How To Choose a MATTRESS in 5 Easy Steps – The Definitive Guide
I think you will agree with me when I say that choosing the right mattress is no easy task ?
First, you have to dispose of your old one and then go through a tedious process of selecting a new bed that will serve you well for years to come.
And having couple dozen options, manufacturers and handful types and materials doesn’t help, does it ?
Luckily for YOU, SLEEP BOUTIQUE can help you exactly how to pick a NEW, and the RIGHT mattress for YOUR needs, and the most important things to consider.
*Type and Material
*Your Sleeping Position
Visit us at 327 Cape Road in Newtonpark for a FREE COMFORT BED TEST, and expert advice, or contact us on 082 827 7098.
Looking forward to see you in our store soon !
Sleep Boutique Greetings
Linda and Werner
How To Choose a Mattress in 5 Easy Steps – The Definitive Guide
I think you will agree with me when I say that choosing the right mattress is no easy task?
First, you have to dispose of your old one and then go through a tedious process of selecting a new bed that will serve you well for years to come.
And having couple dozen options, manufacturers and handful types and materials doesn’t help, does it?
Luckily for you, you canfind out exactly how to pick a new mattressand most important thing to consider.
Table of contents (use it to jump to a certain section)
If you are in a hurry jump to our conclusion and summary.
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Step 1: Do You Really Need A New Mattress?
Many people change their beds after just a few years, and that’s perfectly fine if you can afford it. The fact is, it’s not a small investment, so take a moment to determine do you really need a new.
Generally, after seven or eight years you will most likely need a new mattress. Of course, it depends on the quality and material (we will cover the types and materials later in this article). And if you feel back or neck pain it might, your bedding is a good place to start.
Here is the average mattress lifespan in years based on material and type:
Step 2: Determine your Budget
A bit of personal backstory here…
Several years back I went to a store and purchased amattress priced at $2500which was not even the most expensive one there. During the first year or so it was perfect, and I felt rejuvenated, and I slept like a baby during that time.
But, something happened.
My new and awesome mattress started sagging and losing support and needless to say my back and neck suffered.
Another two years had passed until I decided to buy a new oneonline at $850and this is the same one I’m using today after three years. Back to reality.
Not anyone will have the budget to walk into a store and buy something for several thousand dollars. Luckily, these days there are manyonline optionsyou can choose from rangingfrom $500 to $1200. There are also Black Friday bed deals (and Cyber Monday) that can result in additional savings as well.
Don’t get confused here. More money does not mean better quality. If you think that some of these online options are somehow worse than in-store ones, you are badly mistaken.Stores tend to inflate the prices as much as 1000%.
Here are some guidelines for you:
- Don’t always go with the cheapest option you find– This is a rule of thumb for most products you buy online. Spending less than $500 for a queen mattress simply because it means lower durability, more toxins and lower sleep quality in general.
- Higher Price does not mean Higher Quality– I bet you know this one, but it’s worth mentioning.
- Go with $1000 range for Queen size– This is usually where you will find the best bang for your buck.
- King / Cal King will cost slightly more– I would increase the budget for King and California King to $1400-1500 as you will have many more choices in that range.
- Now that you have your new budget set, I’m guessing you are asking yourself“what type of mattress is best for me?”Let’s dig in.
Step 3: Choose Your Ideal Type and Material
Ok, so this is where most people will go with their personal preference rather than anything else. If someone says “latex is the best,” I would not take this as final until I read other opinions and test it myself. Here are the most common options you will find these days.
This is the most traditional form of the mattress, and as of late, it’s received a bad rap. However, it is important to understand the potential benefits you could receive from going the traditional route, as well as the reasons why this option has lost its luster.
An obvious pro to purchasing a bed with springs is that it is one of themost affordable optionson the market, due in part to a decrease in demand and also in part to so many other options that have the potential to be more comfortable andbetter for overall health.
Another consideration is that these mattresses are known to last for decades. Spring beds are exceedingly durable. Being that the springs are typically made from different types of metals, they tend to keep their shape for many years.
Additionally, being that they are the most traditional style, they are also the most familiar. People recognize and understand what they are getting when they purchase a bed with springs. There is no guess work with this option like there may be with memory foam or other newer options.
The last notable advantage to this style of bed is that, because of the amount of space located between the springs, this option allows for the most circulation of air. This flow helps to keep the temperature down, allowing for acooler night’s sleep.
