How to Choose the Best Mattress for your Body Type

The power of a good night's sleep should never be underestimated. As we sleep, our body's serotonin levels are restored, our immune systems are rejuvenated and our memories are sharpened. Because sleep is so integral to our everyday functioning, it is essential that we get a good night's rest. To do this, it is important to sleep on a mattress that is right for you. Doing so will cause you to wake up rejuvenated and refreshed; sleeping on the wrong mattress, on the other hand, will result in many sleepless nights, waking up cranky and suffering from back pain.

A proper mattress should keep your spine straight when you lay on your side
A proper mattress should keep your spine straight when you lay on your side

Choosing the right mattress

Choosing the right mattress Mattresses are displayed in stores for a reason. They aren't put there to look pretty, they're put there so you can test them out by laying down on them. Many people believe that proper mattress-shopping etiquette involves simply sitting on the edge of the mattress. You cannot possibly make a decision just by doing that because 1.) You're going to spend the majority of your time laying on it, not sitting on it, and 2.) When you do lay down, it's not going to be on the edge of the mattress, it's going to be in the middle. Get a feel for the mattress by laying on it in your usual sleep position. If there's two of you, lay on it at the same time to see how it supports your weight. Lie on it for at least 10 minutes.

You're going to be looking for two important factors: comfort and support. Support is determined by the coil springs inside the mattress and should be conducive to proper spine alignment. When laying on your side, your spine should be straight, and when you lay on your back it should maintain it's natural curve. Comfort comes from the padding, which serves to cushion your body from the support of the springs and should mould itself to your shape. According to orthopedic experts, you should go for the firmest, most supportive mattress you find comfortable. A bed that is too firm will put pressure on the heavier parts of your body, particularly the hips, signaling your body to turn over and resulting in a night of tossing and turning. A bed that is too soft will result in your spine not being properly aligned. Your muscles will tense up and have to work harder to make up for the lack of support.

** TIP ** Because the springs are what make the mattress supportive, it is important to take their construction into consideration. Ask the salesperson (or refer to the placard if there is one) what the coil count is. A standard twin-size mattress should have at least 300, a queen should have 375 and a king should have 450.

Types of mattresses

Because we are inundated with commercials for mail-order mattresses and stores that sell bedding, and with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to figure out what's best for you. Here is a breakdown of the different types of mattresses and how they can best benefit your sleep. Remember, no matter what the mattress comfort level is, they can all offer the same spine support depending on the coil count. Test out different beds to get a feel for which one is right for you.


Firm mattresses have flat-tops with no extra padding. They typically come with Edge Support for a firmer, yet comfortable edge. Traditionally, firm to medium-firm mattresses have always been recommended for the relief of lower back pain. These mattresses score a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the hardest. Mattress height is approximately 8.5"

  • Sealy Giovanni Firm
  • Sealy Posturepedic Baltico Firm


Cushion Firm mattresses are medium-firm beds. They offer firm support with a slight cusion at the top. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the hardest, customers rate cushion firm mattresses a 7. Mattress height runs from 9.5" to 11.5"

  • Sealy Posturepedic Adriatic Cushion Firm
  • Sealy Posturepedic Wyrick Cushion Firm


Plush mattresses are the softest you can get without purchasing a bed that has additional pillowtop padding. Extra foam layering above the coils provide extra comfort and plush support. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the hardest, customers rate plush mattresses a 6. Mattresses are around 10" in height.

  • Sealy Posture Plush
  • Sealy Islandia Plush


Memory Foam was created by NASA twenty years ago but in the long run was never used in the space program. It ended up in mattresses instead. Previously too expensive for the average consumer, memory foam mattresses have become increasingly affordable over the past few years, resulting in a skyrocket in it's popularity. Made from polyurethane, memory foam mattresses are firmer in cool temperatures and softer in warm temperatures. Because it reacts to changes in climate, it also responds to the body's natural heat, quickly moulding itself to the shape of a warm body. Memory foam mattresses are denser and more supportive than standard mattresses. Keep in mind that it takes 15 minutes for the mattress to completely respond to your body's heat and settle into true form. What may feel just right at first may become too soft as the minutes pass, so give it a good, long chance. You can buy memory foam mattresses as well as memory foam overlays, or toppers, to place on top of an existing mattress.

