Did you know that throughout your life you will spend approximately a third sleeping? That is, about 27 years and that is why it is so important to buy a good mattress. You already know: quality rest, reduction of back pain, greater energy and better mood throughout the day… and much more.
In fact, the study carried out in 2009 by the Bed Association indicated that 32% of the population wake up tired or with back pain.
But the essential question is: do you know how to choose the right mattress among the dozens of types out there? Viscoelastic, latex, continuous springs, HR foam, futons, … if you get dizzy seeing so many names and you are not very clear about what you need, here you will find all the essential information to choose easily and without fear of making a mistake.
And it is that the most important thing is not the money you spend but to choose well and buy what you need. Do you want to know how to do it? Let’s go there.
8 key points to choose your mattress
Let’s start with a visual summary of the 8 keys to choosing correctly and then we will talk about each point in detail.
Keys to choose your mattress
Before telling you in detail all the aspects that you must take into account when buying a mattress, you can take a look at the video where we tell you the 5 keys to choose your mattress.
5 keys to choose your mattress and buy without making a mistake
What mattress to buy according to your weight and height?
If you are “wide boned”, you will need a firmer mattress that offers you an even support and avoids the boat effect. On the contrary, lighter people need a more flexible and soft mattress that distributes the weight well.
As for the measurements, the mattress should be at least 10 cm longer than what you measure. In the case of a double bed, the tallest person is the one who will serve as a reference.
The thickness of the mattress should be at least 15 cm to ensure comfort.
For the width, the recommended thing would be a bed between 90 and 110 cm if you are going to sleep alone and between 150 and 160 for double beds.
And for those who like to sleep like kings, there are the so-called King size beds of 200 cm x 200 cm. These beds are great if you sleep with your partner and one of you moves around a lot, or if you have children who like to sleep with you.
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If you sleep as a couple, you will appreciate a mattress that absorbs movement well (what is known as bed independence), so that you are not bothered by the other person’s changes in posture.
This is especially relevant if you have very different weights, one of you moves a lot while sleeping, or if you are a light sleeper.
The ones that usually offer better bed independence are pocket spring mattresses with generous viscoelastic padding (at least 3cm).
What position do you usually sleep in?
Your way of sleeping plays a key role when choosing the firmness that the mattress should have to guarantee that your back will rest in a suitable position and avoid back pain.
face up or face down
If you sleep on your back or on your stomach, a rather hard mattress is best for you to avoid poor posture of the spine, especially at the cervical (neck) and lumbar (base of the spine) levels.
It can also help to put a cushion under your knees to maintain the normal curvature of your spine during your resting hours. Also, you should sleep with a rather high pillow.
And if you sleep on your stomach, it would be good if you used a thin pillow to avoid straining your neck.
If you sleep on your side, you will need a mattress of medium hardness, which adapts to the shape of your hips and shoulders.
To ensure that the spine rests without forced curvatures and relieve the highest pressure points, you can sleep with your legs slightly bent. For added comfort, you can put a pillow between your legs. Also, it will be good for you to sleep with a high pillow, unless you sleep with your arm under it. If so, a thin pillow is better so as not to force the neck excessively.
Do you move a lot?
If you are one of those who beats the Olympic record for turning in bed every night, you will need a rather firm mattress that allows you to move without effort. However, something too hard, like a futon, won’t work either, as it could make you cringe when you change position.
In addition, you will need it to be a mattress that adapts a lot, since you will sleep in several different positions throughout the night.
Instead, if you move little, choose the firmness based on your weight and the position in which you usually sleep.
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The breathability (ventilation) of the mattress is given by the materials that compose it. If they allow more air to pass through, the vapor generated by your body dissipates more easily, so less heat accumulates.
If you are one of those who frequently uncovers at night or live in a place with hot summers, you may be interested in spring mattresses, which are the ones that offer greater breathability and are cooler.
Tip If you are so hot that the spring mattress is not enough to keep you from sweating in bed, you should look at one of the mattresses whose materials act with a thermoregulatory function. For example, some models have gel microparticles that lower the temperature of the mattress.
