The Best Mattress You Can Buy, According To Physicians

Most of our readers visit this site because it’s owned and managed by a bedding industry expert, Marc Anderson, who has created some of the most popular mattresses on the web, from natural latex mattresses to memory foam and gel foam beds. 

His mattresses, like the Habitat Furnishings Titan Mattress designed for heavier people or those with back pain, or his line of all natural latex mattresses and even three unique sleep number style beds that incorporate memory foam, latex, and other specialized ingredients, are replicated again and again throughout the industry.

Marc Anderson’s referrals and reviews are the most sought after on the web, because he is the only bedding industry engineer and mattress designer with decades of experience engineering mattresses, and not a digital marketer.

Most mattress review sites are not operated by mattress experts but by lay people with little or no knowledge of the bedding industry. Marc has always relied upon physicians and their knowledge base based on their patients experiences with many medical conditions from back pain, trauma, allergies, surgical recoveries, because the best mattress review you can get is from someone who finds relief and comfort on a particular kind of mattress.

Though doctors aren’t mattress experts, they receive highly valuable feedback from patients who may have tried a number of readily available bedding options for the average consumer.

Though doctors aren’t mattress experts, they receive highly valuable feedback from patients who may have tried a number of readily available bedding options for the average consumer.

You can also check out our Best Mattresses For The Money page, and you’ll find several of the mattresses we recommend, that doctors reasonable prices and made with quality components that our own team is highly familiar with.

So, what do the doctors say? Generally, orthopedic surgeons and even family practice docs and nurse practitioners will have experience with particular mattress types, and will often favor one design over another based on successful patient feedback. 

Physicians will offer opinions that point out the obvious, that we sleep for a third of our lives, but are quick to point out that there are no algorithms or formulas for finding the perfect mattress, and that it is highly individualized, and that each patient, many of whom might have the same diagnosis and level of discomfort, will often prefer a vastly different bed from their neighbor.

One physician, who is also a professor of clinical orthopedics at Yale School Of Medicine brought a good point in his comments, that being that there is no universal firmness or comfort rating. We’ve all dug into mattress review sites that provide a numerical rating for firmness, level of support, or cushiness, only to find that you can quickly click on the next review site and find totally different numerical ratings.

These numerical ratings, and even the reviews themselves are all highly subjective. Even in the video reviews done by the digital marketer reviewers, who have not technical background or experience, often use highly subjective terminology like “squishy”, “spongy”, or “really nice” to help evaluate a particular model. 

These vague and foggy descriptions are the opinion of “one lone reviewer”, says Marc Anderson, our senior editor. “A physician can’t relate to this kind of review or description because it has no basis in fact or frame of reference”, adding that practitioners rely heavily on the experiences and outcomes of their patients. “It’s really the best data you can get when it comes to sorting out the endless options, but a physician, even a sleep doctor, probably has a handful of favorites, not just one”, Anderson says.

So-called mattress review sites often provide little or no scaled and academic information that helps to define comfort and support-and this doesn’t work for physicians…

So-called mattress review sites often provide little or no scaled and academic information that helps to define comfort and support-and this doesn’t work for physicians…

So, based on patients experiences and good solid anecdotal references, many doctors generally prefer to recommend a kind of mattress rather than one particular model. A handful of options offers a range of comfort and support ratings that are more meaningful to a patient in search of a mattress that provides therapeutic value.

Our Yale Medical School professor says that taken as a whole, you should err on the side of supportive and firm, rather than too soft, to provide uplifting back support and buoyancy. 

Physicians in general, along with chiropractors and even clinical psychologists who have complex understanding of sleep and the effects of gravity on the body during sleep, all seem to have similar opinions about mattress surfaces that our expert does.

One important factor is sleep positions, considering that the average person changes position 35-40 times during a typical night’s sleep cycle.

If you tend to find yourself on your side, then spongier and squishier is slightly better since it easily adapts to your body shape and provides a nest-like and subtle bowl shaped environment as you move around.

If you’re a back sleeper, or recovering from back, shoulder, even knee surgery, a firmer and more uplifting mattress, like memory foam or latex, is a good idea. Side sleepers can also use memory foam, perhaps a hybrid mixed with gel foam and pocketed coils which have a lot of yielding qualities to support the pockets and nooks and crannies between hip and rib cage, and are more supportive for people that are curvy or heavier.

Also, natural latex seems to be a popular choice with physicians because there are not petrochemical products in the mattress, since most “bed in a box” mattresses are made using polyurethane foam and even formaldehyde based adhesives. 

If you have allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions, health care pros prefer the all natural and clean, toxic free nature of an all natural latex mattress. Just make sure you are buying pure latex, and not synthetic latex, also called SBR (styrene butadiene rubber).

Doctors urge you to take your time when shopping, however. Marc Anderson says, “ Sleep specialty doctors especially, because they do sleep testing and get a lot of feedback from patients about their own mattresses in their lab, advise to choose wisely.

Wear loose fitting clothes when test driving beds at retail stores, go later in the day, and if you are exclusively shopping online and cannot actually test drive the mattress, test it thoroughly when you unroll it upon arrival.

When test driving either in a retail setting or on a new bed that you just ordered from an online retailer, spend at least 10 minutes in several positions you prefer to sleep in. For online purchases, which is often easier and can be less expensive, make sure you’ve got a decent trial period, like 90 nights, and with a no hassle return policy if your body doesn’t like it.

Bottom line, for the most part, one brand of bed isn't necessarily any better than another, according to Michael Breus, PhD, a WebMD sleep expert and author of multiple sleep books.  Generally, though, he concurs with our other practitioners: find a firmer bed if you can tolerate it.

our list of mattress options that physicians and sleep doctors prefer

For enhanced information about mattress options for people suffering from back pain, visit out Best Beds For Back Pain page. Our Best Beds For Allergies page also offers a selection of mattresses that may provide relief for sufferers.