The truth is, you should concentrate first on finding the best comfort-promoting mattress material. Many big-brand mattresses are made with synthetic blends. And while this keeps costs lower than for beds made with all-natural materials, most synthetics don't allow air to circulate as well. “The coziest mattresses are the ones that are upholstered with natural materials, like wool, cotton and latex, which provide great insulation while remaining very breathable,” Klein says. “The mattress that will keep you warm and cozy during the winter is the same mattress that will allow you to sleep cooler in the summer.”
Wool, for example, regulates body temperature while wicking away moisture. What’s important to an athlete is just as important to a sleeping body. According to Klein, “The average sleeper loses about a pint of water every night from sweating and breathing. Wool pulls the moisture away from your body to keep you comfortable. This leads to more warmth in the colder months and cooler sleeping in the warmer months.”
If your budget dictates going with a synthetic-blend mattress, there are still plenty of comfortable options. The support of a synthetic-blend mattress is determined by its innerspring coils, which vary by count and gauge. Coils are connected by foam supports and natural or synthetic fibers, depending on the price. The more natural fibers in the blend, the more air circulation in the mattress.
To make the most of your money, you may wish to consider getting a synthetic mattress, then adding a pillow top made with the best-quality natural materials your budget allows.
How to buy a mattress
While natural materials in mattresses are gaining popularity as people discover their comfort, there is concern and confusion among allergy sufferers about whether they too can enjoy these benefits. The good news is that these potential allergens never come in direct contact with a sleeping body — and for most people it's contact with skin that causes the allergic reaction.
In fact, when it comes to latex allergies, Klein says, "It’s not even the latex that some people are sensitive to, but the proteins that remain on the surface of latex as part of the manufacturing process. The better companies out there rinse the latex so that it is free of the allergy-causing proteins.”
For this reason, many folks who think that they are allergic to common bedroom items, including feather pillows, may be able to enjoy natural bedding materials after all. “What typically causes an allergic reaction in bed aren’t the natural bedding materials but the dust mites and dead skin cells that accumulate in an old pillow and mattress,” he says.
Now that your choices have expanded, you’ll need to figure out what luxurious sheets you’re going to wrap your chosen mattress in, which leads us to Myth No. 3.
This isn't so. Yet that’s not what the industry would like you to believe. Turns out that sheets with a 1,000 thread count can be stiffer and less breathable than sheets with a 400 thread count, which is an optimal number for comfort, warmth and breathability.
How to Choose the Perfect Bedsheets
Actually you can, and they'll inhibit your comfort. There is a formula to getting the pillow count right without overdoing it, Vale says. “If we’re talking about a king bed, I prefer using three Euro-sized pillows, two standard shams and a bolster or two,” she says.
Any more and you may not be able to find the opening for the sheets.
“Studies show that 98 percent of people who think they're allergic to down are not,” he says. “Rather they’re allergic to the dust, dander and lanolin oils that are present on the goose feathers.”
To avoid those allergens, seek out high-quality, hypoallergenic down pillows, as they are rinsed several times to remove those pesky allergens.
How to Choose the Perfect Pillow and Sleep Better
In fact, a comforter that’s as light as a feather is the warmest. Down is rated by fill power. The higher the fill power number, the warmer the comforter. “If you had a pile of down and you blew a fan across it, the lightest, wispiest feathers that blow off first have the highest fill power,” Klein says.
Down comforters offer the best warmth-to-weight ratio, making them “hands down the coziest type," Vale says. "Just make sure your comforter is channeled to keep those feathers in place.”
Whether it’s an evening of reading or romancing, you can be assured that the insight here will make it the most comfortable experience possible.
More: Smart Shopper: How to Buy a Mattress