"It is said we spend about a third of our life sleeping, so having a good mattress is crucial for good sleep and for good back health," says Dr. Duma. "If you have a bad mattress it could be aggravating your existing pain and also causing you more pain." No matter what sleep position you prefer, a quality mattress should provide the right support as well as the right comfort level. "A good mattress should gently support your whole body and keep your spine in a neutral position, no matter if you are laying on your back, side, or stomach," she says.
- R. Alexandra Duma, DC, DACBSP, ICCSP, chiropractic physician at the US Department of Veterans Affairs and medical staff member at USA Fencing
Jeff Brannigan, director of programming at Stretch*d, says your body will let you know when it's time for a new mattress. "If you have a mattress that doesn't suit your body, you'll pay for it physically. Being stuck in the same position for hours on end can be extremely stressful for the muscles, especially if it's in a compromised position," he says. "If you're suddenly experiencing pain in your body without making any changes in your life and you've got an old mattress, it may be something to consider."
While you might think of shopping for a mattress as bed-hopping through a showroom, shopping for a mattress online has become increasingly common. The process is much more streamlined than it used to be, with many companies offering fast shipping and extended trial periods.
"Since a mattress is such an important purchase, I’d advise you to make sure you have the option of returning the mattress if you start to wake up sore or find yourself in any sort of pain in the morning," says Dr. Duma. “Test drive it before you commit to making the purchase." Keep in mind that while many mattresses allow for a substantial testing period, it may be paired with a substantial fee for return shipping.
"The ideal mattress is different for each person and selecting one is very personal," says Dr. Duma. "Anyone with neck or back pain should get a mattress that is not too hard but not too soft." If your mattress is too soft, you'll sink into it too much. But a mattress that's too hard can put excessive pressure on your sacral region (if you sleep on your back) or your hips (if you're a side-sleeper). "I recommend a medium-firm mattress or a firm mattress with a softer pillow top to provide that balance of support and cushion," she says.
Remember: Your mattress is an investment. "Don't cut corners," says Dr. Duma; stick to a comfortable price point within your budget, but don't be afraid to spring for a high-quality mattress.
But don't expect any mattress to last a lifetime. "No matter how great your mattress is, over time it will degrade in the quality of support it provides for your body," says Dr. Duma. "Your mattress should be replaced every eight to 10 years." To keep your mattress fresh and protected, be sure to buy a mattress cover, like this Zippered Mattress Encasement ($25). Unlike some mattress covers that feel like plastic, this one feels like fabric but it's still waterproof. It also protects against bed bugs, dust mites, and other allergens.
Mattresses you can buy online that you'll want to sleep in for the next decade
Leesa makes some of the most affordable yet high-quality mattresses out there. The Leesa Original is made with three levels of foam. The top layer is soft and breathable, keeping you snug and cool. The memory foam middle layer contours to your body while a memory foam base layer offers support. Leesa also offers theHybrid ($1,099 to $1,999) and the Legend ($1,799 to $2,599) which combine foam with springs. You’ll have 100 nights to test your Leesa mattress and the return is free.
The latest offering from Layla uses copper-gel infused memory foam for rapid cooling, support, and antimicrobial benefits. The Layla Hybrid is a six-layer mattress that uses both foam and coils to offer increased support at deep compression areas. If you don’t know what level of support you like, a Layla mattress is perfect because it’s double-sided. One side is soft and plush while the other is firm. If you prefer an all-foam mattress, opt for the Layla Memory Foam Mattress ($599 to $1,099). You’ll have 120 nights to test your Layla mattress, and there’s no fee to return it if you’re not satisfied.
First sold in the United States in 1992, Tempur-Pedic is the classic mattress that feels like a hug every time you get into it. (Remember the wine glass test?) And there’s a reason people still love it today. Every Tempur-Pedic mattress is made with a unique NASA-developed pressure-relieving material. The Tempur-Adapt Medium Hybrid combines that technology with three cooling layers plus individually pocketed coils to reduce the transfer of movement. The knit cover has a cool-to-touch feel and an antimicrobial treatment that protects the mattress against common allergens. A comfort layer helps you relax while the support layer adapts to your body for personalized support. A slightly less expensive alternative, the brand’s newest mattress, the Tempur-Cloud ($1,699 to $3,398), adapts to your weight, shape, and temperature while minimizing pressure points and reducing motion transfer. It arrives compressed in a cardboard box, which makes it easy to set up and uses less energy for shipping. You’ll have 90 nights to test your new Tempur-Pedic and get a full refund, not including the cost of shipping.
This mattress from Eight Sleep is a favorite here at Well+Good. It’s expensive, but might be worth it if you suffer from night sweats and hot flashes. Using cooling and warming technology that pipes water between an external hub and the mattress itself, the mattress’s temperature can move freely between 55°F and 110°F. Plus, it’s connected to an app that provides sleep tracking, meditations, thermal alarm clocks, and more. Well+Good writer Kells McPhillips writes that the Pod saved her from night sweats and significantly improved the quality of her sleep. Watch beauty and fitness editor Zoë Weiner take it for a spin below.
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