How to Choose a Mattress: A Helpful Buying Guide | Casper How to Choose a Mattress: A Helpful Buying Guide | Casper
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01 Determine Your Budget

The average American spends roughly 36 years lying in their bed, therefore investing in a good mattress is worth it.

Before embarking on your journey to pick the perfect mattress, it’s important to first consider how much you’re willing to spend on a new mattress. Keep in mind that you usually spend the most time everyday on your mattress. In fact, research shows that over the course of a lifetime, the average American spends an estimated 36 years lying in their bed. For this reason, investing in a mattress that will provide you with a good night’s sleep is worth it.

While mattresses aren’t as expensive as say, a royal wedding, they can range anywhere from $300 to $3,000. Of course, the price is largely dependent on the type of mattress:

  1. Foam
    These light, airy mattresses, made with cushion-like material, can range from $500 to $1,600.
  2. Innerspring
    Made with a row of spring coils within the mattress, innerspring mattress types typically cost anywhere from $600 to $1,300, depending on the quality and size.
  3. Hybrid
    A hybrid mattress comprises multiple layers of memory foam, latex, or gel combined with a spring system. Costs generally range from $1,500 to $2,200.
  4. Latex
    A combination of latex foam and sometimes springs, these mattresses typically are on the more expensive side, costing $1,500 to $2,500.
  5. Airbed
    Plastic mattresses filled with air—typically cost between $100 to $300.
At Casper, you can find an affordable mattress with excellent support for as low as $395 or opt for a luxurious mattress fit to all of your sleeping needs for less than $3,595. We carry foam and hybrid mattresses so you can choose something that works best for you.
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02 Choose a Mattress Size

You may be asking yourself, “What kind of mattress do I need?” If you live in a particularly small space it may be best to opt for a smaller size, such as a twin or full mattress. Although, if you have room to stretch, a queen or king-size mattress may be more suitable for your needs.

Let’s run through a quick breakdown of the six mattress sizes available from most manufacturers:

Twin

38-inches by 75-inches. Twin mattresses are best for young children, teens, or anyone under six feet tall. A twin mattress is the most affordable of the bunch.
Best size for
Single sleepers — children, adults with a smaller space, or for bunk beds

Twin XL

38-inches by 80 inches. Wondering what the difference is between a twin xl vs. twin? 5 inches longer than the twin, a Twin XL mattress is best for young children and teens sprouting faster than Jack’s beanstalk.
Best size for
Adults with limited space to work with or teenagers on the taller side

Full

53-inches by 75-inches. A full mattress is suitable for singles or couples looking for compact comfort. Although, those taller than six feet should stay away unless they don’t mind your toes hanging off the bed.
Best size for
Single sleepers, couples who like to snuggle, or for a guest room

Queen

60-inches by 80-inches. A queen bed is one of the best bed sizes for couples who like to cuddle or even people with a few furry friends. This standard mattress size is perfect for a master or guest bedroom. Queen mattresses are typically similarly priced to full mattresses, so it’s a great investment if you have the extra space.
Best size for
Couples or adults that want some extra room

King

76-inches by 80-inches. For maximized space and comfort fit for a king, these mattresses are great for couples wanting a little extra space. Or parents with a few nightmare-ridden children that crawl into their bed. The drawback? A king mattress can make small spaces feel cramped.
Best size for
Couples who like space or have pets or children that sleep with them

California King

72-inches by 84-inches. When comparing a king vs. California king, a California king-size mattress is best for taller couples, looking for a coastline of space. Although, stray away from any cross-country moves, as moving a mattress of this size can be difficult. A California king mattress is typically the more expensive option, however, our Cal King and regular King are the same price.
Best size for
Couples that want plenty of space for themselves, children or animals
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03 Evaluate Mattress Thickness

Contrary to mattress myth, the thickness of a mattress does not define its level of comfort—but it does influence how mattress mavens design it. Mattress thickness plays a large role in the cost, too.

Let’s sink in.

Because thicker mattresses require more material, they’re automatically more expensive than thinner alternatives. Most often, mattresses comprise at least two layers. Mattresses of higher quality, however, often have a more intentional design and may have four layers or more.

So how does one gauge the best thickness for their sleeping needs? Well, we’ve got a chart to help you navigate how to pick a mattress.

Mattress Thickness Chart

As you sleep, your body sinks into the material of the mattress. A thick mattress—let’s say 10 inches—gives manufacturers more room to design a supportive cushion.

 

Deep/Thick Mattresses 12 inches and above

These mattresses are extra deep and often considered a luxurious choice. Our most luxurious mattresses like the Wave Hybrid and Nova Hybrid fall within the deep profile. They are both designed with unique comfort layers composed of different materials that increase the durability, support, and comfortability of the mattress.

