How to Buy a Firm Mattress
Most people spend about one third of each day laying on a mattress, and this time spent sleeping (or trying to sleep) largely determines the quality of their day. Nights spent tossing and turning uncomfortably in bed can have disastrous effects on our productivity and health.
Unfortunately, many people have trouble sleeping or suffer from back problems without realizing their mattress is to blame. Often, the problem stems from the wrong type of mattress, and switching to a firmer mattress might be the solution.
A quick walk through a mattress store reveals countless bed designs. Some are firm and some are soft; some are foam and some have steel springs. Each of these designs has benefits and drawbacks. Despite what many people believe, a mattress doesn’t have to be ultra plush, and it doesn’t need to be super soft and cushiony to offer a comfortable, healthy sleep. For many of us, just the opposite is true!
The Firm Mattress Advantage
Firm mattresses are generally the best choice for those with back problems. Indeed, some cases of lower lumbar pain are directly caused by mattresses that aren’t firm enough. Doctors often recommend a firm mattress to those suffering from persistent back problems, although recent studies show that this recommendation might be misguided.
Each person has his or her own mattress preference. One factor that determines a person’s perfect mattress is the position in which a person sleeps. Plush mattresses often cause problems for people that spend most of the night sleeping on their back or stomach. These positions require less padding, and too much padding can push the spine out of alignment.
Conversely, sleeping on the side requires a bit more cushioning in order to maintain the spine’s straightness. For side sleepers, a slightly softer mattress might be appropriate.
Choosing a Firm Mattress
Each of the basic mattress types offers a range of firmness, but some materials are more suited to a firmer feel. The common innerspring design is often a good choice. Consider the spring count and gauge of steel used in these mattresses. Generally, more springs of a higher gauge will offer the best firm surface. Stay away from pillow tops unless they are specifically designed to be firm.
Foams are another great option for firm mattresses. High density memory foam is a great choice, and so is firm latex foam. Both of these foams come in a variety of densities and qualities; stay away from cheap foams, because they only offer support for a short time. Air mattresses can provide firm surfaces too, however watch out for air mattresses that have extra thick or plush comfort layers.
Final Words about Firm Mattresses
At the end of the day, the type of mattress one chooses is a matter of personal preference. Trying out a variety of mattresses is really the only way to select the right mattress. When looking at firm mattresses, don’t hesitate to try them out and don’t assume that just because it is called a “firm mattress” that it will be the right firmness for you.
Sitting on the edge or pressing the mattress with your hands is not enough. Instead, you should lay down on the bed just as you would lay on your own bed; lay on the bed for five or ten minutes. After spending a little time on the different beds in the showroom, it should be easy to narrow down your choices and find that perfect mattress.
Here’s an interesting YouTube video that says that buying an extra firm mattress is a very bad idea.
Don’t believe what you see on YouTube? Here’s some interesting information from WebMD, a reputable source of medical information.
“From my own perspective, if a mattress is soft or too hard, it’s not comfortable,” says orthopaedic surgeon Dana C. Mears, MD, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Something in the middle works best for me — a medium-firm mattress. If a mattress is too firm, you might as well be sleeping on the floor.”
Here’s another good article from WebMD with their expert recommendations for buying a mattress for the best night’s rest.