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Frequently Asked Questions
There’s no single best mattress for everyone, so you’ll need to do a little homework to figure out what really matters to you. Before you start shopping, here are a few things to consider:
Body type. People who weigh less than 130 pounds or so will likely benefit from a medium-firm mattress. If you weigh more than 230 pounds, you should consider a firmer surface and a taller mattress so you’re getting the support you need. Those with larger frames should also opt for bigger mattress sizes.
Sleeping with a partner. Consider testing out medium-firm mattress options, since they can accommodate a big range of sleepers. Look for mattresses that will minimize motion transfer so you don’t disturb one another in the night, and don’t forget to factor in the space you’ll both need to sleep comfortably.
Firmness. This is generally rated on a scale of 1 to 10, but it’s not universal. It’s also pretty subjective. Still, medium-firm (5 to 7 on the scale) is usually a good balance of support and comfort for most sleepers.
Price. This varies quite a bit, and it's affected by materials and mattress type, where a mattress is made, and the brand. Price doesn’t always indicate quality, but you can expect to pay somewhere between $600 and $1,100 for a quality queen mattress. Luxury options typically cost upwards of $1,500.
Company policies. Online shoppers in particular should look for trial periods, free shipping and free returns, and reasonable warranties. If you’re shopping in store, ask about these policies as well.
Conditions and sleeping position. Some mattresses accommodate certain conditions or sleep positions better. Firmer mattresses tend to be best for stomach and back sleepers, while side sleepers need more cushioning for pressure-point relief. If you’re hoping to relieve pain-related issues, medium-firm mattresses are often a good choice.
Pain/pressure relief. If you struggle with back pain, look for a mattress that has enough support to keep your spine in proper alignment. Research suggests self-adjusting, medium-firm mattresses are best. For pressure-point relief, mattresses with foam layers (especially latex) can be good options.
Allergies. If you have latex allergies, you’ll need to avoid latex mattresses. For general allergies, hypoallergenic latex can be a good choice. Memory foam and hybrid mattresses also tend to resist common allergens. Keep an eye out for dust-resistant or treated covers too.
Temperature regulation. Cooling fabrics, infused or perforated foams, and breathable or moisture-wicking fabrics can help minimize hot, sweaty nights. In general, hybrid and innerspring mattresses encourage more airflow, while memory foam is known for trapping heat. Look for foams that are open cell, infused with gel, or perforated.
Pregnancy. Pregnant people are encouraged to sleep on their sides during the later stages of pregnancy. A good mattress will offer spinal support and pressure point relief, plus some level of contouring for comfort. Memory foam and hybrid mattresses are both worth exploring.
Back sleepers do well with firmer foam or hybrid mattresses, which offer necessary support for spinal alignment.
Side sleepers benefit from softer memory foam and pillow-top mattresses that relieve pressure in the shoulder and hips.
Stomach sleeping tends to put stress on the spine, so a firm hybrid or foam mattress is typically the best choice.
The right mattress size depends on a few things. Consider how many people (or pets) will use the bed, how much bed your space will accommodate, and whether you prefer space to move or a cozier sleep surface.
Mattresses come in multiple sizes, but standard sizes include:
Twin: 38 x 75; a good option for children who have outgrown toddler beds or for use in tight spaces
Twin XL: 38 x 80; suitable for an adult looking to save some space
Full: 54 x 75; a good choice for an adult who needs more room than a twin offers
Queen: 60 x 80; ideal for just about anyone, including couples
King: 76 x 80; great for couples who want more space
Cal King: 72 x 80; longer, but narrower than a standard king
Hybrid mattresses have a coil spring base with layers of latex or foam. It's a good combination of support and comfort.
Traditional innerspring mattresses have steel springs with a layer of padding on top, but most innerspring mattresses qualify as hybrids these days.
Foam mattresses may be made with latex, memory foam, or polyurethane.
Check the manufacturer’s warranty for guidelines, but be aware of signs that it may be time for a replacement:
sagging, lumps, or coils you can feel through the fabric
muscle stiffness or aches and pains when you wake up
more movement in the mattress if you share it with a partner
Many manufacturers will remove your old mattress when they deliver a new one. You can also check locally for recycling companies that will pick it up and haul it away. That’s an important step, because over 75% of most mattresses can be recycled. If your mattress needs replacing, you should avoid donating or selling it.
Always check the manufacturer's instructions before cleaning a mattress, because steps will vary depending on the kind of mattress you have. Generally, you’ll strip the bed of linens and use a vacuum attachment to remove lint. Spot-clean any stains with a gentle stain remover, sprinkle lightly with baking soda to absorb odors, and vacuum again.