Medium or Standard Profile Mattresses 8 to 11 inches

These mattresses are lush and supportive and generally suited for all sleeping types.

Low Profile Mattresses Less than 6 inches

Realistically, mattress buyers should not buy a mattress that’s less than 6-inches thick—they have very few design capabilities to provide adequate support and pressure relief. Side-sleepers will usually sink about 5 inches into the mattress, which means a 6-inch mattress would bottom out. Low profile mattresses may work for younger children who may not sink into the mattress much or for short term use in guest rooms. However, low profile mattresses are not ideal for long-term comfort.
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04 Consider Body Support

Whether you’re small or tall, your mattress should support your whole body. To that end, let’s talk about spine alignment and comfort zones. These are key factors to consider when looking for a mattress that provides support.

Align the Spine

Spinal alignment is probably the most important aspect when it comes to body support in a mattress. Bad sleeping posture may lead to misalignment, which can cause soreness in the neck, back, and shoulders.

Spinal alignment is probably the most important aspect when it comes to body support in a mattress.

When you align your body properly during sleeping hours, you give your muscular-skeletal system a better chance to rest—whether it’s from hours hunched over a computer screen or spending seasons in the garden.

To avoid sleep-time soreness, body support is a crucial element when choosing a mattress.

Get in the Zone

A lot goes into making a comfortable mattress fit for all sleeping styles and body types. The good news is that Casper mattress experts succeeded in creating zoned mattresses that ergonomically aligns spines and supports various sleeping positions.

When perusing the options, look for a mattress that has proper zoning requirements for body support.

  1. Shoulders/Upper Back There should be a soft zone for the shoulders to sink into the mattress.
  2. Waist/Lower Back This area should be more firm to provide more support for the back and allow it to relax.
  3. Hips The hip zone should have medium-firmness that cradles the hips.
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05 Select Your Desired Mattress Firmness

When determining how to pick the right mattress, you must consider your preferred firmness level.

There is a common misconception that the firmness of a mattress affects its support, but really, firmness is subjective and does not equate to support. This is because firmness is determined by how far a sleeper sinks into their mattress, while support is measured by how well the mattress maintains a sleeper’s alignment.

FIRMNESS is measured by how much the sleeper sinks into the mattress

SUPPORT is measured by how the mattress is maintaining the sleeper’s spinal alignment.

When deciding between a firm or soft mattress, just make sure to choose one that is designed with zoning requirements for adequate support.

On the same mattress, a heavier sleeper will inevitably sink deeper than a lighter sleeper. To which, the perception of firmness will be determined by the individual.

So how does one determine the best mattress firmness for them? Personal preference! As long as a mattress is zoned properly and supports your body correctly, you are free to choose a softer or firmer mattress.

Zoning in Firm vs. Soft Mattresses

When deciding between a firm or soft mattress, proper zoning looks different for each. As long as they follow these zoning requirements, choosing a firm or soft mattress will solely depend on your preference:

Ultimately, a mattress’s firmness comes down to how it’s made. A soft foam mattress can have wonderful body support that’ll have you waking wide-eyed and pain-free. Or it may suck you into a cushioned abyss. It’s all in the eye of the sleeper.

If you’re going old-school and mattress shopping in-store, test out a few of the cushioned beddings. A good rule of thumb is if you struggle to escape from the mattress’s quicksand-like padding, it’s best to move along to firmer mattresses.

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06 Assess Your Sleeping Position

We’ve all been there—tossing and turning without a moment’s shut-eye. But did you know that we still toss and turn even during deep sleep? In fact, people change positions at least 20 times per night.

Most sleepers often start off on their sides and transition to their backs throughout the night—or vice versa. As such, it’s important to find a mattress that can provide adequate support for different sleeping patterns and positions.

Look for a mattress that accommodates different sleeping patterns and positions.

Back sleepers

Back-sleepers, rejoice! Lying flat on your back is the best way to maintain the natural curvature of your spine and evenly distribute your weight across your body as you sleep. There is also more flexibility in your spine and reduced risk for injury. Although, it helps to find a mattress that gives you a little extra support under your lower back to relieve lower back pain.

Side sleepers

This is arguably the most common sleeping position. Because your spine has less flexibility bending sideways, inappropriate support for your body could easily lead to back discomfort. Side sleepers should look for a mattress that provides appropriate support at different body segments to straighten your spine while you sleep.

Stomach sleepers

Stomach sleepers are prone to spinal misalignment and early-morning soreness. When facing down on a soft mattress with poor support, your body can get stuck in an uncomfortable backbend which may cause muscle fatigue. If possible, find a firmer mattress to keep your spine and head aligned better as a stomach sleeper. This will better work with your body’s natural flexibility and help to avoid morning aches.

