More Tips on Choosing a Mattress
You Should Spend Some Time
Since you spend one-third of your life in bed, commit some time to shopping for your new mattress. A little research about the features and benefits available can pay off a many times in the quality of your sleep for the years to come. If you are like most people, you won’t replace your mattress for 7 to 10 years. Therefore you will have to live with your decision – so make a good one! Remember, a good mattress can make a noticeable difference in your health, attitude, and well being. Read about the different types of mattress here: innerspring , foam , air, futons and water beds.
Get Physical and Have Fun!
Wear comfortable clothing when going to test mattresses. You’ll be getting in and out of a handful of beds. The more comfortable you are when doing so, the better. Shoes that are easy to take off and put on, clothes that are close to what you would sleep in, etc. Don't be embarrassed! This is serious stuff! Bring a pillow and use it!
Imagine yourself asleep! Relax and let your body tell you what's comfortable for you today. Your comfort preferences may have changed since your last mattress purchase, so don’t think that just because you have a firm mattress now, that you still need a firm mattress. Lie on the mattresses you are considering for at least ten minutes, trying different positions — especially the ones you sleep in. It will take a few minutes to really find out if a mattress supports you the way it should. Some people have suggested this rule of thumb: when lying on your back — slide your hand under the small of your back. If it is very easy to do and your shoulders and hips are uncomfortable, the mattress is probably too hard. If there is no space between your back and the bed, it is probably too soft. Roll over — if it is very hard to roll over the bed is probably too soft.
Remember to test the mattress on the foundation that it is designed to be on. If you are sharing the bed with someone, both of you should try it at the same time. Roll around. Get in and out. See how much movement you feel because that is what you will feel when your partner is tossing and
Where to Shop
Shop at stores that cater specifically to mattress sales. Not only are they more likely to have excellent warranty and exchange policies, but also they will have a vast selection and ensure that you find the best mattress for your needs.
Retailer Services to Look For
Some retailers will offer additional services that can save you time,
money, and frustration, including delivery and set-up of your new
mattress, removal of your old one, special financing, etc.
What to Look for in a Mattress?
Does the mattress conform to your spine's natural curve, keep your spine aligned when you are in bed and distribute pressure evenly across your body? Is there edge support around the perimeter of the mattress? This will usually be a heavy gauge border wire that will provide increased comfort and support from edge-to-edge. If the answer to these questions is 'yes' then your mattress will help circulation, decrease disturbance from body movement and enhance the quality of your sleep.
Pocket/independent coil innerspring mattresses and viscoelastic memory foam mattresses generally do a better job of providing adequate support than other mattress
types. Remember, if you are comparing similar size mattresses, more coils of lower gauge (thinner) wire may give better support and last longer than fewer coils with a higher gauge (thicker) wire.
Firmness factor, Softness factor, Both or Neither?
Unless you've come from another planet, you are limited to three main sleeping positions: on your back, on your stomach, or on your side, though is common for people to use more than one position during the night. Depending on what position you are sleeping in, different parts of your body will need to be supported.
Some say that a "firm" or hard mattress will provide better support. But what really matters is that a mattress distributes pressure evenly across your body thus providing better support. Some experts recommend firm mattresses because back and stomach sleepers will not sag into the surface and will prevent spinal ending that can result in back pain.
Back sleepers usually benefit from mattresses that offer support to fill in the gaps in the contours of the back, but at the same time provide enough comfort as not to feel like a board. Keep in mind that it is easy to add some softness to a firm mattress with padding. Overstock.com often has great deals on foam mattress toppers. Keep in mind that firm mattresses are designed to feel hard, so in some cases adding a pad will not make it feel like a soft mattress or soft enough.
Side sleepers experience a great deal of pressure from putting the most weight on smaller areas of the body, reducing circulation and causing increased tossing and turning. A softer mattress can help a side sleeper by minimizing pressure in these areas. A recent study of adults with chronic back pain showed that sleeping on a medium firmmattress will create less back pain than on a firm mattress.
For those of us who can't decide, certain manufacturers produce air mattresses with seperate controls to make the mattress firmer or softer on each side to allow for the different comfort preferences of you and your partner.
Always Replace the Foundation
You may be considering only replacing a mattress and keeping your old foundation to save money. Don’t! An old foundation will negatively impact the feel and durability of the new mattress and may void your warranty.
Always make sure your new sleep set comes with a warranty that protects you against manufacturer defects. For instance, Serta products carry a 10-year, non-prorated warranty. Also, Serta products don’t need to be flipped in order for the manufacturers' warranty to stay in effect. Read the fine print. Data shows that fewer than 2% of sleep sets are actually returned for structural problems (such as a broken coil or ripped cover.) Mattress manufacturers offer great warranties to assure you that you are purchasing a quality product. There are two types of warranties offered: pro-rated and non pro-rated. With a pro-rated warranty, you will pay a percentage of the cost to repair or replace a defective mattress during the warranty period based on how long you have had the mattress. With a non pro-rated warranty, defective products will be repaired or replaced during the warranty period at no charge to you.
Most manufacturers offer 10-year, non pro-rated warranties on their premium products to protect you against any defects in materials or workmanship. You should read a copy of the warranty for each mattrress to be completely familiar with the details. If you are seriously considering a mattress, lie down on it in the store and read the warranty. You'll get two birds with one stone – does the mattress feel right and does the warranty cover you? However, mattress warranties are not a guarantee of life expectancy which will be affected by the quality and quantity of the materials used to manufacture the mattress,
the weight of the people sleeping on it, and the care you take with the set.
Size (and Space)
Considering that most people sleep better when a partner isn’t crowding them, you should buy the largest size mattress that fits your bedroom and your budget. See our mattress size page for more information. Make sure you have room to stretch out. Whether the mattress is a twin, a full, a queen or a king, you'll know if it's spacious enough if you don't feel like you are being crowded.
Buying a Mattress can be Hard!
Buying a mattress can be just as complicated as buying a car. One ex-mattress salesman told us that you cannot comparison shop for mattresses using the name of a mattress. As with cars, a mattress at one store will not be named the same at another store. Unfortunately the auto, mattress and many other industries do this intentionally. So, the best way to comparison shop a mattress is using coil count and just simply testing the mattress. So if you are going from store to store, compare coil counts and firmness and then compare the feeling. Coil count will tell you the quality of a mattress. He told us that the American Bedding Commission has set a minimum standard for coil count. If you see a very cheap special on a mattress, there is a strong possibility that the mattress does not meet ABC standards.
Beware of Bargains!
Bargain sleep sets are no bargain if they result in a poor night's sleep. Don't just shop for the lowest price. You’ll be sorry. A few more hundred, if you can swing it, will make a huge difference. Remember, you spend one-third of your life on a mattress.