How to Get the Right Bed for You

A bed is a bed, right? Why sweat about it too much? As long as it’s comfortable when you lie on it, then it’s fine. You spend most of your time on it asleep. Even if there are any problems, you’re hardly conscious for long enough to notice them.

This is the mindset that leads people to buy beds that may not be particularly good for them. The fact is that the bed you have - or, more specifically, the mattress you’re using - has a tremendous effect on your life. You’ve probably heard before that the average person spends a third of their life in bed. Now think about that: that’s a third of your life - six to eight hours a day - resting against one surface. Even small problems that you barely notice can manifest into major problems over such a large span of time.


The mattress you have can affect many areas. It can affect your posture. A poor mattress can cause back problems, or exacerbate ones that already exist. It will also affect the quality of your sleep, which is something that will affect all areas of your life. This includes concentration, fitness, and general health.

So what kinds of mattresses are out there for you? Here’s a look at the most popular types of mattresses and their pros and cons.

Innerspring mattresses

Innerspring mattresses are by far the most popular choice of mattress on the market. In all likelihood, your current mattress is an innerspring mattress. The first and most obvious positive is that they can be fairly inexpensive. This doesn’t go for all innerspring mattresses, though. They come in such a variety that although you can get ones for dirt cheap, you can also spend thousands on an innerspring mattress.

These mattresses support you with coil springs. In the vast majority of today’s mattresses, each coil is individually enclosed. This basically means that the coils are prevented from popping out of the mattress. Exposed coils are, of course, a sign that you should stay the heck away from that mattresses.

Don’t believe the salesman who tells you that more coils mean more comfort! The number of coils will not really affect you much. (The number of actual springs, however, will. Cheaper options tend to have fewer springs.) The type of coil, that’s a different story. You’ll generally get one of four types: Bonnell, continuous, tied (or offset), and Marshall. A Bonnell coil bed is the cheapest and least durable, and they’re not recommended for nightly use. Many will end up getting these for a child who will outgrow the mattress soon enough. A continuous coil system reduces the movement you feel from your partner throughout the night. Tied coils offer great support and are really durable, but definitely don’t reduce the movement you feel from your bedfellow. Marshall coil systems tend to be the most expensive; they’re softer and offer better contouring than the others. They’re not always quite as durable, however.


Innerspring mattresses offer good value and variety. However, their longevity is sometimes questionable. Compared with other mattress types, it’s more likely you’ll notice a degrading over time. Check out reviews from (the wonderfully-named) Sleep Like the Dead for more information and specifics.

Memory foam

You’ve undoubtedly heard of this mattress type before. It seems to be “the thing” in mattresses these days, growing in popularity all the time. And for good reason: the initial comfort they can offer is fantastic. The foam in these mattresses respond to your weight and temperature. Your body sinks in slightly as the mattress begins to conform to your body shape! This process reduces the pressure on your body, which is incredibly useful for people with sore muscles or back problems. These mattresses also absorb movement. A spring mattress alerts you to your partner's slightest movement; a foam mattress will remain undisturbed on your side. Their tossing and turning will no longer be an issue.


All is not perfect in memory foam land, however. The temperature sensitivity I mentioned earlier probably sounded good at first, but it can create a huge problem. As the mattress softens and molds with your body heat, they can make you feel very hot during the night. Those who find that their body temperature can disturb their sleep would do best to steer clear of foam mattresses.


I remember as a kid thinking that water beds had to be the coolest thing in the world. I thought they looked like bouncy castles. Because of all this, as with many people, I came to see them as a novelty bedroom item for a while. But a water-filled mattress can be a strong alternative to spring mattresses.

Like memory foam, a waterbed will conform to the shape of your body. It also relieves a lot of pressure from your joints, as there’s no resistance being offered. They don’t come with the temperature issues that memory foam is known for, which might make it the better option for those with joint or back pains. In fact, a waterbed stays pretty cool throughout the night. If that doesn’t sound good to you, then you can get one with an adjustable heating system. That kind of direct heat can also be good for pain relief.

One thing to remember is that a waterbed will provide the sensation of floating on waves. This is often the major selling point for many people. It’s also exactly why many people don’t buy them. The fact is that this is one of the main features of the bed. It’s less of a negative or positive and more of a feature that you either love or hate. Another benefit is in the material. Because it’s mostly water, these beds are often the more eco-friendly option. The vinyl material keeps it easy to clean, with little room for dirt or dust to settle. This makes it great for people with allergies.


Of course, there is the obvious negative that puts many people off: the potential for leaks. While a good waterbed will be very durable, even the best can be punctured. And if the bed is damaged to the point where all the water is expelled, that can create tremendous damage to your property. It’s all a lot less likely that some people probably believe, but it is a risk you should keep in mind. For what it’s worth, I’ve never known anyone with a waterbed to suffer this problem. But it is worth keeping in mind. Check BoydWaterBeds for more information and options.


Latex mattresses seem to be getting more popular, after a few years of relative obscurity. Why that obscurity? I suppose it may have something to do with the name. We don’t usually associate latex with comfortable sleep. But the truth is that latex mattresses currently have a really good reputation amongst its owners.

The mattress are usually made from either natural or synthetic latex. Some are made from a blend of both. Different manufacturers make them in different ways, which brings us swiftly to a downside. You need to do your research on each mattress you’re interested in. Latex beds can vary more in style than any other type. The Mattress Underground has a truckload of info about these specifics.

Latex mattresses have gained fame as a great meeting of support and comfort. There is a uniform bounciness that makes you feel comfortable, but the bed does also “push back”. This ultimately provides more support. That support does make the mattress feel very firm, which can be a positive or a negative for people. While latex does push back, you don’t end up feeling the innards of the mattress, which can happen with innerspring mattresses. (Side note: if you can feel the springs in your mattress, you should probably consider getting a new one!)


The material itself has some great pros. Natural latex can last around twenty years or more. It’s also biodegradable, so disposing of it can be more eco-friendly than with other mattresses. The hygiene features are also notable; natural latex is resistant to bacteria, mold, mildew and dust mites. They’re also less likely to give off fumes, the way many other mattresses do. (Polyurethane and memory foam mattresses are notorious for that.) However, there are, of course, many unfortunate people out there who are allergic to latex. A protein found in latex is a notorious allergen. Symptoms of any allergy can include rashes, breathing problems or, in extreme cases, shock. And, obviously, none of those things are going to help you sleep.

One negative to keep in mind is the price. Latex mattresses tend to be the most expensive option in a given mattress store. They’re also heavier than most other mattresses, so moving it about from room to room is usually a lot trickier.


But how do I know I’ll like one type or the other?

One of the annoying things about getting a new bed is that you don’t really find any problems with them until you’ve spent long periods of time on them. It’s recommended that you try out a mattress for a good thirty or forty minutes to see if any problems manifest. This is, understandably, not that easy to do in a mattress store. See if there’s a trial period or a return policy you can take advantage of.

Another option is to get a mattress topper. While they won’t be a perfect representation, they can give you a pretty good idea. Memory foam and latex mattress toppers are available, so try them on top of your innerspring bed to see how you feel.

Nhu Anh

Nhu Anh is a professional editor in the field of architecture and interior design. Having a strong desire for architecture and design in her writing career, Nhu Anh attempts to provide readers the most wonderful architectural news and projects.


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