On the contrary, if you are one of those who resists removing the duvet cover even in summer, latex and viscoelastic mattresses are the ones that keep the heat the most.
Types of mattresses according to the material
There are several types of materials, and in itself none is better than another. Each one will be more or less recommended according to your needs and preferences. So let’s see how they differ and which one suits you best.
Before looking at each material in depth, I leave you this summary table of the main characteristics of each one.
Note: if you see it on mobile, scroll the table with your finger to see all the columns.
MaterialAverage price*Ideal forFirmnessPros Cons
Occasional use beds
(the higher the density of the foam, the greater the firmness)
|· Economical price
· Very manageable because they weigh little
|· Not recommended for daily use
· Accumulate mites quite easily
· Not very breathable
|viscoelastic||200-500€||· People who spend many hours in bed
· If you sleep on your side
· Muscle or joint problems
· Double beds
(according to viscous layer thickness and core material)
|· High adaptability
· Good feeling of welcome
· Low transmission of movement
Some people find them too soft (when visco layer >5cm)
Visco can lose properties over the years
|Muelles (bagged)||400-800€||· Hot people
· People who move while sleeping
· Double beds
(depending on the material of the layers on the springs)
High bed independence
|· Some people find them a bit stiff
· If they are not pocket springs, they can be a bit noisy
|Latex||€400-1,500 (depending on whether it is synthetic or natural)||People with asthma
People who move around
in their sleep Double
beds Articulated beds
· Good adaptability
· High flexibility
|· They are quite heavy
· Low breathability
· High price
*Price calculated based on a mattress of 135 cm x 190 cm
polyurethane foam mattress
Best for: People on a budget and seldom used beds
Firmness: medium (the higher the density, the greater the firmness)
Made with expanded polyurethane foam, they are characterized by low firmness and little retention of shape after pressure, so they quickly return to their original state. They weigh little and are easy to handle.
They are the most basic and cheapest option you will find and that makes them ideal if you have a low budget. They can also be a good option if you are going to use them sporadically, for example, in a guest bed or second home.
The important thing is the density of the material: the higher the density, the more consistency and the slower the aging, but also the higher the price and weight.
Advice A density below 35kg/m3 is only recommended for very sporadic use beds or small children .
But you must bear in mind that they are not very breathable and accumulate mites quite easily, so they are not recommended for people with asthma or dust allergies.
- Very cheap price
- Very manageable because they weigh little
- Not recommended for sleeping for long periods of time
- They accumulate mites quite easily
- little breathable
Our recommendation: Lumia mattress
Ideal for: if you are one of those who spend many hours in bed and are looking for a soft and adaptable mattress. Side sleepers and those with muscle or joint problems.
Viscoelastic or “memory foam” is a high-quality foam that reacts to body heat by molding itself to reduce pressure in the heaviest areas of the body.
In general, they are rather soft mattresses that stand out for their flexibility and excellent adaptability, being the best option for people who suffer from certain muscle or bone pain. In addition, they absorb movement very well, making them ideal for double beds.
These mattresses have a foam core covered with a layer of viscoelastic that can vary in thickness. The thicker, the more comfort and adaptability, but the price also increases.
However, they do not breathe very well so they tend to accumulate body heat, unless you choose a perforated memory foam mattress. Another good option if you are very hot could be a spring mattress.
And one more thing: it is important that you check if the mattress you have bought has viscoelastic on one or both sides. Only in the second case will the mattress be reversible and you will have to turn it over periodically.
- very good adaptability
- high flexibility
- They hardly transmit movement
- They do not breathe as well as springs
- Some people find them too soft
- The price is usually high
Our recommendation: Emma Original. If you want to know more about this mattress, don’t miss our in-depth analysis of the Emma mattress.
Ideal for: hot people, with high weight and double beds
Firmness: high, in general they are rather hard mattresses
Although they sound old and uncomfortable, the reality is that technology has advanced enormously and today a good spring mattress can be as or more comfortable and suitable for a good rest than a viscoelastic or latex mattress.
They are made up of a network of springs covered with several layers of fabric that isolate them and provide comfort and different degrees of firmness. The price will depend on the number of springs and the quality of the materials that cover them. You can find spring mattresses covered in latex, cotton or even memory foam, adding adaptability and comfort.
