While pressure relief and spinal alignment are the two most important functions of a mattress and make up perhaps 80% of what makes a perfect mattress, your own unique needs, sensitivities, and how you are put together will make a big difference in the materials and construction that is most suitable for you. Individual preferences in overall feel such as the "liveliness" of your mattress, other elements of a mattress that contribute to overall comfort and sleeping satisfaction such as temperature regulation, and movement isolation, and more subjective considerations such as the choice between natural and synthetic materials, and how a mattress looks, and even how different materials react to the "other" activities that take place on a mattress can make be the difference between buying a "good" mattress and buying a "great" mattress and in your overall satisfaction with the mattress you choose. It is also important to know what types of materials can be reasonably expected to be available in each budget range as most of us of course want the "best" for the "least".
Some of these choices include:
Your sleeping positions: This can have a big effect on the type, softness, and thickness of the comfort layers you choose and on the type of support materials and mattress construction that is best for you. In general terms sleeping positions with bigger "gaps" need thicker or softer comfort layers with appropriate support layers and materials.
Your body shape and weight distribution: Your "statistics" can also play a big role in determining the type, softness, and thickness of your comfort layers and the type of support materials and construction that you choose. Again in very general terms curvier profiles need thicker comfort layers and heavier bodies need thicker and firmer comfort layers with support layers and materials that are also appropriate to the comfort layers and type of construction.
Your preferences: There are many of these and there are wide differences here between different people. These are not "better" or "worse" choices but more about "I like this better". There are many of these including the overall feel or springiness of a mattress, how deeply "in" a mattress you like to sleep, your individual perception of softness and firmness, and your sensitivity to sleeping hot are just a few of them. These too can affect your choice of materials, layers, and construction.
Your Budget: While all of us would much prefer the best materials and construction regardless of cost, we are not all able to afford this. This makes it more important to know about the types of materials and the many choices that are available in each budget range. As part of The Mattress Underground, you may be very surprised at the value and the quality of materials and construction that are available in each budget range if you know what makes a good mattress, what materials to look for, and where to find your best value.
Natural vs. Synthetic: Natural materials and green methods of producing them are quickly becoming an increasingly important consideration for many people in every area, including mattresses. Unfortunately there is also a great deal of false claims and "greenwashing" which goes right along with it as many will use false claims and half truths to sell more mattresses. More accurate information can help you in sorting through the noise.
Some of these factors such as your personal statistics and your sleeping positions are more "objective" in their effect on your choices and can play a very important role in your choice of materials and construction. These are easier to test when you are lying on mattresses. Your more subjective preferences though, especially those that are not so easy to remember or determine in a store environment, should also be known ahead of time and included in your choices as they are an important part of long term satisfaction with your mattress. In some cases, in an effort to make a sale, there may be attempts to persuade you that these choices are not so "critical" and it is important to make sure that you are not somehow convinced along the way that they are not so important after all or that you will "get used" to a mattress that doesn't include them. Your subjective preferences are never right or wrong and can be accommodated, though sometimes to differing degrees, at any budget level.
In the pages of this this section we will explore these more personal and/or subjective considerations which can help you personalize a mattress and make it perfect just for you.
As always, we welcome questions and comments on our forum.