How to Pick Your Perfect Mattress
Ready for a new mattress? Here's how to find the one that suits you best.
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
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 – memory foam, latex, or air, for example. Spring mattresses are
more difficult to use, however, because the springs don't handle the bending
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