These mattresses allow good air circulation, so they quickly dissipate body heat and do not accumulate moisture. This makes them a very good option for people who are hot or who live in hot places.
On the other hand, they are high firmness mattresses, so they are a good option for people who usually sleep on their backs or with a high weight.
As a counterpoint, it is true that these mattresses do not usually have as much adaptability to the body as other materials and that some people find them somewhat hard.
If you do not like hard mattresses, our recommendation is that you choose a spring mattress with a layer of memory foam padding that is at least 3 cm thick.
Tip Never fold a spring mattress, as it will deform and no longer return to its original shape correctly .
There are 3 types of spring mattresses:
Biconic springs or bonell
This is the classic spring mattress. They are quite firm and the type that best adapts to the different parts of your body. They are usually the most affordable in price.
Cylindrical or pocket springs
Thanks to the fact that the springs are protected inside covers that individualize and separate them from each other, they avoid the typical noises that spring mattresses make when you move and provide high comfort, adapting to the pressure exerted by each area of your body.
This characteristic also makes them ideal for double beds, since they isolate movements very well and if your partner moves, you will not notice it.
In addition, they have a very long useful life, being able to offer a good rest for up to 15 years if you take good care of them.
Continuous wire springs
They are firm and provide greater reinforcement in key points such as the lower back. They are ideal for single beds.
- High breathability
- Suitable for heavy people
- Good bed independence
- long service life
- They don’t stretch too much
- Some people find them a bit harsh
- If they are not pocket springs, they make noise over time
Our recommendation: Hypnia Superior Wellness. If you want to know more about this mattress, don’t miss our in-depth analysis of the Superior Wellness mattress.
Ideal for: allergy sufferers and asthmatics. Also for people who move a lot during the night and for adjustable beds.
These mattresses can be made with natural latex -which comes from the rubber tree-, synthetic or a mixture of both. Depending on the origin of the latex, the price will be lower or higher.
This material is characterized by great elasticity and recovery capacity, so when changing posture it quickly recovers its original state. In addition, they are usually rather soft mattresses -although they provide firmer support than memory foam- that adapt well to the shape of the body, providing a soft and warm sensation and distributing pressure optimally.
Tip If it is a mixed mattress made of latex and other materials, make sure that the latex layer is at least 4 cm thick to benefit from all the characteristics of this material .
They are a good option for double beds, since they do not transmit movement. And also if you are one of those who moves a lot at night, since by not sinking too much it does not slow down the rotation.
They are the best option for articulated beds, thanks to the great elasticity of this material.
In addition, they are the ideal mattress for people with allergies and asthma, since it is the only material in which mites cannot nest.
eye! Although mites cannot nest in latex, they could in the mattress cover. That is why it is important to choose a mattress with an easily removable cover and wash it at a high temperature periodically.
One of its main weaknesses is that it is quite heavy, making it difficult to manipulate and turn. In addition, like viscoelastic, they tend to accumulate heat.
Advice Air the mattress well every day to avoid the accumulation of moisture that could significantly shorten the life of your mattress .
- Mites cannot nest in this material
- Good adaptability without losing firmness
- very flexible
- long service life
- they are quite heavy
- Avoid if you are allergic to latex
- They don’t sweat very well
Our recommendation: Kipli mattress. If you want to know more about this mattress, don’t miss our in-depth analysis of the Kipli mattress.
For more information on latex allergy, click here. And if you are thinking of buying a latex mattress, first take a look at this guide where we show you the keys to a good choice, as well as we evaluate the best models of this year:
Hard or soft, what firmness do you need?
In addition to the material, it is very important that you choose the firmness of the mattress that best favors your health and rest, respecting the natural curvature of your spine. In this way, you will get a quality rest and avoid back pain.
Firmness -or hardness- is defined as the resistance that the mattress provides to the load produced by your body. The mattress should adequately distribute the weight of the body, providing support but without being uncomfortable.
If the mattress is too hard, it will not adapt well to your body and can be uncomfortable because it puts a lot of pressure on the main points of support (shoulders and hips).