Example of the coil mattresses structure
Ideal for: People who want strong support, durability, cooling and great bounce. It also has an excellent edge support.
These mattresses are known for their fantastic cooling and comfort. Latex has a good bounce, responsiveness too.
Authentic latex foam is made from a tree called Hevea-Brasilenis tree, specifically from the white liquid extracted from it. Latex is harvested, and when the excess water is removed, you end up with raw material fantastic for various products, bedding systems being one of them.
It’s also great because you don’t get off-gassing and odors like with memory foam products.
Example of the latex bed structure
There are two types to choose from:
- Natural – More healthy option and environment-friendly. But it’s also more expensive so expect to pay around $2000 for a good natural latex mattress
- Synthetic – Made by mixing synthetic polymers with natural tree sap. Less expensive of course but less healthy in turn.
Latex is best forpeople who want good cooling, responsiveness, and bounce.
Memory foam was first developed in the 1970’s by NASA as a safety material for seat cushions to protect pilots and passengers during plane crashes. Since then, the material has blossomed into the burgeoning product employed by virtually every mattress maker.
Example of the memory foam bed structure
Why has it become so popular? The answer is that it is said to provide superior comfort and support for the entire body. Anyone who’s pressed their hand into this material immediately understands its appeal.
Memory foam uniquelyconforms to every inch of the bodythat is pressed into it. When you lift your body from the material, it slowly regains its original form, essentially making it perfect for every body type and every sleeper.
Another unique property of memory foam is itsmotion isolationcapabilities. You may have seen those commercials with a lady jumping on a mattress with a glass of wine at the other end. Miraculously, the wine doesn’t spill.
The wine doesn’t spill because the energy from jumping is not transferred to other parts of the mattress. This translates to better sleeping for partners, because the tossing and turning of one does not affect the other, a feature that is not found among any of the other options on the market.
One of the most common issues that people experience is that thematerial retains heat. If you are someone who requires a cool night sleep, the memory foam option may not be the best choice for you. While the manufacturers are coming up with new and better ways to keep the heat down, the jury is still out as to whether or not they’ve succeeded.
Ideal For: People who want body shaping, contour, pressure relief and good support.
The hybrid mattress is an unusual combination of both traditional spring and memory foam. Providing the best of both worlds, this option offers the contouring and lack of motion transfer of foam coupled with the support of springs.
Structure of the hybrid bed- example
The term “hybrid” is very loosely used to describe the combination we just mentioned. However, the amount of foam for these beds varies widely depending on the level of firmness desired. Some options employ less than 1.5 inches of foam, lending to the fact that they more closely resemble that of a traditional spring bed rather than the more modern memory foam option.
To find the most optimal version of a hybrid, it’s best to choose the one that hasclose to 3 inches of foam. Anything above that, and you might as well forego the springs all together.
One negative aspect of these beds is the fact that they are one of the more expensive offerings you’ll find. Purchasing one of these could put you in the multiples of thousands of dollars, a significant investment, but a worthy one if you plan to enjoy it long term.
Good For: People who want best all around product with good support, bounce, cooling and pressure relief.
And now the three less common but still important types:
These beds offer a unique ability tochange the sleeping positionbased on your preference. You can elevate the head or feet giving you more options than traditional products. These beds provide extra comfort for people suffering from chronic lumbar pain or just want to be slightly elevated to prevent snoring. They do look ugly though most of the time.
Perfect for: People with certain medical conditions like snoring, older sleepers and people with lower back pain.
These are usually coil, latex or memory foam beds buthave a layer of soft material sewn into the cover to make it more comfortable. These are also considered more luxurious and usually cost a bit more than standard options.
Good for: People who prefer more padding and softer feel.
A rather weird option, but sometimes very fun especially if you love waterbed sex. Some of the most common reasons for opting in for this type is a backache and arthritis relief. These beds are also great for people with allergies.
Good for: People with back pain, arthritis and allergies and anyone looking for something less conventional.
Step 4. Determine your Ideal Sleeping Position and Firmness
Most of us have a unique way of sleeping every night. No matter if you sleep on your side, stomach or back, or even if you switch throughout the night you will have to consider and choose the ideal type of bed based on your preference. So, take a moment and think, what’s your favorite sleeping position because that determines theideal firmness of your new bed.
The most important factor for back sleepers is firmness and support. If your mattress is too soft, your body will sink and cause back pain. You will need one that’s soft enough to provide pressure relief but still provides enough support. On a scale of 1-10, the perfect range would be 5-7.
