresses


Latex mattresses are actually a part of a larger overall group of mattresses called natural fiber mattresses.  It’s just that they are so popular these days that they can be considered a separate group.

Anyway, a lot of things we said for latex can be said for natural fiber mattresses.

First and foremost, they are great for the environment because they are made of things like organic wool and cotton, but also of many other, more exotic ingredients (horsetail and bamboo, for example).

However, because the range of materials used is so wide, some options may not suit you as well as others.

Another big drawback for these mattresses is the fact that they are generally more expensive than many of their counterparts.

5. Gel Mattresses

an example of a gel mattress topper

Gel mattresses are actually an evolution of your regular memory foam mattress. Gel pads are added to the memory foam, and what you’re left with is a product that is even more comfortable to sleep in.

This is due to a couple of reasons: first, the gel makes the
mattress a lot cooler and allows the heat of your body to dissipate more quickly, something many people feel foam mattresses lack; second, the mattress bounces back quicker to its normal shape, which means it adjusts to the person sleeping on it more quickly and provides more comfort.

And while the price is not as low as that of innerspring mattresses, there still is a wide range of gel mattresses for anyone’s pocket.

The only potential problem with these mattresses is that their manufacturers aren’t exactly clear with what goes into their gel.

So, the main mattress types can be summarized as follows:

Innerspring Memory foam Latex Natural fibers Gel
Most affordable
Adheres to your body
Natural fibers
Environmentally friendly
Fairly cool
Good motion protection
Slightly more expensive, but great value
A wide range of options
Quickly adapts to the sleeper
Transmits a lot of movement
You don’t have to flip them
Relatively expensive
A wide range of prices
Good for allergy sufferers

How To Choose The Best Mattress For Your Body Type?

As we said, there are many different types of mattresses. Likewise, there are many different types of people: short, tall, skinny, fluffy… all shapes and sizes!

You must be thinking to yourself now: how do I know what type of mattress I need?

Well, first of all, you can’t expect that one mattress fits all body types – not everyone needs (or wants) the same amount of support.

So, here’s what’s the best mattress for your body type.

Weight plays an important role in this, but you should also consider the shape of your body, as you will now see.

If you’re on the thinner side of the spectrum, something soft is what you need. Your body doesn’t need that much support, and if you overdo it in the support department, you will feel pain in the morning.

On the other hand, if you’re a big guy (or a girl, obviously), you want something that can handle your weight.

230 pounds (105 kilograms) is considered to be the cut-off point, and if you’re above that, you want something thick (ideally 13 inches/33 centimeters) but not too soft.

Don’t go for something too firm either, since some comfort still has to exist. If you’re in between the two groups, don’t go for just about anything. See what suits you and then choose.

It’s a similar story with your body shape.

If you’re curvy, you would do well to choose a thick comfort layer as this will distribute your weight evenly and help keep your spine in the right position.

People with a flat body type will want a thin comfort layer, and if you’re in between those two categories, you will want to choose a comfort layer that is average in thickness.

However, flat body types will want a firmer top layer of the mattress, whereas curvy people will want something soft.

There are a few useful tips for pregnant women, too.

Memory foam mattresses are an excellent choice in this case because they are most comfortable, but gel mattresses may very well be an even better solution because they are often cooler.

Furthermore, it is best to avoid too soft mattresses because pregnant women often have to get up many times during one night.

If they sink too deep in the mattress, this can become quite a chore. Choose medium firmness to avoid this and still feel comfortable.

How To Choose The Best Mattress For A Baby And How To Pick The Best Kid Mattress?

baby sleeping on a baby mattress

After that last paragraph, it only seems natural to continue our discussion with a look at mattresses for babies and children.

You can’t really put them in any of the aforementioned categories, so buying something for them has to be approached

Baby mattresses MUST be firm. Although some adults may not like the firmness, babies need it to support their growing body.

Natural fibers are a great choice in this category because, as we said in the part about latex mattresses, no chemicals are used in their production.

Latex mattresses are also great in protection against allergies, and the same can be said for memory foam.

Certificates such as the one issued by GREENGUARD are also something your baby mattress should have.

