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How to choose a mattress

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It probably ranks two on the list of where you spend the most amount of time, so it only makes sense to invest in a good mattress. After all, a good night’s sleep, a power nap, or name it you, is always precious

Buying or replacing your mattress can turn into quite an exhausting process. How does one choose it, what options to zero in on, what to keep an eye out for, with so many options in the market, here are a few tips to help simplify the process.

Set the framework
Start with setting a budget; Keeping in mind that when it comes to mattresses you pay for quality, comfort and durability.  Then jot down various lifestyle issues like different sleep styles and back or neck pain.

Deciding on the mattress’s core depends on what kind of support you need. While there are many more, the most commonly available mattresses in the Indian market have the following cores:

•     Inner spring mattresses, which use a steel coil system, are great for those who like their bed with a bounce. The inter-connected
       coils tend to be more durable while the individual pocket coils or Bonnell springs tend to reduce the ‘ripple’ effect of movement
       from another person. The thickness of the coil, affects the firmness of the mattress and the greater the number of coils, the more
       points of support.

•     Memory foam mattresses, which use high-density polyurethane foam are great for those who prefer a firm base. The foam contours
       to the shape of the body and holds the shape, which helps relieve pressure points while providing natural body alignment. Foam
       thickness (2 to 6 inches) will determine how deep you'll sink while foam density denotes quality.

•     Latex foam can be derived from natural rubber tree sap or petroleum-based materials. They are as firm as memory foam mattresses
       though they tend to have a bit more spring-back. Natural latex is also antimicrobial, resistant to mold and dust mites. These
       mattresses can be pricey, but can be extremely durable.

•     A hybrid mattress is the most popular; it combines layers of a steel coil support system with one or more types of foam – including
       memory, latex, or gel foam – giving you the comfort and support of both technologies.

•     Pillow top mattresses provide an additional layer made from various fibre and foam materials added to the top of the mattress.

•     Some mattresses use air chambers as their main support system and you can find models with adjustable chambers to change the

Choosing the right one
•     While choosing a mattress, keep in mind how plush or firm you want it to be and the size you require – most companies can
       customise sizes, which is important if you have a custom bed or headboard (read our story on How to choose a headboard).

•     Remember that heat dissipation plays a big role in a comfortable night’s sleep; memory foam mattresses retain body heat so this
       might not be a good idea if you prefer a lower temperature while you sleep.

•     Latex mattresses are hypoallergenic and great for those prone to allergies.
•     If you tend to shift around a lot in your sleep, look at the innerspring pocketed coil mattress to reduce the ripple effect.

•     Cushy memory foam mattresses work well if you tend to sleep on your side, hybrid mattresses for those who tend to sleep on their
       backs, and innerspring, air-filled, or latex mattress for those who sleep on their stomach.

•     The air-filled mattresses with adjustable chambers are perfect for couples whose preferences don’t match.

•     If you have back issues, try brands that have mattresses specifically made for spine support like the Spine Supporter by Hush or the
       BackCare Series by Simmons. 

Try them all
Be prepared to visit more than one store, with so many varieties it helps to get a better idea. Remember that best value does not always mean lowest price – apart from choosing the best mattress for your needs, also look for services like delivery and products like mattress covers that are sometimes included in the deal. Don’t shy away from testing each mattress for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes – this is how long it takes for the body to relax – and in various positions you are most likely to sleep on. Some companies also give a 30-day trial period so do ask around.  

Lifespan and care
How long a mattress will last depends on quite a few factors like amount of use, original quality and how you maintain it.  Seven years is a generally accepted lifespan of a mattress after which it tends to lose its original comfort quality. Try to keep your mattress as moisture free as possible especially during the monsoons (see our story on Keeping dampness away in the monsoons). To increase durability, rotate the mattress occasionally. While moving the mattress, carry it on its side and avoid bending it.

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