According to The Better Sleep Council, only roughly 15% of people are back sleepers. Being that you are unique, it’ll take a special mattress to offer you the night’s rest you are seeking.
It’s the consensus that memory foam mattresses provide the highest level of comfort for people who sleep on their backs. This is because it provides adequate contouring to the spine while maintaining a longevity of proper support and structure.
Many people who often sleep on their sides, endure discomfort and pain in their hip joints and shoulders.It’s usually due to unsuitable bedding.
It’s advised that you go with a bit softer option than for a back sleeper as these they provide for an equal distribution of pressure while you’re sleeping on your side.
Ideally, you want to choose a mattress with firmness level of 3-6 (out of 10) which falls undermedium soft.
This is considered the worst sleeping position. The most important thing for stomach sleepers is to provide equal distribution of weight across your entire body as your torso will apply most pressure. If the mattress is too soft (not enough support) your spine will curve causing back pain.
You will want to look for something in 5-7 range, which falls undermedium to medium-firm. The good thing is that most options are in this range.
Step 5. Consider your Weight as a Factor
On first glance, you might be asking yourself,what does weight have to do with choosing a mattress?
The truth is, support, hug, feel, sinkage and even cooling will depend on your body type and weight. Another harsh truth is that there is no “best” mattress for every one of us.
Let’s take a look at the following guidelines how to choose an ideal firmness level based on your weight:
- Light (Less than 150 pounds)– You will want a medium firm bed around5-6 firmnessthat doesn’t sink too much. If you are lighter than 150 lbs, you can even go with four since most beds are rated for average sleeper of 180lbs.
If you want a softer feel or if you are a side sleeper you can opt for 3-4 firmness range. These are soft orplush options.
- Average (150-200 pounds)– Like with the previous category you can choose industrystandard of 5-7, providing perfect support and comfort.
Some sleepers will want to opt for more softer beds, and that’s perfectly fine, just go with 3-5 range if you sleep on your side and you are all set.
- Heavier Person (200+ pounds)– Heavier people can cause more pressure points on their back, and ideally you want to choose a firmer option to adjust for sinkage. If you are having problems with cooling, you ought to consider coil mattresses.
Ideally, choose a thick (12”) or thicker bed. This will provide good support and soft feel.
How to Select the Right Mattress for You – Summary
Hopefully, you have finished reading the above but even if you haven’t these five steps will ease your task of choosing a mattress for you or your family.
- Do you need a new mattress?– If your current bed is over eight years old, I’d consider replacing it no matter what. If you are having trouble sleeping or experiencing back or neck pain I would start searching.
- What is your current budget?– Don’t go with the cheapest option you find. Aim for $700-1200 range for a standard queen size bed (see top options). Of course, if you are buying smaller ones for your kid or teenager, the price will be considerably lower. Don’t spend less than $400 though. The quality drop-off is huge.
- What are your ideal type and material?– This is hands down the biggest challenge. Memory foam offers good contour and hug but sleeps hot. Traditional coil ones provide good bounce and cooling and are generally more durable. I recommend foam or hybrid to most people except for heavier sleepers who should opt for innerspring.
- What’s your preferred sleeping position?– This determines your ideal firmness level. On a scale of 1-10 (one being soft and ten being very firm), back sleepers will want to opt for a medium firm (4-7), side sleepers for more softer option (3-5) and stomach sleepers will need more support to avoid sinking (6-7 range).
- What’s your body type and weight?– Lighter sleepers (150lbs or less) will want a 1-2 points softer mattress to get the same feel like an average (180lbs) person. On the other hand, if you are a heavier person you will need more support and thicker mattress to support the weight.
Author: Sleep Advisor
Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.
Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.
How to Choose a Mattress. 5 Easy Steps
To feel refreshed and fully awake, we need to pay attention to our sleeping place. A massive range of mattresses in retail and online stores leads customers to more confusion than making the only right decision.
According to Restfaq.com, the issue of getting the most suitable product concerns many consumers. This article will help understand the differences between various mattress models, their fillings, and different firmness degrees.
Firmness is one of the essential characteristics of an orthopedic mattress. Complete rest and well-being of a person depends mainly on the firmness. For comfortable rest, the best option on the scale is Medium, but the choice remains individual.