  • Therapeutic 5" Memory Foam mattress (comparable to Tempur-pedic)
  • Sealy True Form collection


Ultra Plush mattresses are super comfortable and sometimes include an additional pillowtop on top of the mattress (which is already plenty padded by itself.) On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the hardest, ultra plush mattresses are about a 4. With a height of approximately 16", depending on the model, these mattresses also sometimes require deeper fitted sheets than the standard mattress.

  • Sealy Posturepedic Hoffman Estates Ultra Plush
  • Sealy Posturepedic Granite Peaks Ultra Plush EuroPillowtop


Pillowtop mattresses have an extra layer of padding attached to the top of the mattress to provide additional comfort. Generally speaking, these beds are not very firm due to the top layer, or "pillow", that covers the entire surface but they are incredibly comfortable. Pillowtop mattresses were also rated a 6 on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the hardest. Pillowtop mattresses usually require deeper fitted sheets than the standard mattress because they can run up to 19.5 inches high.

  • Serta Marcel Pillowtop

Solutions for couples

Unless you and your spouse have similar taste in comfort and support, chances are you're both going to be most comfortable on different beds. If one or both of you is willing to compromise, great. If not, several companies design mattresses made especially to accommodate two separate bodies with two separate ideas of what's comfortable.


The Select Comfort Sleep Number bed is rapidly gaining in popularity. You've probably seen at least a dozen commercials advertising it's uniquely designed air chambers which it uses rather than metal and springs to provide a level of support that can be adjusted literally at the touch of a button. The Firmness Control System is a remote attached to a pump that allows you to select the bed's firmness level. Even better, the 7000 and 9000 models come with two remotes that allow each person to select the comfort level for their side of the bed.

If you can't afford the pricey Select Comfort beds, which can run anywhere up to $4,000, then check out the more affordable alternatives such as the King 9000 Select Number Airbed shown here.


Tempur-pedic designs beds using the memory foam discussed above to ensure a good night's sleep for both parties. Because memory foam reacts to changes in temperature (firmer in cool, softer in warm) it reacts to the heat your body naturally emits throughout the evening, conforming to mould around your unique shape. When two people are in a full, queen or king size bed, the memory foam will mould around both of you, ensuring a better rest. Memory foam mattresses are denser and more supportive than standard mattresses. Keep in mind that it takes 15 minutes for the mattress to completely respond to your body's heat and settle into true form. What may feel just right at first may become too soft as the minutes pass, so give it a good, long chance to adapt to your shape.

Mattress Sizes

Twin xtra-long: 39in wide x 80in long

Twin: 39in wide x 75in long

Full: 54in wide x 75in long

Queen: 60in wide x 80in long

King: 76in wide x 80in long

California king: 72in wide x 84in long

Buying a mattress online

Purchasing a mattress online (as shown in the above examples from is a great way to save money. But not many people will buy something as important as a mattress sight unseen. Luckily, there is a way to solve this dilemma. First, look online to find a few mattresses you might be interested in. Let's say you're browsing on and spot a Sealy Posturepedic Granite Peaks Ultra Plush mattress set. Write down the manufacturer, model name and number if available, coil count and other pertinent, descriptive information. Next, go to the manufacturer's website and do a search to find a retailer near you who sells Sealy. Visit the store, find the Granite Peaks Ultra Plush, and test it out. Another option is to this process in reverse, visit different stores, find a mattress that is comfortable, write down it's information and then go online to order it.

** TIP ** When ordering, it is highly recommended that you purchase the box spring that comes with the mattress as a set. They are custom made specifically to support one another and they belong together.

Comments 34 comments

Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 9 years ago

This is a great hub. I have scoliosis and have back pain most of the time, but its so much better now that I have good mattress. The couples thing is important, too.

