When you look at them from the outside, almost all mattresses look more or less the same, right? Well, there’s only so much you can do with the exterior design of a mattress. However, it’s a completely different story when it comes to what’s inside mattresses. You’d be surprised at the amount of research & development and technology that is packed inside modern mattresses. There are dozens of components under the surface that not only determine the durability and comfort level of the mattress, but also its suitability to your height, weight and body shape.
The upshot of this is that regardless of whether you’re tiny, tall or something in between, there’ll be a mattress available that’ll be perfectly suited to your body. But, how do you figure out which type of mattress is best for your body type?
Well, that is what we’re here for. To help you find the perfect mattress for your body type, we’ll peel back the layers of what goes into making a modern mattress. If you value a night of great, health-boosting, restorative sleep, keep on reading!
Mattress Types: What Choices Do You Have?
So, how many choices do you have when it comes to types of mattresses? Well, they can be broken down into five basic types.
The support system of innerspring mattresses is comprised of a network of steel spring coils. Innerspring mattresses typically have one of these two configurations: each spring is either individually wrapped, or they’re tied together into a single unit. The “coil gauge” of an innerspring mattress is a measure of the thickness of the metal wires which the springs are made of. The lower the coil gauge, the thicker the wire, and the firmer the support. Gauge numbers generally range from 12 to 18. While coil gauge is an important factor to consider, it’s certainly not the only one.
If recent trends are anything to go by, latex mattresses have been gaining a lot of popularity – and it’s easy to understand why. They’re adored by sleepers because of their exceptional breathability, bounciness, comfort and responsiveness (how quickly the surface springs back after pressure is applied). Latex mattresses are especially popular amongst sleepers who like to keep it natural. This is because the latex they’re made of is a material that is extracted from rubber trees (heavea-Brasilenis). While there are organic all-natural latex mattresses available in the market, most latex mattresses are made out of a blend of synthetic and natural latex for improved longevity and comfort.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam mattresses are made entirely out of different types of memory foam. For instance, the Puffy Lux mattress features layers of Cooling Cloud™ foam, Dual Cloud Foam and ClimateComfort™ foam. There aren’t any springs in the mattress. They are loved by sleepers for the exceptional pressure relief they provide and their superior body contouring abilities. Memory foam also has anti-microbial and anti-dust properties which creates a healthier sleeping environment. This makes memory foam mattresses great for individuals that suffer from breathing issues like asthma or allergies.
Thanks to hybrid mattresses, you don’t have to swear allegiance to either all-foam or innerspring mattresses. You can get the best of both worlds. Hybrid mattresses are exactly as the sound: a combination of two different types of mattresses. Most hybrid mattresses are comprised of a support layer of coil springs with a top comfort layer that’s made of polyfoam, latex or memory foam.
Moreover, mattresses made of newer types of memory foam are also gaining popularity. For instance, memory foam with an open cell structure, like the Cooling Cloud™ foam, improve airflow which combats the heat retention issue commonly associated with all-foam mattresses. Gel memory foam is another type of memory foam that has been making headlines in the mattress industry. Its pressure point reducing capabilities are even better than regular memory foam, which makes it great for people who have arthritis or other joint issues.
An important thing to remember is that regardless of the type of mattress you buy, your primary goals should be proper spine alignment and comfort.
Adjustable Air Mattresses
While adjustable air mattresses look just like regular mattresses, they’re quite different on the inside. Instead of coil springs or foam, adjustable air mattresses have one or more air pockets that can be filled and emptied as desire. The great thing about adjustable air mattresses is that you can adjust their firmness levels. The more the air you fill inside the chambers, the firmer the mattress becomes. You even get dual control with some models, which allow you to set a different firmness level for each side of the bed.
The Best Mattress Type for Lightweight Sleepers
Mattresses with a firmness level of soft to medium-soft are typically the best choice for smaller and lightweight body types. A mattress that’s too firm can potentially cause shoulder pain or a pins-and-needles sensation. Your body also needs to sink into the mattress to a certain degree to ensure proper spine alignment. Low-density memory foam mattresses prevent that from happening can provide the right balance of comfort and support to lightweight sleepers.
The Best Mattress Type for Heavyset Sleepers
If you weigh 230 pounds or more, it’s especially important to find the right balance softness and firmness. While thicker mattresses do provide more cushioning between your body and the coils, a comfort layer that’s too soft can lead to excessive sinkage, which puts stress on the neck, hips and shoulders. Excessive pressure on joints and muscles and an increase in spine curvature can potentially lead to back problems.
Choose a mattress with the top comfort layer made out of higher density foam, especially if you prefer sleeping on your side or stomach. If you tend to sleep hot, a cooler hybrid mattress can be a good option for you.
The Best Mattress for Tall Sleepers
For some tall people, standard mattresses just don’t do the job. As even king-sized mattresses only go as high as 80 inches, six foot-plus sleepers have to either sleep in a curled position, or with their feet dangling off the bed. Luckily, some mattresses are available in California King Size, which has a length of 7 feet. This makes it suitable for super tall individuals or those who like to roam around the mattress while they sleep. However, if you’re 7 feet-plus, we’re afraid the custom-made route may be the only option you have. When it comes to custom options, Relief-Mart’s highly acclaimed Snuggle-Pedic could be a great choice for you. You can find a full review here.
The Best Type of Mattress for Pregnant Women
Women who have a baby on the way have specific sleeping needs. Look for a memory foam mattress with a soft firmness level and a good body-contouring ability. Hybrid mattresses are another option, depending on the type of material used in the comfort layer.
Pregnant women also tend to get warm as they sleep. Therefore, ventilation becomes an important factor to consider. If you’re going for a memory foam mattress, go for a gel-based one since it runs cooler.
Bonus Tip: If you’re an expecting mom, sleeping on your side with your knees bent and a pillow between your legs will help prevent and alleviate back aches.
If you’re looking into buying the perfect mattress for yourself, have a look at our in-depth reviews on the best foam mattresses. We’ve covered mattresses and sleep products from all the biggest brands including Molecule, Ghostbed and Casper.