Combination sleepers

Since combination sleepers toss and turn throughout the night, they need balance in a mattress, which can come in the form of mattress zoning.


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07 Review Different Mattress Types

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to how to choose a mattress type. Really, it greatly depends on your personal comfort preferences.

Think of it like dating:

Are you in the market for something you can rely on—a firm and sturdy foundation?

Or are you more enamored with something plush and pliant—something that really supports your soft spots?

No matter your preference, there’s a mattress out there for you. But first, you must review the different mattress types:

Innerspring

The most traditional of the mattress types, innerspring mattresses are made up of coils and springs that are hidden under layers of fabric, latex, or foam. However, the majority of the mattress is designed with coils or springs.

Foam

Foam mattresses are typically made with a combination of different foam types. They are different types of foam mattresses based on whatever foam type is most dominant in its layers. Some foams are bouncier than others while others, like memory foam can absorb large amounts of pressure and motion transfer.

Hybrid

What is a hybrid mattress, you ask? A hybrid mattress combines both springs and foam. They’re supportive and plush.

Latex

Latex is a rubber-like material that provides a firm but comfortable sleeping experience, similar to memory foam. However, while similar, there are distinct differences when comparing latex vs. memory foam

With a roster like that, you’re sure to find yourself drifting through countless sheep-filled dreamscapes.

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08 Solutions for Sleeping Hot

If you sleep hot at night, be sure to choose a mattress that’s designed with cooling technology.

Temperature plays a big role in your night’s sleep and if you naturally sleep hot, your choice of mattress can help with that. If you tend to wake up drenched in a sweaty stream, a cooling mattress can make all the difference.

Casper mattresses generally sleep cooler than most foam mattresses, but for an ice-cold upgrade, you can opt for our cooling Snow Technology. Our QuickCool™ Covers are infused with phase change materials that are cool to the touch helping you feel refreshed when you get into bed.The HeatDelete™ bands reduce the excess heat that naturally builds within foam and latex mattresses, providing you with a cooler overnight experience.
But a mattress is just one part of the dream team. In addition to our chilly Snow Mattresses, we also offer an entire Casper Cooling Collection that’ll give you shivers—the good kind, of course—complete with:

Mattress protectors

This cooling mattress protector is made with light-as-a-feather material that keeps your mattress clean while keeping you cool.

Lightweight sheets

These cooling sheets are shaped with a grid weave for maximum breathability.

Duvets

There is a variety of lightweight, cooling duvets that engulf you in comfort without all the over-heating.
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09 For the Best Night’s Sleep, Choose Casper Mattress

You don’t need a pile of mattresses to achieve comfort. For those dreaming of plush, cloud-like mattresses that offer maximum comfort, choose Casper.

Our collection of dreamy mattresses come in all shapes and sizes. When it comes to cozy Casper mattresses, just choose your pick of the bunch:

Wave Hybrid

Advance Support
Our most supportive mattress, designed to help alleviate aches and pains.
Best for: Those with back pains or aches and want maximum support
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Nova Hybrid

Most Plush
Our most plush mattress, providing proper support where you need it most.
Best for: Those that prefer a luxuriously soft and cozy night’s sleep
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Casper Original

Most Popular
Our biggest crowd-pleaser, offering the perfect balance of support and cooling features.
Best for: Those that want a breathable, comfortable mattress that won’t let them down
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Casper Element

Comfort Under $400
Our most affordable mattress, offering maximum comfort and coziness.
Best for: Those that are on a budget but still want comfort
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Regardless of your choice of mattress, Casper is sure to please.


Sources

SWNS. Study: Americans Spend Nearly Half Their Lives Lying in Bed
https://swns-research.medium.com/study-americans-spend-nearly-half-their-lives-lying-in-bed-557f57bfeb43

Good Housekeeping. Your Ultimate Guide to Mattress Sizes and Bed Dimensions.
https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home-products/a34058112/bed-mattress-size-chart/

Coastal Orthopedics. How Sleep Position Affects Your Spine.
https://www.coastalorthoteam.com/blog/how-sleep-position-affects-your-spine

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About Vincent Wang

Vincent Wang is a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE) with over 10 years of experience in Human Factors Engineering, Product Design, Biomechanics, Anthropometry, and Strategic Planning. With a Master of Science in Ergonomics from Cornell University, he seeks to combine his ability to understand user needs and behaviors with his knowledge of Human Factors and Ergonomics techniques to drive product innovation and improvements. Vincent established the Human Factors practice at Casper by developing and driving the human factors research program to support every stage of mattress, soft goods, and connected product design and development. He is a champion of implementing ergonomic considerations in products with a goal of improving user comfort and sleep quality.