As your baby grows, the mattress can gradually become slightly less firm but remember that they will be growing for quite a while more, so don’t make the mattress too soft.

Also, you will want a durable mattress that can take a lot of punishment like jumping on it, spillage and stuff like that.

Be honest, what child doesn’t vent their energy every now and again on the bed?

Other than that, you may also want to go with something natural, maybe even hypoallergenic.

Best Type Of Mattress For Side Sleepers

It may be worth it to also consider the position in which you’re sleeping when deciding on a mattress.

Most people sleep on their side, and there are actually quite a few health benefits to that sleeping position, too.

But generally speaking, you will want a mattress of medium firmness if you’re a side sleeper, although this should be adjusted depending on your body type as discussed earlier.

Generally, hybrid and memory foam mattresses are considered to be the best option for side sleepers, just try to make an effort to find the one that doesn’t retain too much heat.

Best Type Of Mattress For Back Sleepers

Obviously, not all people sleep on their side.

Some prefer sleeping on their back, and for them, a different approach may yield better results.

Because of the specific sleeping position, mattresses for back sleepers tend to be on the firmer side of the spectrum. This allows for better alignment of the spine and the support to the sleeper’s hips and shoulders is better.

Many mattresses for back sleepers actually belong to the category of innerspring mattresses, but there is, also a lot of great hybrid and latex options, too.

However, the most important thing is to find a mattress that fits your back perfectly and supports the body’s natural position while reducing the strain on pressure points (shoulders, head, etc) and allowing them to breathe.

Best Type Of Mattress For Stomach Sleepers

Last but not least, we have something for stomach sleepers.

Now, this position can harm the upper end of the spine, so it’s important to get yourself a mattress to remedy that.

Because of this, it is recommended that stomach sleepers also sleep on firmer mattresses (medium-firm to firm products).

Support for the sleeper’s mid-section is vital, and many hybrid mattresses provide just that. Memory foam is also an option, but it is recommended that stomach sleepers go for the firmer versions of this type of mattress.

How To Choose The Best Mattress Topper?

a mattress topper
An example of a mattress topper

Finally, we have to say a couple of words on the topic of mattress toppers.

These are the things that are put on top of a mattress to provide an extra layer of softness, additional support, or even to protect the mattress itself.

Therefore, before deciding on which topper to buy, you first have to define what you want to accomplish with it.

It is also worth pointing out that a good mattress topper can even extend the life of your mattress by quite a bit. So, if you’re not looking to buy a completely new mattress, getting a topper can be an ideal solution.

But to get back on the question at hand, we need to discuss how to choose the best mattress topper.

Which features should it have? Well, considering some of the following things is a great start:

Thickness & Dimensions

A mattress topper’s thickness can range wildly: some are 6 inches deep (15 cm), whereas others only add an inch or two (2.5 to 5 cm) to your bed.

In any case, you will want to make sure that your sheets fit once the topper is added.


This leads us to the issue of warmth.

The thicker a topper is, there is more potential to heat up your bed at night. It all depends on the material your topper is made of, but gel toppers can be an excellent solution if you’re looking to keep things nice and cool.


Another aspect of mattress toppers that fits nicely on the previous subject.

Memory foam and latex toppers provide a lot of support and will prevent the movement of the person sleeping next to you to disturb you.

However, they retain a lot of heat. If you’re allergic to something, keep that in mind too. A woolen topper is great if you’re allergic to synthetic materials, for example. Feathers, on the other hand, can add a whole lot of comfort.

Of course, there are other things you should keep in mind, as the topper’s warranty of price, but when it comes to their construction, the aforementioned three are the most important physical features.

Also, you may want to consider your sleeping position and body shape and apply the same reasoning as when buying a whole new mattress.

Also, you’ll be happy to know that some toppers can be washed in a washing machine, which makes it a whole lot easier to keep them nice and clean.


As you can see, there are quite a few factors to take into consideration when deciding how to choose the best mattress.

You need to think about what kind of person will be using it, what kind of material you want it to be made of, what function it needs to fulfill and even what position the sleeper is likely to sleep in.

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on that. Just do your research, don’t let the most common myths influence you, and you will soon be enjoying well-deserved sleep on a mattress that is just right for you.

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