Your bed is the piece of furniture you probably use most in your house. Hours are spent on it each and every night, not to mention any midday lounging time. If you’re a student, your bed may be your prime studying spot, as well. In order to have a great bed, you need a great mattress, which you should replace every five to seven years. Choosing a mattress is a huge investment of your time and money. You spend so many hours on your bed each night that purchasing the wrong mattress can result in painful aches in the neck and back. What type of mattress is best for you? Should you get a plush or firm mattress? And if you want to purchase a firmer mattress, what exactly is the difference between medium and firm? This article answers three basic questions to help you decide which mattress best suits your needs.

What position do you normally sleep in at night?
When choosing a mattress, do a little bit of research on yourself first. The week before mattress shopping, take special note as to what position you sleep in most often. This will determine what firmness you will need in a mattress. Make sure to notice if there is a difference between the position you lay down in and in what position you wake up. Waking up in a different position means that is probably the position you spend most of your sleeping hours in; therefore, it is also the position you’re in the bulk of your time atop the mattress.

If you tend to sleep on your side, you should look into purchasing a plush or medium mattress. You will need that extra bedding and “give” to accommodate the curves of your body. Generally, the curvier you are, the more “give” you will need in the mattress. If you tend to sleep on your back, a medium-firm or firm mattress will be a good fit. This mattress does not have all the extra “give” someone who sleeps on their side might need. If you tend to sleep on your stomach, it is time to re-examine how you sleep. Chiropractors and doctors alike generally do not recommend this. More often than not, sleeping on your stomach is a sign of a bad mattress anyway, so making the choice to seek out a new mattress was the right one all along.

What sort of pain is your current mattress causing, and/or what preexisting conditions do you have?
Some mattresses are recommended specifically for those who suffer from certain ailments and aches. If you are currently suffering from neck or back pain, it is best to get a mattress that will help alleviate that. Purchasing a mattress for your sleeping position and body shape is the first step. The second step is to actually pay more attention to ailments and conditions when shopping. Generally, it is recommended that those suffering from back pain find a mattress that provides a happy combination of comfort and support, which is usually found in medium or firm mattresses. Consult a physician if you have any further issues or questions concerning choosing a mattress and your health.

Additionally, if you are one who suffers from nighttime heartburn, you may want to look into an adjustable mattress base in addition to a new mattress. Sleeping on an incline helps to alleviate this nasty pain.

What mattress do you feel most comfortable on?
This question may seem like a very obvious one to consider when choosing a mattress, but the process is much more complicated than you might think. It is very important to test mattresses correctly while in a store or shop. When testing a mattress, lie in the position you most often sleep in for several minutes. It takes your body time to adjust to a position, and pressure points will not become apparent to you unless you take the time to lie down for a while. Once you’ve tested the mattress for several minutes, pay attention to how much it supports you. Is it providing your back relief? Is it too firm? Where do you feel uncomfortable? Test mattresses that are plush, medium and firm before making your decision. This may mean taking more time and even more trips, but it is certainly worth the effort.

Choosing a mattress is a huge commitment and it is not something to do on a whim. It is very important to consider your sleeping position and preexisting conditions, and to test the mattress properly. If you use the three guidelines above as you evaluate your new mattress options, you will find yourself with a mattress that you will not want to leave.