Firm mattresses are recommended for people with spinal disorders, osteochondrosis. The filling can be compressed polyurethane foam, struttofiber, coconut fibers, composites. As a result, the surface is not soft and comfortable, but if a person has spine problems, Extra Firm option is perfect support for the sick or injured vertebrae.
Sleeping on such mattresses is also recommended to people with excellent health, but those over 50 years of age should be careful when choosing. In any case, firm mattresses are quite specific products, chosen either because of the love for hard sleeping surfaces or due to medical prescriptions. There are also softer Firm and Medium Firm options.
The Medium category is the most recommended firmness for a healthy person of average body size and height. Inexpensive models are filled with composite materials like struttofiber, artificial latex, and polyurethane foam with typical orthopedic qualities. More expensive models have a combination of natural latex, memory foam, and coconut coir inside. Such mattresses are in high demand.
To ensure low mattress firmness, manufacturers use polyurethane foam and natural latex layers. Natural latex filling is assigned to orthopedic padding, and polyurethane foam is not suitable for people with increased weight. Often Soft and Medium Soft variants are chosen for the elderly, as well as for 8-15-year-old kids.
To clarify the firmness of a mattress, you should check the accompanying documents to know its weight limit. A skinny person will feel comfortable on a soft model, and those who have extra pounds should opt for a firmer option.
In addition to the above criteria, the weight of a future owner plays an important role. It is essential since the service life of the product depends on it, as well as comfort.
Make sure not to exceed the maximum weight per sleeping place indicated in the characteristics of the mattress. It is better to have a reserve for this indicator in the range of 11-44 lbs. Moreover, keep in mind that the firmness is indicated for people of medium size (154-198 lbs). For an overweight person (over 242 lbs), a Medium mattress can be too soft and vice versa, for a person weighing 88-110 lbs, such a mattress can be too firm (Medium Firm).
- Overweight people will feel comfortable on rather high mattresses.
- For people with average weight, experts advise opting for mattresses of medium thickness.
- A skinny person will not be able to exert enough pressure on the thick base of a mattress, so it makes no sense to buy a too thick mattress.
- Thin models (around 1″ thickness) are not suitable for sleep.
- These products are called mattress pads. They are suitable for creating comfort on various couches, beds, leveling their surfaces.
These products are called mattress covers. They are suitable for creating comfort on various couches, beds, leveling their surfaces.
Mattress Size and Height
Comfortable rest depends mostly on the height of a mattress. Moreover, this factor is also crucial in terms of aesthetics. The thinnest mattresses are up to 5.5″ thick. They are usually designed for children or infrequent seasonal use. Experts say that thin models can negatively affect health, particularly the spine if the weight of a person is significant. For adults, the following height reference points will be appropriate in terms of the leading mattress for permanent use:
- When choosing a mattress for adults, opt for the 5.5-12″ thick products.
- If you buy a springless monolithic mattress, its thickness should be at least 5.5-6.3″.
- High-quality mattresses with independent spring blocks are made in thickness not less than 7-7.5″. All that is less are super cheap options with thin filling.
- Manufacturers also offer models with multi-layer filling, which provides more convenience and comfort. Elite mattresses can be from 9.5″ to 15.7″ thick.
- The standard height of an orthopedic mattress for adults is the range of 7.5-9″.
For children over four years, the use of very thin mattresses (1-2″) is categorically unacceptable.
When it comes to the size of a mattress with orthopedic properties, the question is about its suitability for the base and/or bed on which it will be used:
- If a mattress is wider than the bed, this may lead to either hanging off the bed’s edges or simply not fitting the bed;
- If the matress width is smaller than needed, this may cause inconvenience during rest, inaccuracy in the look of the bed;
- In case of inappropriate length, the same uncomfortable picture will turn out, leading to discomfort or impossibility of exploitation.
- The most popular sizes of mattresses for single beds are 31.5х74.8″, 31.5х78.7″, 35х78.7″.
- For double-sized beds, 47х78.7″, 55х78.7″, 63х78.7″ and 71х78.7″ are considered standard. I recommend to take standard sizes – it will simplify the selection of furniture and accessories.
- If the size of your mattress is out of standard values, you can always order a mattress in a non-standard size.
Tip. The best option is to choose a bed and mattress at the same time, with exact mutual parameters.
Let’s figure out thedifferences.
Mattresses with dependent spring blocks are called classical, and their use lasts more than a hundred years. They are called “Bonnell” and have no orthopedic properties.
The use of old and failed spring mattresses leads to damage to the vertebral joints and curvature of the spine.
