Everyone has their own personal preferences, but almost nothing gets more personal than how you sleep. Being able to sleep comfortably the way you want to is often the difference between a good and bad day. How deeply you sleep can determine your focus and mental capability and how comfortably you sleep controls your physical comfort for the rest of the day. In fact, waking up "on the wrong side of the bed" can almost always be attributed to how comfortable you were while sleeping.
So naturally, it's important to know how to choose the right mattress. But what is the right type of mattress for you?
Enter, our handy mattress buying guide:
The Soft vs Firm Debate
There is actually a huge debate that has been going on for decades about whether or not firm or soft mattresses are better. Almost every mattress commercial in the world sings the praises of softness while orthopedic professionals tend to suggest that a firmer mattress is better for your skeleton, especially if you tend to sleep on your side. However, only you know how you prefer to sleep and the level of firmness you need. Some people adore sinking into the cloud-like softness of completely memory foam mattress while others practically need planks of wood in order to sleep comfortably. Though the debate rages on between mattress marketers and orthopedic professionals, the fact of the matter is that most people ignore the two very different sets of advice and simply look for the mattress that works best for them.
The Position You Sleep In
What is the position you are most likely to sleep in? Most people have one preferred position that they almost universally prefer to sleep in. This preference isn't something you can make up. It's something your body chooses for you. If you want to challenge your sleep preference, try going to sleep in a different way and see if you don't wake up in exactly your normal sleeping position. Many people even have a favorite sleeping direction to face.
A lot of people tend to sleep on their sides, which is why most discussions assume this as the default sleeping position. Sleeping on your side, often resulting in the nice and comfy fetal position, is a great way to put the world behind you and get some rest. But it also means that your mattress choice has the biggest impact on your spine. How your hips and shoulders sink into the mattress can either cause or prevent aches and pains in the morning. Your preference for a firm or soft mattress will depend on the needs of your spine and hips and will be influenced by your weight.
Back sleepers, also known as truly impressive snorers, either like to lie like planks and sleep like logs or they sprawl out their limbs to take up as much of the bed as possible. If this sounds like you, the firmness of your mattress matters most in how it shapes to your lower back. Like a supportive shoe insert, you probably prefer mattresses that offer a good amount of support and may be particular to memory foam because it shapes to your back, suggesting a combination of a firm mattress with a foam topper.
For stomach sleepers, you just can't get comfortable unless you're sprawled out on your stomach. Stomach sleepers tend to sleep with their heads turned to one side hugging the pillow or with their arms thrown out as if to catch invisible balls thrown up through the mattress. Many side sleepers are part-time stomach sleepers, though stomach sleepers have the widest range of soft to firm preference. Some could sleep comfortably on a lightly carpeted floor while others prefer to be practically eaten by the mattress.
How Much You Like to Sink In
Figuring out how to choose the right mattress for you should also take into account how much you enjoy sinking into something soft and squishy. If you take the phrase "falling to sleep" literally and delight in the sensation of sinking deep into the center of your mattress (or at least if feels that way), then you're definitely better off with a softer mattress, maybe even one made entirely of foam so that it can envelop you just the right amount. For those who really like to sink in but your hips, back, or doctor disagrees, consider a thick foam topper on a firm mattress.
Then there are those that profoundly do not enjoy the sensation of being consumed by their mattress. If you get vertigo every time you sink into a very soft mattress, this doesn't actually mean that you need to sleep on a plank, it could just be that foam mattresses and super-squishy pillow toppers aren't for you.
What's Your Pillow Preference?
Another aspect that influences your preference for mattress firmness is how you feel about your pillows. Part of the mattress debate is how much the mattress should conform to your body versus support it as a flat surface. If you like big, fluffy pillows, you're also more likely to want a soft mattress to sink into, but there's more to pillows than fluffiness. Some people like feather pillows that can essentially be molded into the shape you need and if this is you, you're actually more likely to prefer a firm mattress.
Back sleepers are more likely to need a foam pillow or a special neck support pillow to make up for the fact that your head is going to naturally push your chin into your chest, while stomach sleepers may go for no pillow at all. If you like to sleep pillow-free, or often wake up having thrown your pillow halfway across the room (or just pushed it off the bed), you'll want a soft topper, whether or not your mattress is primarily firm or soft.
How You Feel in the Morning
Of course, the most important decider in what kind of mattress person you are is how you feel in the morning. Most of us lose time while we're asleep and only really know how well we slept by the lingering comfort or new aches and pains we feel as we shuffle into the shower. Deep aches are more likely to be caused by a too-soft mattress while "kinks" in the neck, shoulders, and back may be caused by a too-firm mattress. And, naturally, if you wake up feeling rested and wonderful then you have reached the Goldilocks dream of finding one that is Juuuuuust Right.So what kind of mattress person are you? Only you can know, but we can help! For more information about healthy sleep, comfort, and how to choose the right mattress for your body and sleeping style, contact us today!