Find out what crucial decisions you need to make before you start mattress shopping
You wake up one morning and realize your mattress’s best days are now behind it. Though it’s been good to you – and you’ve spent many wonderful nights together – it just doesn’t have the same bounce and energy it once had. Worse, you wake up in the morning feeling an ache here, a pain there. Those are important signs it might be time to break up with your mattress and find another.
If you’re like many Americans, it’s tough to let go. For the record, the Better Sleep Council says you should evaluate your mattress for replacement 5 to 7 years after purchase. That doesn’t always mean it’s time to buy a new one immediately but being mindful of the condition and performance of your mattress will help ensure you continue to get a good night’s sleep – every night.
Before you offer up a list of reasons why you don’t want to spend money on a new mattress, let’s talk more about sleep. As a society, we’re super-plugged into the knowledge and understanding of the importance a supportive mattress plays in the role of healthy sleep. One study reported that 91% of respondents recognized the relationship between a good mattress and our physical and mental well-being.
And yet we resist replacing it.
Where to you begin your mattress shopping journey? How do you find one that’s perfect for you?
We can help answer these questions for you.
Mattress decisions to make before you start shopping
The buck stops and starts here – your budget. Start by setting a one that takes into account you’ll be spending a
large part of your day lying on your new mattress – comfort counts. Cheap mattresses are inexpensive for a reason.They take shortcuts on quality, opting for low-cost materials that just don’t have the same longevity as a well-made one.
“What can you afford?” asks Chris Brantner, certified sleep science coach and founder, SleepZoo. “Set a realistic range. You can also keep in mind that many companies offer financing. That may help if you find your range to be a bit too low.”
Think about it another way. Let’s say you spend $1,000 on a bed that lasts you 10 years. That works out to 27 cents per day. That’s money well spent for your health and wellbeing, right?
Also think about size. How big of a mattress can your bedroom accommodate? Who are you sharing your bed with? A bigger mattress may be the way to go if you sleep with a partner who flops around a lot or if you have young kids and/or pets who need their snuggle time with moms and dads.
One size (mattress) doesn’t fit all so ponder carefully.
Remember that time you slept like a baby at a hotel or a friend’s place? Ask them what’s beneath the sheets to help point you in the right direction in terms of type and mattress construction. Also read online mattress reviews to find out what other shoppers have loved and loathed for cues on some brands you want to check out.
Understanding why different bodies need different mattresses
Another key question to ask – what is your dominant sleep position? “For example, back sleepers tend to need more firmness, whereas side sleepers need softer mattresses,” notes Brantner. Other considerations include whether you have special conditions you need to consider in terms of sleep. Back problems will dictate having a mattress with good support and firmness to help alleviate.
Another key issue is whether you sleep with a partner or not. If so, there’s a lot more to consider. Do you have similar sleep positions? Do you both like the same level of firmness? “Another common question I get is ‘What is the best mattress for sex?” he says. For the answer to that question, consider issues like bounce, sound, cooling properties and sinkage.
Body size matters, too. How much support your new mattress will provide is related to your weight, which determines how much support you need based on total sinkage and pressure points. Heavier sleepers will sink deeper into the mattress and need more compression support with at least a four-inch layer of foam. Lighter sleepers may prefer a more plush feel since they won’t sink as deeply into the mattress.
And lastly, look closely at what’s inside your mattress. Mattresses today are built with high-tech components and designed to provide the superior support and comfort your body needs to relax and rest. Relieving pressure points, controlling temperature fluctuations and minimizing partner disturbance are just a few of things your mattress should be working hard at while you sleep.
Easy breezy mattress shopping tips
“Walking into a mattress store can be daunting for many reasons,” explains Brantner. “There may be pushy salespeople and an overwhelming amount of inventory. You might feel pressured to try a mattress for a few moments and make a decision.”
You’ll have a better buying experience when you set your own pace and guidelines. The Better Sleep Council uses the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to outline the best way to test a mattress:
Select a mattress
Lie down in your typical sleep position
Evaluated the level of comfort and support
Educate yourself about each selection
Partners should test beds together
Still unsure how to shop for a mattress? Take a peek on what’s on the inside. Some retailers will show you a cutaway of the different types of mattress and foundations, which will help you understand what you’re buying and differences between each mattress.
Don’t hesitate to ask your salesperson questions. A good one will help steer you to the right mattress based on your budget and individual needs. Find out whether the retailer offers a buy-and-try option (also known as a comfort guarantee). You can take a mattress home and sleep on it, literally and figuratively, for a set period, which may range from 30 to 120 days. Stretching out on a mattress for just 5 minutes in a store may not provide you with enough information to make a confident decision.
Ready to begin your mattress shopping journey? These links will help point you in the right direction: