Almost everyone likes to sleep. For some of us, the part of the day we spend lying in bed is by far the best part. Beds are a source of comfort, security, and romance. Having a bed somewhere marks it as our space, even if we’re just visiting. Beds are important enough to our comfort that we have a fairytale telling us the importance of getting a bed that’s just right, but when asked about their mattress many people freeze up.
We’ve come a long way from the earliest mattresses, which were usually made of straw with either a covering of fabric of animal skins. But with so many different mattresses available on the market today, the sheer amount of options can be overwhelming. Do you want a traditional spring mattress? Should you go with memory foam (here are some cheap memory foam mattresses) or a cooling topper? And what is the deal with mattresses that can change firmness at the press of a button?
We know how overwhelming it can feel to shop for a new mattress, and the recommendation to try a mattress for 100 days before calling it quits can make the decision seem that much more serious. That’s why we’ve put together helpful guides to make investing in a new mattress a breeze. With the top mattresses on the market reviewed for your convenience, as well as plenty of information all about choosing the right mattress for you, you can purchase with confidence knowing you’re getting the best deal on the market.
But enough talking about us, let’s get a brief history of the mattress, and how things have changed for the better with the invention of modern mattresses.
A Brief History of Mattresses
The first discovered mattress was made about 77,000 years ago, proving that humans have been trying to find something comfortable to lay on for quite a long time. Early mattresses were stuffed with horsehair, animal fur, straw, or other natural materials to provide a layer of comfort above the ground or other surfaces. The word “mattress” comes from and Arabic word meaning “something thrown down,” which is where we get the word “mat” from. Early mattresses did not have the padding or comfort we are used to in the modern day, and in the case of straw mattresses they needed their interior materials replaced as they would flatten down or become too old. However, one thing that has carried over to modern mattresses is the use of feathers as a stuffing material, and some of the most comfortable mattresses available today are made with down.
Today, mattresses have a wide variety of fills, but most of them have inner spring cores to help provide stability and spring. Many mattresses use a foam core made of synthetic materials to provide lasting spring without the chance of springs wearing down or poking through the materials. The first individually wrapped spring coil mattress was made in 1899 and has become the standard for mattress production in many areas. Most modern mattresses sold in North America are hybrid beds, meaning they include both innersprings and a foam core of some kind. In Europe, however, a large number of beds are made with polyurethane foam cores and latex cores, as these have been popular for some time.
With so many different types of mattresses available on the market today, it’s hard to think back to a time before modern mattress design, when you would be responsible for making your own mattress out of whatever you had. These advances allow science and engineering to come together to create comfortable mattresses that prevent back pain, and help keep you cool throughout the night to improve the quality of your sleep. The science of sleep has come a long way since humanity first began making mattresses, and these advancements help us fight insomnia, prevent sleep apnea, and so much more, all while making our beds one of the most comfortable places in the house. But with all of these advancements, shopping for a mattress can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help you get the right mattress for you.
How to Choose the Right Mattress
The first thing to keep in mind is the size of the mattress you are looking for. Mattresses range in size from small mattresses made for cribs, to king sized mattresses and even larger. The average adult has either a full bed or a queen bed, but twin beds (check out our articles on twin mattresses for adults and twin mattresses under $100) are just as popular, and king beds offer plenty of sleep space for two people. The size mattress that works for you largely depends on your unique needs, and the size of your bed frame. Larger mattresses are not necessarily more comfortable than their smaller counterparts, so the real determining factor is how much space you feel you need while you sleep. If you are taller than the average person, you may want a larger mattress, as your feet may hang off the end of the bed with a twin or full. Conversely, if you are a larger person, you may want extra sleeping space, especially if you like to sprawl out while you sleep. No matter your sleep style, there is a mattress that is right for you.
The next thing to keep in mind is the firmness you’re looking for you in your mattress. This comes down to a combination of the box spring and the design of your top mattress. Innerspring mattresses tend to be firmer than their foam-based counterparts, but there are plenty of hybrid and foam-only mattresses on the market specially made to provide a firmer sleep surface. Firmer beds can help improve your posture and can put less stress on your muscles as you sleep, leaving you with less aches and pains when you wake up. Conversely, softer mattresses are overall more comfortable, and allow your body to relax into the mattress, rather than being held up by it. The firmness of your mattress largely comes down to personal preference, and if you are looking for the benefits of a firm mattress with the comfort of a soft mattress, there are plenty of mattress toppers on the market for you to choose from.
Another thing to keep in mind when shopping for a mattress is the overall temperature you like to sleep at. While this may seem like an extraneous question, mattresses today are developed with all your sleep needs in mind, meaning that you can get a mattress that helps cool you while you sleep, or makes sure that you stay nice and toasty throughout the night. And with countless adjustable mattresses and beds on the market, you can customize your unique mattress needs without having to worry about disturbing your partner’s side of the bed.
Another thing to consider is if you need a box spring. Some frame beds require a box spring, which can provide support for your bed and improve the overall firmness of your mattress. Box springs come in many shapes and styles, but their main goal is to provide support. You wouldn’t want to sleep on just a box spring, but that added layer of firmness can help your mattress really shine. On the other hand, a worn-out box spring can lead to a sagging bed, which in turn can put a strain on your back, which is the last thing you want.
The last thing to keep in mind is pricing. The higher quality the mattress, the higher the cost, but also the longer the mattress will last. After all, your mattress is an investment into your health, as a poor night’s sleep can leave you feeling exhausted and lead to a lowered immune system, not to mention irritability and overall discomfort. A good-quality mattress will last you for years to come, meaning investing in the best options available is a gift that keeps on giving every time you go to bed. Of course, with all the options out here on the market today, it can become overwhelming to sift through countless reviews. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and done the digging for you, so you can look at the top reviewed mattresses for nearly any style preference and find out what works best for you.
You already work hard enough during the day, your sleep shouldn’t exhaust you, too! While choosing the right mattress may feel like a marathon, the relaxation you’ll get sleeping on a comfortable bed every night is well worth the added effort, and all that research will feel like a drop in the bucket once you drift off to sleep on your new mattress. So make sure to take the time to try out different mattresses, and don’t be afraid to experiment with the newest advancements in mattress technology. Your sleep is definitely worth it.
From camping mattresses to sleeping cots and folding mattresses, choosing the right mattress impacts more than just your bedroom. It can help improve your overall health by boosting the quality of your sleep, which can keep your immune system working at its best and keep back pain and muscle stiffness at bay. A great mattress can do more than just help you sleep well, it can give you the confidence you need to get out of bed in the morning, and can make you excited to standardize your sleep cycle. A great mattress can make all the difference in the world, so why wait? Check out any of our articles on the top mattresses to find the right sleep aid for you, so you can spend less time sheepishly shopping and more time counting sheep.
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