Forget about flowers, chocolates, or a handmade coupon for a full-body massage. The most romantic gift you can give your special someone—that you can give to each other, really—is a new mattress. A 2013 University of California Berkeley study shows a direct correlation between marital conflict and a poor night’s sleep. So by improving the quality of your rest, a new mattress can actually strengthen your relationship. Keep reading to learn how to choose the best mattress for couples.
What’s the best mattress for couples?
The key to choosing the best mattress for couples is finding one that’s comfortable for both of you. “Finding the right mattress is very personal,” says Michael Magnuson, founder of the mattress-review and price-comparison site goodbed.com. “Like many decisions in a relationship, choosing a mattress to share means finding something that meets both people’s needs.”
Here’s where to start when searching for the best mattress for couples.
Consider your sleep styles. The key to success lies in matching the mattress to your sleep styles and preferences, starting with firmness. Back sleepers and heavyset people, for example, need the support of a firmer mattress, while side sleepers and lighter people will be more comfortable on a softer surface. The best mattress for couple who are belly sleepers is one that’s medium firm. Couples with one back sleeper and one side sleeper should also choose a medium firm mattress, unless the discrepancy is extreme. “A giant back sleeper sharing a bed with a tiny side sleeper could opt for a dual comfort bed, which offers different firmness on each side; a split king mattress; or two XL twins aligned side by side,” says Magnuson.
Avoid getting stuck in a rut. For most couples, sharing a bed means picking a side. Over time, laying in the same spots night after night can leave permanent body impressions in even an expensive mattress. In fact, that’s the number-one cause of consumer complaints about mattresses, says Keith Cushner, of the sleep-health and mattress-review site tuck.com. The culprit, often as not, is too-soft foam in the top, or “comfort,” layer. The softer the foam, the worse the body impressions will be.
Conventional pillow-tops, which have a layer of soft padding stitched onto the mattress surface, are notorious offenders. But all innerspring mattresses—except the cheapest, hardest ones you can buy—have foam comfort layers. To prevent compression, that layer should be made from high-quality, dense foam. When choosing the best mattress for couples, look for a density of four pounds per cubic foot or more, Cushner advises. Ironically, all-foam mattresses are generally not subject to visible body impressions, though they can soften where you lie nightly, an invisible version of the same problem.
Isolate movement. Did you ever notice that you get a better night’s sleep when your partner is away and you’re in bed alone? Don’t feel guilty. Studies show sleeping solo produces better rest. After all, if you’re sleeping fitfully or getting up often, chances are your bedmate is too. Plus, even the average healthy sleeper tosses and turns 40 to 60 times a night, according to Consumer Reports.
The good news is you don’t need separate beds like a 1950s television couple. You just need a mattress that performs well on motion isolation. That means one person’s movement isn’t transmitted to the other. In this category, the best mattress for couples is of the foam variety, Magnuson says, but some innerspring mattresses with pocketed coils—which move independently rather than being wired together—also do a good job isolating motion.
Give your partner room. Cutting down on motion transfer is important, but you’ll also sleep better if you’re not constantly getting kicked and elbowed by your partner (or a child or pet that joins you in the night). And that means that the best mattress for couples is often the largest bed you can fit. As New York Times advice columnist John Hodgman puts it, “All married couples who can afford it should have two villas, separated by a reflecting pool. Otherwise: a king-size bed.”
If your bedroom, bed frame, or budget limits you to a queen, make sure to pick one with sufficient edge support. Otherwise, says Magnuson, you can’t scoot close to the edge without risking a fall to the floor. To find the best mattress for couples, look for an innerspring mattress with heavy-duty coils along the perimeter, or foam of sufficiently high density that the edges don’t collapse under pressure.
Take your sex life into account. Can a mattress heighten your sexual pleasure? According to Women’s Health writer Whitney Harris, who with the help of her husband put six different sleep surfaces to the test, “the rectangle you’re bouncing up and down on can make all the difference when it comes to achieving that ‘Yes, yes!’ rhythm.”
An innerspring or hybrid mattress (a crossover product that consists of an innerspring mattress with a very thick memory-foam comfort layer) offers bounce and responsiveness for vigorous lovemaking, says Magnuson. However, an all-foam mattress provides traction and ease to climax, making it the best mattress for couples if your sexual style is more about slow-and-steady rhythm. (Check out Sleep Like the Dead’s ratings of mattress types across 10 sex-related categories.)
Quiet the snorer. If your partner sounds like a foghorn on a misty night in Rockport, consider an adjustable base that automatically elevates the head (or foot). But don’t fear! The best mattresses for snoring couples aren’t like your grandma’s hospital beds anymore, says Magnuson. “Adjustables are growing in popularity among young people, because they make reading, watching tv, or typing on a laptop in bed really comfortable.” Most mattresses are compatible with adjustable bases, but if you want the ability to move each side independently, you’ll need two XL-twins, which are the same size as a king when set side by side. A big reason why these are considered one of the best mattress for couples? Some adjustable bases have a “snore button” that will raise the head 5 to 10 degrees to open airways, then return to horizontal after about 15 minutes. Says Magnuson: “They call it the ‘marriage saver’ for a reason.”
Looking to improve more than just your mattress? Consider sleeping nude. Skin to skin contact can be very beneficial for couples and your overall health.