- Do your research. You can start online. Look for sites that provide information about healthy sleep and healthy spines, but don’t sell beds or mattresses. Try Bettersleep.org or Spinehealth.com. You can also talk to your doctor. This is a particularly good idea if you are under care for any kind of condition that causes back pain. Though your family doctor is probably not a sleep expert, he should be familiar enough with you and your needs to give good advice.
- Firmer isn’t always better. You need a mattress that provides firm support, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be hard. You should be able to find a mattress with firm support that also feels comfortable. Comfortable is decided by your own personal preference. According to research, the best mattress for sufferers of lower back pain is a medium-firm mattress.
- Pillow top, or not? Pillow tops aren’t ideal for everyone. For people who don’t weigh a lot, the pillow top tends not to do a lot of good, because their weight doesn’t compress the foam enough to reach the supportive coils underneath.
- Make sure you go big enough. If you’re sleeping with a partner, then you should go for a queen-sized bed, at minimum. If you regularly have a child or two joining you for all or part of the night, consider a king or even a California king, if you can afford it and if it fits in your bedroom.
- Test it out. Spend a good 15 minutes, at least, lying on a mattress before you choose it. Don’t be embarrassed and don’t let any pushy sales people rush you. This is a big decision, and you need to take your time with it. Whatever mattress you choose, you’ll be spending every night with it for years. Take your time.
- Ask about guarantees. Some brands, like Tempurpedic, typically offer a money back guarantee. Ask about that before you buy one. You should also ask about comfort guarantees. If the store offers one, find out what it involves: is it a money back guarantee, or an exchange policy? How long do you have? While you’re at it, be sure to check the terms of the warranty.
When you buy your mattress, be sure to pick up some kind of waterproof mattress protector as well. Stains are likely to void your warranty, and chances are that at some point, a kid will end up in your bed and might have an accident. Remember that the most important thing is that your mattress is comfortable and supportive. Don’t feel guilty about splurging, if that’s what it takes; if mama ain’t happy, then nobody is, and a lack of comfortable sleep can make you anything but happy!