Among other disadvantages, there is spring wear due to mutual friction which leads to squeaking and impossibility to have a rest with comfort in silence. Dust is collected between the springs, which not only negatively affects a sleeping person on the mattress but also promotes the development of parasites in it.
The low cost of spring models attracts customers. However, before buying, you should weigh all the pros and cons, to avoid possible health problems.
Such mattresses attract consumers with a simple but very convenient design. Each of the springs is located in a separate case, which allows you to move without contacting other spring blocks. When pressing several blocks, the neighboring springs will remain in the same position. At the top and bottom of the blocks, fillers are placed horizontally, which, along with the springs, creates an exceptional mattress with excellent orthopedic and anatomical properties.
Each spring works pointwise, independently – this means that the mattress is perfectly adapted to each human body bend, providing the necessary spine support. The usual spring tightness is 250 springs per 10.8 square feet (1 m). However, there are also models with advanced design blocks – Multipocket (about 500 springs per 10.8 square feet) and Microprocket (more than 900 springs per 1 m). Such models can be recommended to people with high weight, as well as to those who want to get the best orthopedic back support and get everything from modern spring mattresses.
Mattresses with an independent spring blocks are good for people from 12 years of age, considering the firmness degree. The following points can be considered as advantages:
- Expressed orthopedic properties with excellent back support;
- Long service life;
- No spring creaking;
- Can be used by overweight people;
- Reliability (preserving of basic features even after active kid games);
- Sleep and rest convenience.
The price for these mattresses varies widely – from inexpensive TFK models with spring blocks and artificial fillers to expensive mattresses with solid super-tight spring blocks and high-end class materials.
Springless Mattresses with Polyurethane Foam
This is the most common type of inexpensive springless mattresses today. They are often sold in compact wrapped packages and purchased for children, teenagers, and adults as cost-effective options. Perfect for a summer house or a rented apartment. However, there are good options that are perfectly suitable for permanent use. However, pay attention to the firmness of polyurethane foam – such mattresses should be “Medium” or “Medium Soft.”
- Availability and low cost;
- Firmness range from Extra Soft to Medium;
- Quite good orthopedic qualities of models with dense polyurethane foam;
- Portability convenience.
- Low service life;
- Anatomical properties are not the best.
A well-thought-out approach here will allow you to purchase a model suitable for personal needs because filling material directly affects the firmness, eco-friendliness, and reliability of the product.
Remember! Such fillings as fluff, inexpensive foam padding, and cotton wool do not have orthopedic characteristics. Among the unpopular cotton wool properties, there is lump formation, which prevents comfort during sleep.
The basis for the production of latex layers is the hevea juice which is processed in a unique way to produce foamy mass. The prepared material serves as a perfect filler that fits the body and supports the spine.
Latex can be both soft and firm enough. At the same time, the artificial material is characterized by a higher degree of firmness than the natural one. The popularity of latex mattresses is evidenced by their demand among both children and adults.
- Anatomical repetition of body contours.
- Sleep comfort for people with back problems;
- Perfectly withstands heavy loads and overweight people, fast recovery.
- Combination with different materials allows for increased firmness if necessary;
- The use of the content in soft mattress models preserves both sleep comfort and orthopedic properties;
- No allergic effects;
- Fast elimination of excessive moisture;
- Wear resistance under heavy loads.
Among the cons are the high cost and fragility of artificial material which dries up after some time, resulting in a split.
The high popularity of polyurethane foam (PU foam, orthopedic foam, artificial latex) is explained by a foam rubber that has various orthopedic additives. Polyurethane foam allows making orthopedic mattresses with significant characteristics at a rather low price.
- Affordable price;
- Immunity to high loads, jumps and games are not critical;
- Orthopedic properties, for those who care about their health.
Problematic aspects include the difficulty of removing absorbed moisture, as well as cleaning problems. Besides, the service life of mattresses with polyurethane foam is rather short – from 4 to 9 years.
Elastic plates made of pressed coconut fibers are among the reasonably durable materials that are often used to fill orthopedic mattresses. Coir is usually combined with latex and polyurethane layers to create an excellent surface for sleep and relaxation. Alternatively, it can be used without any additional softening agents, thus, resulting in high-firmness mattresses.
