Tips For Choosing The Right Mattress & Foundation

Which Type of Mattress and Foundation Do I Need?

I appreciate you writing to ask for my insights and suggestions about choosing the right mattress and foundation for your new home together … this just happens to be one of my favorite things to talk about! Through all the years I’ve been doing interior design and serving as a sleep consultant, the most frequent question I’ve ever gotten (and still get) this: “What’s the perfect mattress?”

Looking for the Perfect Mattress

In the early years of my career, I came to realize that I didn’t have the right answer to that question. I mean, I was aware of several high-quality mattress products, but I didn’t know of a single mattress that was truly well-suited for ALL types of sleepers. At that point, I decided to make it my personal mission to test every category and brand of mattress I could find to try and discover the “perfect” mattress. Long story short, I didn’t find it. At least, I didn’t know it yet.

Common Mattress Types Available

Let’s take a quick survey of the some of the more popular mattress types available today:

  • Innerspring

Innerspring or coil mattresses have been around for over 100 years, and are still the most common type sold today. One of the reasons they continue to be popular is due to their lower price point, but these mattresses also tend to wear out quickly. The springs can get somewhat squeaky too, and these mattresses genuinely aren’t the most comfortable option available.

  • Memory Foam

Memory foam was invented by NASA in 1966, primarily to improve the safety of aircraft cushions. Eventually, memory foam was incorporated into a wide range of products, and the first memory foam bed came out in 1991. The memory foam mattress is an excellent product in that it simultaneously provides extra cushioning along with pressure point relief. One downside of memory foam, however, is that it tends to trap heat and limit airflow – two things that make for a less-than-optimal sleep experience.

  • Gel

One way to alleviate the heat-trapping effects of memory foam is by infusing a cooling gel. There aren’t any “all gel” mattresses on the market, but the gel is often combined with memory foam to help create a more comfortable overall sleeping experience.

  • Latex

Latex has a similar effect to memory foam, except that it tends to be firmer and bouncier. If you like a bouncy bed (not that many people do), you might like latex. But if you prefer to sink a little deeper into your mattress and want something softer, you’d be better off to stick with memory foam.

  • Hybrid

Hybrid beds are becoming increasingly popular, as they are designed to help combine some of the best of both worlds. Typically, a hybrid bed will offer the support and bounce you’d get with an innerspring mattress, combined with the comfort and softness afforded by either memory foam or latex. Hybrid mattresses come in many combinations, and the right hybrid mattress does offer something for everyone.

So, What IS the Best Mattress?

And now, back to our original question – what’s the best mattress to choose? From my experience, a hybrid mattress is a way to go. The best hybrid mattress I’ve found combines a premium core of dense memory foam layers with open cell technology for exceptional support, airflow, and breathability. It is also then topped with a patented, cocooning foam that is designed for both superior motion control AND incredible softness.

And What About the Foundation?

A perfect mattress should be both comfortable and supportive, but an ideal mattress is just one component of a proper sleep support system. Your mattress needs the right kind of support, too. Without an adequate mattress foundation, even a “perfect” mattress won’t perform for you as well as it could or should. A traditional box spring will usually work fine with an innerspring mattress, but a deluxe memory foam-layered mattress will need more support than a standard box spring can offer.

A Few More Tips for Enjoying Your Best Sleep Now

The reality in America is that many people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Part of the reason for this is the fact that they’re not sleeping on an optimal mattress/foundation combination. Hopefully, I’ve given you some good food for thought about what you can do about that! Another reason people aren’t resting as well these days is that they simply haven’t taken the proper steps to optimize their personal sleep environment. 

What are some lifestyle tweaks you can make that will help you sleep better? Get some exercise earlier in the day, as it will help you rest better at night. Limit your late-day intake of caffeine, as well as alcohol – both can interfere with your natural sleep cycle. A little snack before bedtime isn’t necessarily bad, as long as it’s the right snack. A healthy mix of complex carbs with some protein thrown in can be a right call. You should also put your screens away at least an hour before bedtime so your brain can wind down. And when it’s time for bed, make your bedroom as dark as possible, and as cool as you can make it while still being comfortable. Numerous studies have shown that dark, cool environments make for the best sleep.

Have Fun With Your New Bed & Sleep Well!

I hope that you’ll find these tips about mattresses, foundations, and better sleep to be helpful, and I wish you all the best!

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