What Mattress Should You Buy?

It seems you can’t watch the evening news or pass by a strip mall without someone trying to sell you a mattress.

The seemingly limitless options for choosing a mattress can be overwhelming.

This is even more true if you experience back or neck pain—choosing the right or wrong mattress can make the difference between spending the day feeling good or in pain. Just spend a little bit of time doing research online before going shopping.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you have a health condition, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about what he or she recommends.

Keep in mind that doctors are not mattress experts, but they know your medical condition and symptoms and will probably have some good advice from that point of view.

Beware of Gimmicks or Mislabeling

Mattress sellers will label mattresses as “orthopedic” or “medically-approved,” but there is no medical organization that officially certifies mattresses to carry these labels. They may have orthopedic-friendly features, however, no medical group has verified this.

Pillow Tops Aren’t for Everyone

Very light-weight people don’t need big thick pillow top mattresses because they don’t weigh enough to compress the foam to even touch the underlying coils/support system.

mattress bed

On the flip side, larger/heavier people tend to feel more comfortable with a little extra cushion between them and the coils.

Check Out All the Options and Variations

Give yourself a comfort test if the salesperson doesn’t offer you one. Ask to try a firm, a plush, a memory foam, and a pillow top in the same brand quality and price point.

Lie on each one for 10 to 15 minutes. When you find the most comfortable type of mattress, ask to see more of that kind. Also, for example if you choose a memory foam mattress, know whether your preference is a king size or queen size memory foam mattress.

Take the Mattress for a “Test Drive”

When shopping for a mattress, try to lie on the mattress in the store for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

Don’t feel self-conscious or let the salesperson hurry you along.

It’s a big purchase, and if you don’t try it for at least 10 minutes you’re not going to get a real feel for it. Couples should test out the mattress together.

Check the Warranty

A good mattress will have a minimum of a 10 year full replacement or non-prorated warranty.

Be Aware that Firm Mattresses Aren’t Always Better for Your Back

Think twice before buying a hard or firm mattress, as some research has shown that the best mattress for low back pain is a medium firm mattress rather than a firm mattress.

There is a difference between firm support and firm feel. You want firm support with a comfortable feel. Comfort will be determined by your personal preference.

Shop at a Store that Specializes in Mattresses

The salespeople at a mattress specialty store usually have more training on the whole subject of sleep. Try to find a store that carries several major brands, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons, and Tempurpedic.

Final Decision

Remember, it’s your mattress, your back, and your money, so it’s worth the time to research it and get the best mattress possible.

Keep an eye out for specials and sales, and always try to negotiate delivery charges.


  1. I bought a memory foam mattress two years ago and it is amazing. I sleep so great at night compared to my college years futon.

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