Considering you spend one third of your life in bed, it's important to find a quality mattress. Besides comfort level, you also must factor in your sleeping position and, especially if you are heavier, the stability and durability of the mattress. You never have to sacrifice comfort for support and stability; all you need is a mattress topper that can provide you with the comfort level you seek.
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Know Your Comfort Level
Traditionally, mattress comfort levels run the gamut from ultra-firm to ultra-plush. If you were to rank the comfort level on a scale from one to 10, one would be close to sleeping on the ground and 10 would be similar to sleeping on a cloud. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a mattress that has the same firmness of the ground or the same plushness as sleeping on cotton balls, you are out of luck. The one and 10 values of the scale do not exist in mattresses manufactured today; they are merely used as reference points.
Support is Different from Comfort
The support of a mattress is an essential factor to take into consideration because of its function. You need a mattress that will support your curves and weight distribution so that you do not wake up with aches and pains. Think of support as the inner design of the mattress; air, latex foam, viscoelastic foam and spring coil mattresses all offer varying levels of support. The latex foam and viscoelastic mattresses will disperse your body weight evenly so that the heavier body parts do not become a point of contention during your sleep. If you're more comfortable on an air or coil mattress, consider selecting a mattress with higher air pressure settings, or look for a higher coil count or specific coil design.
Durability is Cost-Effective
If you buy a mattress that does not support your weight, your mattress will wear out before your warranty. Make sure that your mattress properly supports your weight by finding the appropriate support system. Check with your mattress retailer to find an appropriate sleep system that is made to support heavier people over a long period of time. Knowledgeable mattress retailers will point you in the direction of a mattress that is best suited to your body composition.
Sleeping Position Matters
The way you sleep determines the amount of acute pressure points you place upon a mattress. When you consider your weight, remember that the heavier you are, the more pressure you place upon specific points on your body and mattress. Side sleepers with a large body width will exert the most pressure upon the shoulders and hips, causing the lumbar region to bend down. Side sleepers can benefit from foam toppers that evenly distribute and support the weight. Stomach sleepers should choose a mattress that is not ultra-firm, nor ultra-plush; too firm of a mattress will compress the intervertebral discs and compress the lower back. Back sleepers should avoid mattresses that are soft because the pelvis will sink downwards, creating an overarched spine. Back sleepers will sleep well on a firmer mattress with stronger coils paired along with a box spring.
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- "Sleeping Systems: Design Requirements"; B. Haex and R. van Audekerke. In "International Encyclopedia of Ergonomics and Human Factors, V.1"; Waldemar Karwowski; 2006.
- Overstock: Best Mattresses for Every Sleeping Position