Ideally, mattresses should be replaced every ten years, and September is an ideal time to take steps to ensure restful sleep. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice and get the best possible night's rest.
Do quick in-store tests
A five minute catnap is the best guide when choosing your future bedding. If your elbow sinks into the mattress, it is too soft, whereas if you are unable to slide your hand between the sleeping surface and your lower back, it is too firm.
Firm for heavyweights and soft for featherweights
To ensure restorative sleep, the trick is to find the right balance between a mattress that is too firm and one that is too soft. If you are not on the plump side, a mattress that is too firm could accentuate back problems. On the other hand, more slimly-built sleepers have the option of choosing a softer surface while making sure that it still provides adequate support for the spine.
Foam for backache
People who suffer from backache rest better on foam and, in particular, on "memory foam", which reduces pressure on areas of contact between the body and the mattress to alleviate discomfort. For those who tend to perspire, latex provides a cooler surface. As for spring mattresses, they offer sleepers more independent support. But whatever the chosen material, choose a model with a minimal density of 1.75 pounds per cubic foot (28 kg per square meter) to avoid sinking into the mattress with the prospect of feeling the underlying slats or springs within a few months.
At least 60 inches for two
If you sleep alone, a 54 inch (140 cm) width mattress is more than enough. However, to get enough rest as a couple, it is best to choose a minimum width of 60 inches (160 cm) to avoid repetitive inadvertent body contact that can disturb deep sleep. As for the optimal length, you should add 16 inches (20 cm) to the height of the tallest sleeper.
A rectangular synthetic pillow
To avoid putting pressure on your vertebrae, the goal is to lay your head on a pillow that is neither too flat or too plump. The right measure of support provided by a rectangular pillow offers the best possible alignment between your head and spine. On the other hand, square pillows tend to raise your shoulders and upper back and tilt your head backwards. Finally, if you usually sleep on your side, opt for an ergonomic "side sleeper" model that optimizes neck vertebrae comfort. And when it comes to stuffing, synthetic materials are less likely to cause allergies.
Tips to avoid allergies
As a rule, you should air your bedroom every day and regularly change your sheets. For allergy sufferers, the best solution is to use hypoallergenic mattress and pillow protectors. To keep your bedroom free of dust mites, it is recommended to maintain it at a temperature between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius and regularly vacuum dust from under the bed.
On average, mattresses cost around $800. Count on spending approximately $1,100 for a bed base and mattress (54 by 75 inches, or 140 by 190 cm).