Mattress Shopping 101 – America's Mattress NC

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Mattress Shopping 101

When Should You Replace Your Mattress?

A lot of factors affect the lifespan of a mattress. Some mattress types are more durable than others and less susceptible to wear and tear. Sleep habits are another consideration, as a mattress that is used night after night will deteriorate quicker than one that is used less frequently.

You should consider buying a new mattress if:


Some mattresses provide better overall support than others, regardless of their age. If you wake up in pain or begin to develop pressure points that didn’t previously bother you, then you should consider replacing your current mattress — even if it is fairly new.


All mattresses are prone to sagging in the sleep surface after enough use. Indentations may also develop in places where sleeper’s have higher concentrations of weight. Excessive sagging and deep indentations both undermine mattress support, and can cause discomfort for sleepers.


Excessive weight gain or loss can change how your mattress feels, since factors like preferred firmness and support often depend on body weight. Medical diagnoses are another point to consider, especially for sleep disorders that affect certain individuals more disproportionately. For example, sleep apnea primarily affects back sleepers (since they are more prone to snoring); a mattress designed for back sleepers may no longer be suitable if the owner has been diagnosed with sleep apnea.


Whether you want to replace the mattress you’ve used since college or a more expensive bed seems more suitable than your current model — sometimes it’s good to upgrade your mattress even if it’s not needed. Not surprisingly, roughly two-thirds of mattress owners report higher satisfaction rates after replacing their old mattress with a newer model.


Mattress Types

Memory Foam

If you are looking for a great support and comfort, especially as a side sleeper, memory foam is a wonderful choice. Memory foam is popular because of the way it gradually conforms to your body as you sleep. If you sleep on your side, it offers the shoulder and hip support you need. The memory foam contours to your body and allows you to feel partially surrounded by the mattress while being supported. 

Other benefits of memory foam mattresses are that they contain several layers of foam that resist the tendency to sag in the middle and eliminate the need to flip the mattress routinely.

Pillow Tops

Side sleepers who choose not to go with memory foam also love pillow top mattresses, or mattresses with a "pillow topper." Pillow tops are basically an additional layer of upholstery that you add to the top of your mattress. They are very soft and cushiony, allowing a similar "sinking" feeling as memory foam, which allows your hip and shoulder to "sink" into the pillow top and keep your back in comfortable alignment. You can choose the level of softness for your pillow top, and they are generally used with an innerspring or coil mattress. 


Innerspring (also, coil) mattresses use an internal support of metal springs. You can generally measure the quality of support from an innerspring mattress by how many coils are in the design. The number and distribution of coils determines how well the mattress will conform to your body. Innerspring beds can also have varying spring shapes and coil gauges that can affect the quality of back support. Back, side, and stomach sleepers can be comfortable on the right type of innerspring mattress. 

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses combine two or more support systems, usually memory foam layers along with an innerspring system. Hybrid mattresses are a great way to experience the pressure relieving benefits of memory foam while retaining the classic feel of an innerspring mattress. 

Today, many sleepers are curious about the benefits of memory foam, but they just can't make the jump to an all foam mattress. For these consumers, a hybrid mattress is the ideal choice. Hybrid mattresses combine an innerspring system with memory foam (or latex) to deliver the benefits of both technologies. Hybrids allow sleepers to enjoy the perfect blend of sturdy support and contouring comfort. 

Hybrid mattresses typically have the same size coils as innerspring mattresses, but they also use memory foam for support and contouring. The coil system enables the mattress to retain the bounciness that sleepers enjoy on innerspring mattresses, and the layers of memory foam create that unmistakable enveloping embrace. The coil system also gives hybrid mattresses a traditional mattress shape, as opposed to the straight lines and low profile of memory foam mattresses. Hybrid mattresses are often less expensive than memory foam mattresses, and they perform better than budget memory foam mattresses. The coils in a hybrid mattress will give more contouring support than the kind of foam core that's found in lower end memory foam mattresses. 


How to Choose a New Mattress

There are many performance factors to consider when shopping for a new mattress and comparing different brands and models. These factors include:

  • Size: Most mattresses are available in six standard sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full/Double, Queen, King, and California King. Some models come in additional sizes (such as Full XL or Short Queen). They may also be available in ‘split’ Queen, King, or California sizes, which include two separate mattresses that can be pushed together or separated.

  • Thickness: Most mattresses measure at least 10 inches (10″) in height, though mattress thickness varies from less than five inches (5″) to more than 15 inches (15″). Your body weight may affect your preferred thickness. Lighter individuals may prefer shorter beds, whereas heavier people tend to feel more comfortable on thicker beds.

  • Conforming ability: Some mattresses conform closely to the sleeper’s body to help align the spine and prevent pressure points from developing, while others offer little to no conforming. How closely a mattress conforms is linked to its comfort layer, or the cover and topmost layer(s); models with thicker comfort layers made of memory foam tend to offer the best conforming.

  • Firmness: Mattress firmness preferences are often tied to two factors: sleep position and sleeper weight. Those who sleep on their side typically prefer softer mattresses, while back and stomach sleepers tend to feel most comfortable on ‘medium firm’ or firmer mattresses. In terms of weight, lighter individuals (less than 130 pounds) may require softer mattresses in order to experience more conforming and pressure relief; heavier individuals (more than 230 pounds), on the other hand, often need firmer mattresses to prevent excessive sinkage.

  • Support: When discussing mattresses, support refers to the bed’s ability to provide a flat, even surface that helps align the spine and pelvis, and does not sink beneath heavier areas of the body. Most mattresses offer optimal supportiveness at first, but support may decrease over time in mattresses made of soft, adaptive materials (such as memory foam); by comparison, innersprings, and hybrids offer better, more consistent support throughout the lifespan of the mattress.
  • Motion isolation: Movement in bed creates motion transfer that may be felt across the rest of the mattress; for couples, this can cause sleep disruptions whenever someone gets into or out of bed, or shifts positions. Mattresses with softer, more adaptive comfort layers minimize motion transfer and isolate it to smaller areas of the sleep surface. This can reduce the risk of nighttime disruptions for sleep partners.

  • Temperature neutrality: Many people naturally sleep hot regardless of their mattress choice, but some beds absorb and trap body heat. This causes sleepers to feel warmer than usual, and it can disrupt sleep. Hybrids and innersprings are usually the most temperature-neutral options because they have more air circulation in their support core; however, newer foam options are available with surface cooling technology.

  • Adjustable friendly: Most mattresses today are adjustable friendly. If you are interested in the benefits of an adjustable base, you will want to shop for an innerspring mattress with individually wrapped coils, a memory foam or a hybrid.  Anything other than a mattress with continuous interlocked coils will work. 

If you have questions about what mattress might works best for you, visit any of our stores with a professional sleep consultant will be happy to take you through a comfort test and help you find the right mattress for your best night's sleep.