Choosing the Right Mattress Based on Your Body Type
In the modern era of fancy materials, product names and advertising kerfuffle there are few more confusing decisions than the choice of a mattress.
We somehow got to a point where the dominant trend is what you can call “mattress in a box.” These come from companies that make one mattress and then simply use every adverting trick in the book to muddy the waters and convince you that their product is right for you regardless of your body type and sleeping preferences.
Cutting through the clutter of advertising
One mattress cannot possibly be right for all the “shapes, sizes and flavors” we come in.
Why? Because the one crucial aspect of a choosing a mattress that will be good for you is spine alignment.
Once you understand the concept of spine alignment, it’s common sense and doesn’t take much wisdom to understand that there will NEVER be a universal pick.
That’s what today’s article is about – the very foundation and the first step in the process of a choosing a mattress – narrowing down the choices based on your body type.
The most important issue we’ll address
By the end of this guide, you should be clear about the mattress type that’s right for you.
That’s not the problematic part because it’s fairly simple.
Where it gets tricky is choosing a mattress that will be right for a couple with different body types (which will be the case for most couples). Bear with us and we’ll address the issue and make precise recommendations for the tricky situation.
Body types & mattress choice
There are three basic body types: endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph.
Who’s an endomorph?
An endomorph is the body type that seems to be prevalent these days. These are the people that you’ll hear saying things like, “I gain weight just by looking at a cake.”
To be more precise, below are a few attributes of an endomorph:
- Blocky frame
- Wide hips (usually wider than the clavicles, especially in women)
- Strong, thick joints
Choosing a mattress if you’re an endomorph
The mattress type that will probably be right for you is a hybrid.
Why? Because you need the support of the steel springs to distribute the weight (a vast majority of overweight people are endomorphs) but you also need the softer finish layer so that your hips can sink in and allow your spine align.
The only question will be how much padding you need for that last layer (usually memory foam, latex or both).
The specifics of how the foam layers are distributed or how thick they are can only decided on per case basis – the best way to do this is to choose a mattress that feels right and then have a partner look at your spine as you’re laying on your side.
Who’s an ectomorph?
These are the people you’ll hear saying, “I can’t gain weight no matter how hard I try?”
As you are reading this you can probably think of one ectomorph off the top of your head. There’s always that one person that we all envy because they can eat anything they want & their metabolism is so fast they just burn it all without storing it into fat.
To be more specific, an ectomorph will have:
- Narrow clavicles and hips
- Long, thin muscles (what most people would describe as “string”)
- Longer limbs than other body types (measured in proportion to height)
- Smaller joints and a more “fragile” bone structure
But, as with all things in life, the grass is always greener on the other side and ectomorphs face their own set of problems and usually dream about putting on weight.
Below are a few tips for choosing a mattress type if you’re an ectomorph
It’s safe to say that the choice will be easiest for an ectomorph because there are very few ways you can go wrong. It’s the only body type that can simply go with what “feels right”.
Why? Because the shoulders and hips of an ectomorph are close to the body axis. This lowers the risk of choosing a mattress that will not align your spine right.
If you are a typical ectomorph, light and thin, you probably don’t need the sturdiness of an innerspring or a latex mattress – memory foam will do the trick.
Who’s a mesomorph?
The short answer would be, “The lucky ones.”
These are the people that nature gifted with a muscular body. They gain muscle pretty easily, they’re not thin and when they do put on fat it’s usually thin layers that can be shed off within a few weeks.
A few tips for choosing a mattress if you’re a lucky mesomorph
The right way to approach the task will be similar to the way endomorphs will go about it, but for different reasons.
A male ectomorph will have that triangular shape with a narrow waist and wide shoulders. The issue to address here are the latter. If you choose a mattress that’s too firm, you’ll create a pressure point at the shoulders and arch your spine.
A female ectomorph will have wider hips than an ectomorph and that should be the decision point – going with a mattress that’s just firm enough to accommodate the pressure points at the hips and align your spine.
In most cases, the right choice will be a hybrid mattress with the support of innersprings and a foam finish. The main difference will be that this body type will need a thinner layer of foam.
A latex mattress with a memory foam finish is another good option.
The tricky part – making the right choice for couple with different body types
If you’re sleeping alone, the tips provided above should be enough to point you in the right direction.
If you are lucky and you’re sleeping with a partner that’s the same body type as you, the choice is again pretty simple.
The tricky part is choosing a mattress if your partner is of a different body type. The more different the two of you are the higher the chances one of your will be uncomfortable on a conventional mattress.
The solution – an air bed
For the purposes of making a point, let’s say that Jack & Jane are our imaginary couple.
Jack is an endomorph and a bit on the heavier side, while Jane is slim and lighter.
The only option that truly meets the needs of Jack and Jane is an air bed.
A good air bed is the only mattress type out there that features two adjustable halves.
The core on an air bed are two air mattress chambers that can be inflated/deflated to adjust the separately adjust the firmness of the two halves of the bed.
Furthermore, the best air beds on the market will offer the convenience of warming up or cooling down parts of the mattress.
No other bed type will offer this kind of versatility.
The downside is that these air beds are at the high end of sleep technology and come with a price to match.
To be clear, we’re not talking about regular air mattresses (the simple inflatable type you’d use for guests or sleepovers), we’re talking about adjustable air beds like Sleep Number. You can read more about the different air mattress types and sizes on TheSleepStudies website here.
There’s not cheap but they’re worth every dime
This is especially true in Jack’s and Jane’s scenario we described above.
Jack will adjust the firmness of his half to offer him more support and the foam finish layers will do the rest to eliminate the pressure points.
Jane will not need the kind of support Jack does and she might set the firmness of the air bed to a softer setting.
You can’t really put a price on that kind of comfort, especially if you recognize yourself in Jack & Jane.