Pros and Cons of Different Mattresses

In order to stop fighting your mattress for sleep, find the mattress that’s right for you based on your sleeping position, health concerns and overall comfort.

If you are like me then you fall asleep instantly, on your stomach, with one hand under your pillow, and one leg straight. You toss and turn, steal the blankets, kick, grind your teeth, snore and have issues waking up in the morning while sprawled out across the bed.

If you’re like my boyfriend, you take some time to fall asleep and you fall asleep on your side with knees curled in. You wake up easily, never have the blankets, get kicked and have issues waking up in the morning while exiled to one foot of the edge of the bed…or, maybe you’re some sort of mixture of those things. The point is that everyone sleeps differently and, because of that, we all require different mattresses to give us the best sleep possible.

Choosing a mattress doesn’t only depend on comfort, but on your sleeping position or any health concerns you have that can affect your sleep or become worse due to your sleeping position. We spend one third of our lives sleeping, so why not make sure that third is the best sleep we can get.

For some sleepers, getting good sleep isn’t the easiest thing. Many outside issues can affect how fast we fall asleep, the quality of sleep we get, and how rested we feel throughout the day. One of the many overlooked issues for sleep comfort is mattress compatibility. Each mattress offers different things for different sleepers. Be sure to have some mattress knowledge in order to make the most of your slumber time.

Innerspring Mattress
Innerspring mattresses use a steel coil support system. The springs are covered by some type of padding or upholstery. Given the amount of coils available, it offers many areas of support.

Pros: Widely available and popular, they come in a variety of firmness levels

Cons: Lower durability and longevity

Best For: Those with a smaller budget or deep sleepers that sleep on their back

Worst For: Those with sleep apnea or lower back pain

While innerspring mattresses are great for healthy, deep sleepers or back sleepers, the springs can hit certain pressure points when sleeping on your side where the surface area you are sleeping on is smaller. For those with sleep apnea, it’s better to sleep on your stomach or side and this mattress can cause uncomfortable pressure points to be pushed in those positions.

Hybrid Mattress
Hybrid mattresses offer the support of an innerspring mattress with the contouring comfort of a memory foam or pillow top mattress.

Pros: Best for the Goldilocks of sleepers who want a bed that’s not too soft or too firm

Cons: Tend to hold more heat and be heavier to transport

Best For: Stomach sleepers

Worst For: Those who have sleeping issues due to high temperatures

Hybrid mattresses are great for many reasons. Really great for stomach sleepers that require a mattress firm enough to keep their spine from curving but soft enough to stay away from pressure points, but also great for side and back sleepers that require some soft firmness as well.

Waterbeds are not only super retro, but also use a water chamber as their support system. Water beds can be free flowing so that nothing obstructs the water’s natural movement underneath you or waveless where the water’s motions are limited.

Pros: Offers a ton of contouring

Cons: Does not limit the effects of movement if you sleep next to someone and requires a heater

Best For: Deep sleepers

Worst For: Those with back pain or side sleepers

For many, the contouring effects of the waterbed make for a great night’s sleep. For others, however, sleeping on a bed without any sort of support can lead to back and neck pain. Before considering a waterbed, consider how deeply you sleep. On a waterbed, you will feel every movement of your partner unless you are a deep sleeper.

Pillow Top Mattress
A pillow top mattress provides additional contouring by adding a layer of upholstery sewn to the top of the mattress.

Pros: Pillow top padding allows even a firm mattress to be more comfortable

Cons: Retains heat and requires special sheets

Best For: Side sleepers or those with back pain

Worst For: Those who have sleeping issues due to high temperatures

Pillow top mattresses offer firm contouring which is great for those with back pain that commonly request a firmer bed that offers more support on their pressure points. Side sleepers have the option for contouring that will help their shoulders and neck without creating a dip in their support like some other heavily contoured beds do.

Air Bed
Air beds use an air chamber that is adjustable for their support system. Not to be confused with a camping air mattress, these beds have padding and upholstery as well and offer much more structure.

Pros: Custom firmness for many different types of sleepers

Cons: Price

Best For: Couples that require different firmness levels in their mattress

Worst For: Light sleepers

Air beds are unique in that you can change your firmness level by the day if you’d like. Not only that, but you can change the firmness level on each side of the bed on some models. The sound of the air pump has been a problem for some, however, as well as the hefty price range.

Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam mattresses use a high concentration of polyurethane foam as their support system. The foam is made to contour closely to the sleeper’s body.

Pros: High quality pressure point relief

Cons: High heat retention

Best For: Stomach sleepers and light sleepers

Worst For: Those with back pain

Due to the pressure point relief, the contouring material of a memory foam mattress makes for a great night’s sleep for those concerned with pain caused by sleeping. It also enables motion isolation and will help light sleepers to sleep through their partner moving at night. Unfortunately for those that require a firm bed, memory foam still creates spinal dips that can aggravate back pain.

Adjustable Foundations
An adjustable foundation bed allows you to bend, elevate, or lower parts of your bed. Many models also offer dual controls for both sides of the bed.

Pros: Ability to be in a custom position for many types of sleepers

Cons: Price and limited materials

Best For: Those with sleep apnea

Worst For: Those with special material requirements

An adjustable bed can be great for those with certain sleep disorders like sleep apnea or chronic snoring due to its ability to bend so that you are able to sleep on your back without closing your windpipe. Unfortunately, some adjustable foundations don’t come in certain material or firmness levels. It would be difficult, for instance, to get an adjustable foundation water bed.

There is a mattress type that is best for all of us, it’s just a matter of finding it. When shopping for a bed, don’t be afraid to take off your shoes and jump on to see how the mattress feels. Bring your partner and discuss sleeping comfortability and health concerns beforehand so that you know what to look for. Work on a compromise, get an adjustable bed, or invest in a comfortable couch for the nights that you get fed up with your partner’s sleep habits.