Dee Dee 8 years ago

Isabella, which mattress did you buy? I, too, have scoliosis and have through two mattresses this year and am in the process of deciding upon a third...I am DYING for a good night's sleep!

Cheap Music Downloads 8 years ago

Great Information, Choosing a good and correct matress defintely will help a lot on health and sleep with more comfortable. THanks

Inspire Wisdom profile image

Inspire Wisdom 8 years ago from Appalachian Mountains

You really covered a vast variety of great products.  I purchased a Sterns & Foster about 6 months ago because the salesman insisted it was the best for your back and knees.  I wanted a different mattress that was cheaper, but he insisted it would be a waste of money.  So, I charged that $1,000 mattress on the stores credit card and the mattress is awful.  I then purchased a Sleep Number 5000 and received it this past week.  It is amazng.

Thanks again for the great information.

marketingmaverick 8 years ago from BC, Canada

Comprehensive would be the best word to describe your Hub! thanks for the great information.

Learn to Guitar 8 years ago

Just know that they are so many factorc to consider to choose the best matress. Thanks for this helpful information.

dinkan53 profile image

dinkan53 7 years ago from India

hey, nice informative hub

Me 7 years ago

Hens lay (eggs). People lay items down. But only a hen can lay on a mattress. People lie on mattresses. And that's no lie.

greenrabbi profile image

greenrabbi 6 years ago

Great post, buying a new mattress can be frustrating when you don't know what to look for. Thanks!

sleep comfort adjustable beds 6 years ago

I prefer to purchasing a mattress online because it is a great way to save money

Bruce 6 years ago

This is a very well done page. Yeah, it pays off to do some good research before buying a bed. Getting good sleep is probably the most underrated thing we can do to be happier.

Jacquelyn Smith profile image

Jacquelyn Smith 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Very informative hub. I'll keep these tips in mind when I'm at the store tomorrow!

lester chen 5 years ago

This is very useful and informative. Many people think that buying mattress is just like buying a cake that the only thing to consider is the design. This post shows what needs to be consider. Great one!

Mark Lambert 5 years ago

Thanks for the info. Knowing what to look for made it easy to find out which stores were trying to sell me and which were trying to Help me. Anyone in Georgia go to a place called "The Mattress Store", they are great.

S. Bennison 5 years ago

Thank you, interesting and helpful, but you must use the word lie instead of lay.

One lays a table cloth, but not a body. Lie down on the bed. Whey you're lying down on the bed. When you lie down on the bed. You should lie down on the bed for ten minutes. Forget the word "lay" unless you are using the past

tense. I lay down yesterday. I laid on the bed yesterday.

Keith Woodard 5 years ago

Your sort is really informative. I already got an idea how to choose the best mattress for my body type. This is really useful for me if I have a plan to buy a new mattresses. Anyway, thanks for the information. Keep it up.


rosi 5 years ago

I have and spinal cord problem due to which i am suffering form severe back pain kindly suggest which matress to go for

Doug 4 years ago

I got a sleep number 5000 in 2006 and all it is a big headace i have problems with it every since exspecally if you had fusions in your neck and lower backnot a good bed

beedee 4 years ago

Sealy, n sale at Bloomingdales 50 % off and then a "special% 20 off.. Which means the mattress is worth 20 percent of original quote. and we beleive we are getting a deal. NO! We are paying what it is worth, and no more. Those high "original" prices are hog wash.. to make us think we are getting a bargain!! No such thing. It is only worth what we or no sale ticket. My Sealy collapsed in the middle after the first year ... and Sealy smartly does not guarantee depression... We shop for comfort, but they do not guaranty the firmness will stay!! DOn't beleive the sales!!

Cheryl 4 years ago

We purchased a Tempur-pedic bed in Oct 2010 and ever since, I have had terrible back problems. I have mild/moderate Scoliosis and never had any issues with it but am now in and out of Spine doctors, Physical Therapy, Massage Therapists... and in pain! it may be just a coincidence but doubtful. I was told before I purchased it that if you are a "back sleeper" you'll love this bed anyone else will be a Chiropractors dream! I should have listened as these mattresses can set you back $3,000.

