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How to Choose the Perfect Bedding

February 7th, 2012 Bed and Bath

Most people spend a third of their lives sleeping, which means that those who don't have an extremely comfortable bed are spending 33 percent of the day in a less than optimal position. Picking the perfect bedding depends on how you sleep and what materials you feel the most comfortable around. Mattresses, comforters and pillows are the three main areas to focus on when choosing what you need to sleep your best.

Selecting a mattress is a big decision - one you'll likely be stuck with for the next 10 or so years. There are three types to choose from: innerspring, air-filled and foam. Innerspring mattresses are the most common and are made with steel coils underneath layers of padding. A good way to know if an innerspring mattress will support your body is to figure out how many coils it has. King-sized mattresses should have at least 580 coils, and a queen-sized option should have a minimum of 480. Air-filled beds let you pick how hard or soft you want your bed to be, which can be amazing. Just make sure to pick one with a dense top layer. Foam mattresses can come in latex, polyurethane and viscoelastic. Since they retain heat, make sure you look for open-cell construction if you get hot frequently at night, which will ensure maximum airflow.

When choosing a bed cover, you have cotton, wool, fleece or down options. Cotton is very breathable, which could come in handy if you get hot at night. Wool and fleece are both warm and plush. Down can be the most expensive one, but also the most comfortable. If you choose down, make sure you know the "fill power," which is pretty much a roundabout way of saying "fluffiness." This number should be higher than 550 in order to feel as though you're sleeping on air.

The kind of pillow you need depends on how you sleep. Back or side sleepers should choose a dense foam pillow with a contour, which will provide support for your neck. Stomach sleepers should choose a down pillow, which can compress easily, since they need less support. Once you choose all three bed elements, you'll be ready to get some of the best shut-eye you've ever had.