Theadvantagesof choosing a coconut bed mattress include:
- Hypoallergenic material;
- Prevents bacterial growth;
- Has rapid moisture evaporation;
- Not a subject to rotting;
- Eco-friendly material;
- Excellent ventilation;
- Therapeutic and orthopedic properties;
- No harmful components;
- Proper back support during sleep;
- Acceptable for children of all ages.
Thedisadvantagesinclude high cost due to the complexity of processing and material preparations.
Mattresses with coconut filling are characterized by fragility (should not be exposed to impacts and twists).
Holofiber and Struttofiber
An interesting name refers to the unique properties of a material, due to its unique structure – vertically positioned fibers. Struttofiber mattresses can also be produced with goat hair, horsehair, and linen threads. The excellent combination is received by mixing struttofiber or holofiber with polyurethane foam or independent spring blocks. Holofiber is a very similar material, but the fibers in it are directed randomly, which makes this material slightly softer in comparison with struttofiber.
Theadvantagesof struttofiber/holofiber are as follows:
- Wear resistance;
- Hypoallergenic material;
- Excellent breathability;
- Perfect orthopedic features;
- Rapid moisture removal from the surface;
- Fast restoration to the original shape;
- Wide firmness range, from medium to high.
Mattresses with Memory Effect
Memory foam is a material with a foam structure that allows the surface to adapt to the body by bending under the person, taking shape, and recovering within minutes after the load. Such mattresses provide excellent conditions for sleeping, though at low temperatures the unique material becomes firmer.
How to Clean a Mattress in 9 Simple Steps
A mattress is a serious investment, so you want to make sure it lasts—and that means learning how to clean a mattress. Mattresses can harbor dust mites, dead skin, dirt, and other debris, which means they need to be cleaned regularly—particularly if you suffer from allergies, have pets, or are just an avid midnight snacker.
The good news is that cleaning a mattress is far easier than you might think. Read on to discover the nine simple steps that will help you keep your mattress clean and ready for years of snoozing. Thanks to expert insights from Ed Curry, president of mattress company Duxiana, and Neil Parikh, cofounder of Casper, here are some pro tips for taking good care of your mattress so you can sleep easy.
1. Gather your mattress cleaning supplies
To deep clean a mattress, you’ll need certain materials on hand. Gather up:
- a vacuum with an upholstery attachment
- an enzyme cleaner or dish soap to get stains out
- laundry detergent
- baking soda
- cleaning cloths
- cold water
2. Strip the bed and wash all the bedding
Remove sheets, pillowcases, and mattress covers and let them take a spin in the washing machine while you work on cleaning the mattress. Washing all the bedding in hot water will help get rid of any dust mites. Depending on the type of pillows you have, you may be able to wash them as well. (Double-check the care label.)
3. Vacuum the mattress
Grab your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment and go over the entire surface of the mattress, including the sides. Pay special attention to seams and break out the crevice attachment to get any hidden dirt or dust.
4. Spot-clean your mattress with a stain remover
Now it’s time to focus on getting stains out of the mattress, and that means spot-cleaning. Never soak your mattress or apply water or cleaning solution directly to it. Memory foam, for example, isn’t supposed to get wet at all. For that reason, it’s important to proceed with caution and operate on the principle that less is more.
So, spot-cleaning with a stain remover it is. The stain remover you choose will depend on the type of stain and the type of mattress. For biological stains, reach for an enzyme cleaner. Spray the cleaner onto a clean white cloth, and then blot the stained area with the cloth. After that, you can apply cold water to a different clean cloth and continue blotting until the stain lifts. The goal here is to use as little product and moisture as possible. This method is ideal for blood, sweat, vomit, urine, and other related stains.
As an alternative to an enzyme-based cleaner, you can make your own DIY solution by mixing dish soap with water and applying just the resulting foam to the stain. You can also make a DIY solution of equal parts cold water and hydrogen peroxide.
5. Sprinkle baking soda all over the entire mattress
If you can’t put your mattress out in the sun and fresh air, baking soda is the next best thing. Sprinkle a layer over the entire top of the mattress and leave for several hours (or better yet, apply before an overnight trip). Baking soda will break down acid and absorb any remaining moisture or odor. The longer you can leave baking soda on the mattress, the better it will work! As the mattress sits with the baking soda, open any windows in the room to let the light and sunshine in. The sun’s UV rays will actually help kill any mold or bacteria on the mattress.
6. Vacuum again
Once the baking soda has worked its magic, thoroughly vacuum it up. (If you have a fabric headboard, now’s a good time to vacuum that, as well! Might as well get a fresh start with everything bed-related.)