Kate 4 years ago

I have a Sleep Number bed and I love it! I've had a three level spinal fusion in my lower back and a disc replacement in my neck. I love that I can change the firmness of my mattress daily if needed depending on how my back is on any given day. It was well worth the $1,500 price tag!

Great article!

BBG 4 years ago

It is always impressive to see a web site suggest one goes to the bricks and mortar shop, get the benefits and then go for the online price. Life and society are what we make it...and we are not valuing service at all.

carol 4 years ago

It would be nice if you would show a bit more respect for the local retailers with product on their floors and salespeople waiting on us patiently to help us find the right mattress. If you take up the time of the shop and salesperson, one would hope you would be seriously planning to purchase from them. If not, SHAME ON YOU!

Bruno 4 years ago

This article is interesting but the end is not acceptable ! If everybody does as you suggest, i.e. try at the store and buy online, pretty soon, there won't be any retail store to try the mattresses !

Jim 4 years ago

Sorry, but though this is an informative article, I find it rather embarrassing for the writer that a fairly basic grammatical mistake repeatedly occurs. One doesn't 'lay' on a bed; one lies on a bed. One might get laid on a bed, but does so (usually) while lying down......

Samantha 4 years ago

I definitely agree that a memory foam mattress is the way to go. I had a Tempur Pedic at one time, but recently got rid of it, because it didn't last. I did a lot of research and ended up getting a new one from and couldn't be happier! Highly recommend them.

name 4 years ago

This article is very helpful as I search for a good mattress. Whether you write lay, lie, or lye is totally beside the point as all I want is a good night's sleep. Thanks!

GreYGhost profile image

GreYGhost 4 years ago from central florida

All of this is well and good as far as the coil count i can tell you its b.s. If you get to a time on your mattress when the coils matter then the top of it has given up and you got a shitty mattress. also the newer mattresses that don't have coils i.e I-comfort or old style tempurpedics are some of the best nights of sleep you will have period ever. you shoulda invest more then just 599 on queen too . You spend a lot more on your vehicles and you don't use it for 6-8 hours everyday do you ?

kenlyn 4 years ago

You may have encountered the idea that the firmer a mattress, the better, to help ease back pain. However, there is good evidence which suggests a slightly more Goldilocks approach. A double-blinded study published in 2003 in the Lancet[1] tested 313 participants experiencing chronic low back pain, by having them sleep on either medium-firm or firm innerspring mattresses. Those sleeping on the medium-firm mattresses experienced significantly more pain relief overall than those on the firm varieties, and the study’s interpretation of its findings was that medium-firm mattresses can help relieve chronic low back pain

Lola Dunn 3 years ago

Ok really, people are actually correcting the author's grammer explaining the difference between the words "lay" and "lie"? Really?!

Reginald Thomas profile image

Reginald Thomas 14 months ago from Connecticut

Great Hub!

Lots of useful information for the person needing a new mattress set. Your opening statement was top notch. I also enjoyed your discussion on purchasing a set online.

Sharon 12 months ago

I bought a sleep number bed 6 years ago before I got married. I loved it! Now that I'm married I regret that I got a split mattress. I thought it would be nice for each person to be able to adjust their own side. We sleep together in the middle. After reading this article and the reviews, I will definitely keep my bed, just upgrade to a one piece mattress!

DebraHargrove profile image

DebraHargrove 8 months ago from North Carolina

Sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause painful problems with your neck, back, and spine. Your HUB covers great details about the importance of the many different choices with mattresses on the market. You have to make sure you are sleeping on the right mattress or you will wake up in pain. I learned about sleeping on the wrong mattress. It really makes a difference.

lisa 4 months ago

mild lower scoliosis and narrow discs in my neck I wake up with neck pain on most mornings on a medium mattress, should I go with plush or medium firm....I do like a soft mattress for Comfort just comfortable how about the pain level.

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