On the other hand, if it is excessively soft, the spine does not receive the correct support, curving in a detrimental way. In addition, the aeration will be worse, increasing the sensation of heat.
Choose a rather soft mattress if:
- you sleep on your side
- You weigh little (below 75-80 kg)
Choose a firmer mattress if:
- you sleep on your back
- You move a lot during the night
- You have a high weight (between 80 and 110 kg choose a medium and high hardness if you weigh more)
It is possibly one of the things that you are going to take into account the most. It is true that a mattress is not cheap, but it is important that you remember the importance of buying one with quality materials and that it adapts well to you (and not the other way around). Your health is at stake!
Think that a good mattress will last you about 10 years, so if you divide what it costs by 3,650 nights that you will spend on it, surely it does not seem like such a big investment?
In general, the cheapest mattresses are foam, followed by memory foam and pocket springs. The latex ones (if it is natural) are usually the most expensive option but of higher quality.
Choosing the right foundation for your mattress
To get the most out of your bed, it is also important that you choose the ideal base according to the type of mattress you have chosen:
slatted bed base
It is the most versatile type, as it is suitable for almost any type of mattress (although they are not a good option for pocket springs) and are usually quite affordable.
In addition, it achieves good ventilation, something especially important in the case of mattresses whose material does not perspire too much, such as viscoelastic or latex.
It is the best option for spring mattresses. The best thing about these bases is that, in many cases, they are built as a chest, so you will have excellent space to store a few things under the bed without collecting dust or taking up space in the room.
However, this type of base is not recommended for latex mattresses.
spring bed frame
Like the slat mattresses, they offer optimal ventilation and are suitable for any type of mattress. Being more elastic, they provide extra softness to the bed, making them a good option to counteract mattresses that are too hard.
However, keep in mind that over time, they have a tendency to make noise when you move in bed.
They are ideal for people with limited mobility, the elderly and those who must spend long periods in bed, as it allows them to comfortably adopt various positions in bed.
For these bases, flexible and non-deformable mattresses must be used. The best option is latex mattresses, although some models with a foam core are also suitable.
Avoid spring mattresses, which are not suitable for this type of base.
If you want to know more in detail how to choose the right base and which are the best models of each type, do not miss this guide:
When should you renew the mattress?
Do you wake up more tired lately or have back pains been accentuated in the morning? It may be time to retire your mattress.
A recent study has shown that changing the mattress can improve up to 63% of back pain .
In general, the useful life of the mattress is around 10 years, so if your mattress exceeds this age, you should consider renewing it. Even if you are younger but notice that you no longer rest as well, you should consider the change.
Although the deterioration is not evident, the mattress materials age over the years, losing their properties.
Hygiene is another important point: even if you do a good maintenance and air it regularly, surely you have spent several hours sick in bed and have sweated many times. All this causes moisture and dirt to accumulate in the mattress and germs and mites proliferate, increasing the possibility of allergies.
And, make no mistake, you are not the same as 10 years ago. The characteristics of people change with age, so a mattress that could have been suitable at the time no longer has to be the best option.
How to extend the life of your mattress?
Here are some tricks to keep your mattress in the best possible condition and, therefore, the quality of your sleep:
- When you get up in the morning, remove the sheets and let the mattress air out so that sweat evaporates before making the bed
- Use a cover to cover your mattress and wash it at least 3 times a year to protect your mattress and ensure maximum hygiene
- Frequently change the bottom sheet
- Turn the mattress every 3-4 months to prevent uneven wear and tear, unless it is memory foam or the manufacturer states otherwise
- Avoid humidity in the bedroom so that fungi do not proliferate
If you want to know all the tricks to keep your mattress looking like new, don’t miss this article with the keys to cleaning a mattress and keeping it free of mites and bad odors.
Does age influence when choosing the mattress?
Definitely. The characteristics of a person change over the years and your mattress must adapt to each moment of your life.
In general, young people need firmer mattresses, and as the years go by, experts recommend that the mattress hardness be reduced to help your joints and bones.
For this reason, for the elderly, the best option is usually a viscoelastic mattress.