How to Pick the Right Mattress For You: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

It’s a proven fact that adults need between 7 and 9 hours of good quality sleep per night in order to maintain optimal health.

Despite this, about 35% of adults in the United States report getting less than 7 hours of sleep during a typical night.

If you wake up every morning feeling as though you haven’t slept at all, your sleep needs improvement.

The reason behind your lack of sleep could be a variety of things, but believe it or not, one of the most common is the need for a new mattress.

Knowing how to pick the right mattress is important. The last thing you want to do is replace your mattress with one just as bad or worse!

Outlined below is a guide on how to pick the right type of mattress, so you can wake up feeling rested and rejuvenated instead of exhausted and sore.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know!

Mattress Sizes

When you’re shopping for a mattress, the first step you need to take is to determine which size is right for you.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t just pick the size you currently have. Your current mattress might be too small, making it uncomfortable and hindering your sleep.

There are six common mattress sizes that can be found at any store. Their dimensions are as follows:

  • Twin: 38 x 75″
  • Twin XL: 38 x 80″
  • Full: 54 x 75″
  • Queen: 60 x 80″
  • King: 76 x 80″
  • California King: 72 x 84″

A twin size bed is likely too small for anyone who isn’t a child, but a perfect mattress size for kids.

Full and queen size beds are great for adult single sleepers, and many couples say that a queen size bed is plenty of space.

However, if you’re someone who likes to have a bit of extra room to yourself at night or sleeps with pets, you and your partner might prefer a king-size mattress.

Be sure to take your room size into account as you make your decision. You might love the idea of a king-size mattress, but if it simply won’t fit into your room, you’ll need to go with a smaller size.

Additionally, keep in mind that the two less common sizes, California king and twin XL, are going to make it more difficult to shop for sheets and bed frames.

You can find them, of course, but they might be a bit more expensive than the accessories for popular sizes.

Types of Mattresses

Once you have the size mattress you’re looking for in mind, you need to move on to mattress types.

There are five types of mattresses, all of which come with both pros and cons. Listed below is an overview of each:


Innerspring, or coil, mattresses are the most common type. Their core is made up of one or more layers of steel spring coils that provide support.

In general, the higher the coil count, the more comfortable and supportive the mattress will be.

These mattresses are usually the firmest option and provide cooling, bounce, and edge support.

They’re the least expensive but have the shortest lifespan (about 8 years) so the initial cost doesn’t necessarily make it the most cost-effective.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses last about 10 years on average and are known for their pressure relief and body contouring abilities.

Some memory foam mattresses have a tendency to trap heat but choosing a mattress that doesn’t have this problem isn’t difficult.

Many companies are now producing more advanced foam for their mattresses. The signature mattress from Nolah, for example, is made of cooling foam that provides the softness of memory foam without the additional heat.


Latex mattresses are also made of foam, the only difference is that these mattresses are made exclusively of latex foam.

Unlike memory foam, you don’t run the risk of your mattress trapping heat in the night. Latex foam has cooling properties and provides responsiveness and comfort.

This type of mattress is slightly less contouring than traditional memory foam, preventing it from hugging you too tightly.

These mattresses also have the longest lifespan – a whopping 12 years on average.


Like memory foam mattresses, you can count on hybrids to last around 10 years. Hybrid mattresses give you the best of both worlds of innerspring and memory foam mattresses.

They have the coil core of an innerspring mattress and the foam encasing of a memory foam mattress.

You can also find mattresses that are a hybrid of latex and memory foam. These are made up of layers of each type of foam, giving you all of the pros of both while minimizing the cons.


When you think “airbed” an air mattress that you blow up for a tent or a guest room might come to mind, but they’re actually two different things!

An airbed is a mattress with built-in air chambers that provide support to the sleeper.

Using a remote control or a smartphone app, you can operate the pump within the mattress. This pump will add or remove air to the bed, giving you complete control over the firmness of your bed.

Many of these mattresses even come with the option of changing the firmness of each side individually.

You and your partner can virtually sleep on different mattresses while still sharing a bed!

Choose Your Firmness

Speaking of firmness, each type of mattress comes in a range of firmness options.

You’ll typically see firmness rated on a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being the softest – and different levels of mattress firmness are better for different types of sleepers!

For Back Sleepers

Sleeping on your back is considered the best sleep position by sleep experts, as it allows gravity to keep your spine in alignment.

However, you can still develop lower back pain if you aren’t careful because sleeping in this position puts the most pressure in this area.

If you sleep on your back, you need a mattress that won’t allow your body to form a U-shape from your torso sinking deeper than your upper back and lower body.

A firm mattress is best, but if you want to go a little softer, look for medium-firm.

For Side Sleepers

Side sleepers have maximum curvature against the bed with multiple pressure points touching the mattress at once.

If you’re a side sleeper, you want a mattress that’s soft enough to accommodate the curves of your body, but firm enough that it still provides support. A medium-soft or medium-firm mattress is going to be your best bet.

Bonus Tip: Do your best to sleep on your left side. It will reduce snoring, aid digestion, and can even soothe heartburn!

For Stomach Sleepers

Like back sleepers, stomach sleepers put the most pressure on their lower backs.

Although sleeping on your stomach can prevent snoring and help to relieve sleep apnea, it can also cause neck and back pain.

You want to avoid the U-shape we mentioned earlier, so look for a mattress that’s firm and supportive, setting your spine to neutral alignment.

Stomach sleepers often need the firmest mattresses, but be careful not to go too firm, as this can throw your upper back out of alignment.

For Combination Sleepers

Combination sleepers are those who find themselves in different positions throughout the night, or fall asleep in one position but spend most of the night in another.

If you fall into this category, picking a mattress can be tough. Try to determine which position you spend the most time in while you sleep and choose a mattress to suit that position.

If you’re not sure which position you spend the most time in or spend equal amounts of time in multiple, go with medium-firm.

Price Points

As with shopping for anything, you can find mattresses that are dirt cheap, ones that cost a small fortune, and everything in between.

For most mattress shopping, working with a thousand dollar budget is ideal. This price point will give you the most options while preventing you from overpaying.

Expensive doesn’t always mean better. Just because a mattress costs $5,000 doesn’t mean that you’re going to love it.

On the flip side, however, you don’t want to spend less than $500 – you will regret your purchase if you do.

Shop around and don’t be afraid to compare prices! If you find a mattress that you love in a brick and mortar store, do a quick online search to see if you can find a better price elsewhere.

Learn How to Pick the Right Mattress Before You Shop

With the endless varieties of mattresses from hundreds of different brands, finding the right mattress can be borderline impossible if you don’t know where to start.

But by knowing how to pick the right mattress, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for before you ever step foot in a store.

Remember, your mattress should suit you and your needs! What worked for a friend or family member might not be the answer for you.

Take your time to find the perfect option for you.

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