Mattress shopping is overwhelming, even for someone who owns a mattress store! I have to shop for the mattresses in my store and I am constantly reevaluating the market and looking for new and interesting products. I am an expert and it's overwhelming, so I know how customers feel when they try to navigate the mattress landscape in San Francisco and the East Bay. In San Francisco alone there are tons of places to shop for a mattress. From the department stores like Macy's, to the big box retailers like Sleep Train and Mancini's, to the small manufacturers and small retailers.
Many of these stores carry the exact same products, and the companies with whom they do business simply change the name and fabric of each model so consumers feel like they are getting something unique, and also to further confuse consumers. So, how do you choose the right mattress from all of these mattresses?
The first step to choosing the right mattress for your body type is to cut through all the confusion designed to overwhelm and distract you and understand what you are going to find. There are only a few basic mattresses available: Padding (foam) on top of a coil, Padding (foam) on top of another firmer, support foam, Padding (foam) on top of an air mattress, and a futon type mattress which is solid padding, usually consisting of wool and /or cotton. Most major brands, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons, etc, make their mattresses with some layers of foam over a coil, while companies such as Bed In A Box and Tempurpedic make theirs with foam over support foam. Sleep Number is the big name mattress that makes their mattress with an air mattress for the base, and foam on top. So, foam, foam and coils, or foam and air.
Generally, if you are a side sleeper, you are going to want to focus on medium to softer types of beds, while back and stomach sleepers will be better served on a firmer and/or flatter surface. Foam beds are great for side sleepers as well as back sleepers, as there are soft and firm foams. I personally never recommend sleeping on an air mattress, as air usually finds a way to sneak out of whatever it is in, and air does not support the curve of your back. A pocketed coil is always better for side sleeping as it gives less pressure than a continuous coil mattress.
So, in review: Firm for back and stomach sleepers, softer for side sleepers.
Feel free to email or call if you have any specific questions on any brand and we can give you some guidance.