7. Flip the mattress
Now that side one is spotless, flip the mattress and repeat steps 1-5 so both sides are equally fresh and clean. Flipping, of course, should be done at regular intervals, whether you’re deep cleaning the mattress or not. The conventional wisdom has been that people should flip their mattress every three months, but that rule of thumb only applies to spring mattresses because they compress over time. As mattresses get more specialized, your best bet is to check with the model manufacturer. (The foam Casper mattress, for instance, only needs to be rotated 180 degrees every few months, while only the top pad of Duxiana’s Dux mattress needs to be flipped and turned.)
How to Pick Your Perfect Mattress
Ready for a new mattress? Here’s how to find the one that suits you best.
Getting a good night’s sleep depends on a lot of different factors — comfort, stress level, room temperature вЂ“ but to get it right, you’ve got to start with the basics and your mattress is the first building block to a restful slumber.
If you’re in the market for a new mattress and have recently taken a stroll down the aisle of a bedding store, you know that there is a dizzying array from which to choose. How do you know which mattress is best for you?
To start, says Arya Nick Shamie, MD, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center, the mattress needs to support your body in a neutral position, one in which your spine has a nice curvature and your buttocks, heels, shoulders, and head are supported in proper alignment
"If the mattress is too firm, it will push on those main pressure points and take you out of alignment," Shamie tells WebMD. "If it’s too soft, those pressure points won’t be properly supported, so your whole body flops back." Both of these scenarios can lead to an achy morning.
Generally speaking, one type or brand of bed isn’t better than another, says Michael Breus, PhD, a WebMD sleep expert and author ofBeauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep.But he does find that a firmer bed seems to be better for people with lower back pain.
In fact, researchers in Spain studied people with long-term back pain and found that on a 10-point hard-to-soft scale people who slept on a medium-to-firm mattress (5.6 on the scale) had less back pain than those who slept on a softer mattress.
Is It Time for a New Mattress?
How do you know if the bed you’re sleeping on is the right one?
"If you wake up in the morning and have some low back pain and can stretch and get rid of it in 15 or 30 minutes, that means you’re on an inappropriate mattress for you," Breus says.
The right mattress, on the other hand, is one on which you feel no pressure, almost like you’re floating in air, Breus says.
If you’re looking for a new mattress, experts suggest testing it in the store and laying down on each mattress in the position in which you normally sleep. Breus suggests spending at least 10 to 15 minutes on the bed. And, bring your own pillow! The more you can replicate the way you’ll be sleeping on the mattress once you get it home, the better your chances of picking the right one.
Innerspring mattresses are still by far the most widely used. They support you with coil springs, and in most built today, each coil is individually enclosed. This helps the bed weather years of use and prevents the coils from popping out of the mattress. On top of the coils are a wide variety of materials added for comfort, from pillow to latex to memory foam. It’s all a matter of preference.
Salespeople may try to sell you on the idea that more coils mean more comfort, but that’s not necessarily true, Breus and Shamie say.
"You don’t really need a coil count above 390," Breus says. Beyond that, the difference in feel is so small it would be difficult to notice.
Pros:There are plenty of innerspring mattresses on the market from which to choose. They range in firmness, the fluffiness of the pillow top, and in price to fit nearly every preference and pocket book.
Cons:There’s no direct relationship in most cases between price and comfort, but Shamie suggests steering clear of the cheapest innerspring mattress. If there aren’t enough springs and cushion to offer you proper support, he says, you’ll likely wake up with an aching back.
Conditions:For someone who is very overweight, spring mattresses may offer a firmer support, making them easier to get in and out of, Breus says. Firmer versions are good for people with back pain. But spring-based mattresses can be comfortable for almost anyone.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam mattresses are growing in popularity. They are made of layers of different densities of foam that respond to weight and temperature, and are known for comfort because they contour to the specific shape of your body. Memory foam toppers are also available.
Pros:By molding to the shape of your body as your weight shifts through the night, memory foam reduces pressure points, and relieves pain. Memory foam also absorbs movement, so if you sleep with a partner, you’re not likely to be disturbed by his tossing and turning.
Cons:One of the biggest complaints with memory foam mattresses is that because these mattresses are temperature sensitive, softening and molding with your body heat, they can make you feel extremely hot during the night. Breus also says memory foam mattresses have been known to emit an unpleasant chemical smell.
