What you sleep on makes a big difference in the quality of sleep you get every night. A mattress that does not offer enough support for your spine can lead to muscle fatigue and a poor night’s sleep. A good mattress will allow you to maintain the same natural spinal alignment that you have when standing.

When your body is allowed to rest in its natural position, muscles are relaxed and sleep is more refreshing.

When buying a new mattress keep the following points in mind:


There are different types of mattresses including innerspring, foam, flotation (water beds) and air mattresses. While innerspring mattresses may offer more variety in terms of firmness and support, many people find the other types of mattresses just as comfortable. The best type of mattress is the one that offers you the most support and is the most comfortable for you.


The foundation, often called a box spring, is also important. The box spring does much of the work for the mattress by absorbing stress and weight. The correct foundation can extend the life of the mattress, therefore you should try to purchase the box spring designed to go with your mattress.

Using no foundation, old foundations or mixing mattresses and box springs can negatively affect the level of support and the durability of your mattress.


It is not necessarily true that firmer is better. A mattress that is too firm does not support the body evenly, tending only to support the body’s heaviest parts. A mattress that is too soft will sag and prevent the spine from maintaining proper alignment. Neither allows your muscles to rest, as they must work through the night to find a comfortable position and maintain correct posture.


When shopping for a mattress make sure you take the time to try it out. Lie down on the mattress in the position that you usually sleep. Turn over from one side to the other. If you sleep with a partner, try the mattress together to make sure there is enough space for both sleepers to move around. Make sure it can support your spine in its natural curve.

Keep in mind that manufacturers use different terms for comfort and firmness that may be confusing. Terms such as “orthopaedic” are often used by mattress makers, but do not have any actual medical meaning. By trying out the mattress before you buy it, you will be better able to tell which one is the most comfortable for you.


Durability has to do with how long the mattress’ materials will last. Look for quality materials for the core as well as the cover. See if the manufacturer offers a warranty on the mattress in case of defects. Mattress prices are determined by what they are made out of, the quality of the construction and the size. A good mattress and box spring should last about 8-10 years. So consider it an investment. Don’t just look for the lowest price, look for the best value.

Mattresses do not last forever. Most of us wait too long to replace them. The chances are that you need a new mattress if:

  • the mattress is over 10 years old
  • you wake up tired and achy
  • the box springs squeak
  • the mattress sags
  • your bed is just not comfortable.