For many people, the first mattress they’ll ever buy is one for their college dormitories. Buying your first mattress can be intimidating, especially if you’re not sure what kind of mattress best suits you.
To make your shopping experience easier, we have some tips on what to look for and how to get the most out of your new mattress.
Look at Twin XL Mattresses
Most college dormitories have extra-long bed frames to accommodate tall sleepers, although some do have standard twin frames. If you’re unsure what size mattress you need, check with the school.
Find the Right Firmness
There are three different sleeping positions —on your side, back, or stomach. Your preferred position influences what mattress firmness is best for you. Back and stomach sleepers need a medium-firm to firm mattress, while side sleepers rest best on a soft to medium mattress.
Your weight can also affect what your correct firmness is. If you’re a heavyweight, you need a firmer mattress to prevent your body from sinking in too deeply. However, if you’re a lightweight sleeper, you should look for a softer mattress.
Many college dormitories will have you sharing a room with someone else. As a considerate roommate, you might want to consider an all-foam bed such as memory foam or latex. A mattress with coils may creak and squeak as you move in the night.
Be Willing to Invest a Little
As a college student with other expenses to keep in mind, a mattress that costs thousands of dollars is probably a little out of your budget range. However, that doesn’t mean you should settle for a cheap mattress under $100, as an inexpensive bed can mean an uncomfortable night of sleep and wear out all too quickly.
Look for a mattress around $500 to $700. Ideally, it should come with a trial period and an industry-standard 10-year warranty.
Don’t Worry About a Box Spring
Chances are your bed base will be a bunk bed or a raised bed frame, which aren’t compatible with box springs.
Forgetting a box spring is doubly true if you choose to buy a foam mattress. The spaces in a box spring aren’t close enough to prevent foam from dipping down, which causes the mattress to lose its shape prematurely.
Buy a Protector
A mattress protector is a matter of good hygiene, particularly in a communal environment like a college dormitory. You have no idea how clean the previous occupant kept the room, after all.
A tightly woven protector can keep out bed bugs, dust mites, and allergens, while waterproof covers can protect your mattress from spills.
Don’t Forget Bedding
Don’t forget to outfit your new mattress with bedding! Many stores stock full bedding sets in Twin XL sizes for college students. Look for breathable materials that are easy to wash, and try to launder your bedding once a week.
If you’re buying a new pillow as well, consider a machine washable one to better extend its use.
Take Care of Your Mattress
Once you have your mattress, you’ll want to make the most of it by maintaining it. Vacuum it often to prevent crumbs and dead skin cells from infiltrating your mattress and changing its feel—we recommend a quick vacuum whenever you change your bedding. And rotate your bed every three months to even out wear and tear.
Moving out to college is one of the more exciting and overwhelming times in a young adult’s life. Getting a good night’s sleep can make the transition easier, and you can rest well on the mattress that’s right for you.