Conditions:"If you have a hard time getting comfortable, if you have chronic fatigue, or some type of muscle pain, then a memory foam mattress would work well for you, assuming you don’t have temperature issues," Breus says.
Latex mattresses are made from either natural or synthetic rubber, and are known for providing a very firm, bouncy support that is uniform throughout the bed.
Pros:"Quite frankly, I think one of the best materials is latex," Breus says. He likes it for being very firm and supportive, but also for providing comfort similar to memory foam. Unlike the memory foam mattresses, however, Breus says latex pushes back, ultimately providing more support.
Cons:If you don’t like the feel of a firm mattress, latex is probably not the right choice for you.
Conditions: Either a latex mattress or latex mattress topper is great for relieving back pain because they offer the best combination of comfort and support, Breus says.
We’re not talking about the blow-up mattresses you put your holiday guests on for a few days. Higher-end air beds look like a standard innerspring mattress, but use air-filled chambers instead of coils, and are covered by a foam layer on top.
Shamie notes that air beds have long been used for patients with spinal cord injuries who are lying in bed for a long time. They can be adjusted so they don’t continue to press on the same areas of the body, which helps to avoid skin breakdown in patients who can’t move.
Pros:"Couples who have dramatic differences in their individual preference for comfort and firmness levels might do very well with an air mattress," Breus says. The reason is that the firmness of each side of the bed can be altered. If you like it firmer than your partner, these beds can be adjusted for that.
Like latex and memory foam, you can also find air toppers for your mattress.
Cons:Shamie says people sometimes fail to make their air bed firm enough and wake up with back aches. Less sophisticated air mattresses also pop up on one side when you sit on the opposite end. For that reason Breus says, you want multiple chambers so that doesn’t occur.
Conditions:These beds are particularly useful when sleeping partners have different needs. If one of you has a bad back, one side can be made firmer than the other to provide greater support.
These beds are able to bend and elevate at varying angles. As a result, the mattress has to be flexible. Different types of mattresses can be used on an adjustable bed вЂ“ memory foam, latex, or air, for example. Spring mattresses are more difficult to use, however, because the springs don’t handle the bending well.
Pros:For people who have difficulty getting in and out of bed or who like to watch television in bed, Shamie says, adjustables can make life easier by moving you closer to where you need to be.
Conditions:If you suffer from sleep apnea, sleeping flat can make the condition worse by cutting off airways and causing the tongue to fall into the back of the throat, Shamie says. People who experience acid reflux can also benefit by sleeping in a bed that elevates their upper body.
Shamie also suggests adjustable beds for people with hip or back pain who have a hard time moving from a lying position to sitting up or standing.
When you have guests staying for a night or two, sofa beds come in handy. The mattresses in these beds tend to be very thin so they are flexible enough to fold and collapse into the couch. It’s a great convenience to have a sofa bed, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who raves about their comfort.
Pros:Sofa beds are convenient, especially if you have limited space. But from a health perspective, Shamie and Breus don’t see any advantages.
Cons:A night or two on a sofa bed is OK. But "this is probably the worst kind of bed you can sleep on long-term," Shamie says. The mattresses used in most sofa beds are very thin and the springs quite weak. "It really leads to an uncomfortable situation," Shamie says.
If you’re really tight for space and need a bed that folds up, Shamie says that futons, while not the most supportive, are better for your back than the typical sofa bed.
Conditions:There are no conditions for which a sofa bed will be helpful, according to the experts. But if you have a bad back or hips, these beds will be especially uncomfortable.
When to Part With Your Old Mattress
Today’s mattresses are made to last a lifetime. But you probably shouldn’t plan on keeping yours for that long. Our bodies change over time, Breus says, so the mattress that was once a joy to sleep on may no longer feel comfortable a few years down the road.
In addition, mattresses collect dust mites, fungus, and other germs that can exacerbate allergies and impact your sleep patterns. After 10 to 15 years, it’s time to think about buying a new bed.
Ultimately, the experts say that the best bed for you is the one that feels most comfortable. And remember, Shamie says, "There’s no mattress that’s going to save your body when you get only five hours of sleep." In order to feel your best, you need to get enough restвЂ¦ no matter what type of mattress you’re sleeping on.
Arya Nick Shamie, MD, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery, Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center.
Breus, Michael, PhD, WebMD sleep expert and author ofBeauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep
Kovacs, FM.The Lancet, November 2003; vol 362: pp 1599-1604.