How to Choose Your Next Mattress

Which mattress is best for you depends on your body shape, your metabolism, and what feels comfortable.

Everybody sleeps. That’s why the mattress business is so big, with people spending an estimated $28 billion annually on mattresses worldwide. After all, no one looks forward to getting a bad night’s sleep.

Mattress manufacturing technology, and the development of new materials that go into mattresses, have evolved to the point where people now have four basic choices of mattresses. Here’s a guide to choosing the one that’s best for you.

Memory Foam Mattress

Ideal For Back-Sleepers

This cot-sized option retards odor and bacteria. Zinus

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Memory foam is a type of polyurethane foam that is dense, elastic, and gelatin-like. When you lay down on to the mattress, your body heat causes the foam to become somewhat viscous, so you sink a bit into the mattress. It cradles your body and your extremities, which is extremely comfortable and comforting. One big advantage of a memory foam mattress is that it cradles those pressure points on your body—hip bones, shoulder blades, sitting bones—that often hurt when coming into prolonged contact with a surface. The result is a much more restful night’s sleep. Memory foam can “sleep warm,” meaning that it provides a warming effect. Some people find this a plus, some don’t, and many don’t notice it.

Gel Memory Foam Mattress

Stay Cool At Night

The air-flow high-density base is great for hot sleepers. Zinus

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Many manufacturers are now infusing memory foam mattresses with a gel that helps disperse body heat, reducing that “sleep warm” effect that some people experience on memory foam mattresses. The particles of gel move heat away from your body, resulting in a cooler feel. Just like their all-memory-foam predecessors, gel foam mattresses also provide excellent support for pressure points.

Innerspring Mattress

Super Comfortable

Isolated motion so you won’t bother the person next to you. Modway

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The traditional mattress type, innerspring mattresses provide the most support of all mattress types. These are often the choice of people who have lower back pain, because the support helps align the spine (though some people with back pain find memory foam comfortable). Many innerspring mattresses come with a pillow top that provides a comfortable contact surface.

Hybrid Mattress

For Any Type Of Sleeper

Offers the support of a traditional innerspring option with updated, hypoallergenic benefits. Linenspa

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These combination memory foam/innerspring mattresses are the newest mattresses on the market. They provide what many people feel are just the right amount of both mattress types: A layer of cradling, comfortable foam on top of strong underlying support. You get the benefits of foam without sinking too deeply into it, above an innerspring mattress section that provides firmness and some bounce, along with a reduced warming effect.