How to know when, why and how to buy a new mattress
Buying a new mattress can be as confusing as buying car insurance. Comparing features and price from brand to brand is challenging because there are so many variables. Inner spring or latex, organic or natural, euro-top, pillow-top or luxury-plush – the combinations are endless. And because buying a new bed isn’t a frequent purchase (thank goodness!), the learning curve will always be painful.
Being able to sort through the clutter of information in the mattress industry and hone in on what matters to you – a GREAT night’s sleep – will help you make an informed purchase. Before you visit a mattress retailer, arm yourself with a healthy dose of common sense and learn the difference between myth and truth.
Myth 1. Replace your mattress every 8 years
The Better Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress every 7-10 years, depending on comfort and support. The truth is that the life of a mattress varies wildly, which may depend on your body size and how you sleep as well as how you take care of it and how often you rotate it.
Think of your mattress as performance gear for sleep. Just like supportive, well-fitting running shoes can help prevent injuries, a supportive mattress can deliver healthier, more restorative sleep. You’ll know when it’s time to shop for a new mattress based on how you feel when you wake up.
Myth 2. A firm mattress is the best mattress for your back
To minimize pain and discomfort and help your body relax into healing, regenerative sleep, you need a mattress that conforms to your favorite sleeping positions while supporting all areas of your body. Conformability and support are equally important.
In general, mattresses fall into three categories.
- Soft mattresses conform to your shape but fail to deliver uniform support across your entire body.
- Medium firm mattresses deliver equally on conformability and support and alleviate pressure point pain in most people.
- Very firm mattresses offer solid support but little (if any) conformability, which can lead to pressure point pain.
Myth 3. The right mattress will prevent tossing and turning
Babies start rolling over in their sleep at around 4 months of age and by adulthood we’re moving as much as 75 times a night – whether it’s a simple twitch or a full-out roll. We move during the night to alleviate pressure point pain and to reduce stress and strain on our backs and joints. A supportive mattress will reduce how much you move at night by providing pressure point relief, which will allow you to slip into deeper, healing REM sleep.
Myth 4. Your new mattress should be a perfect fit from the first time you sleep on it
Most people need at least a month to adjust their bodies to a new sleep surface. Considering how long we spend in bed in a 24 hour period, it’s no wonder that our muscles and joints retain a memory of how to find the most comfortable spot on the mattress. Does that mean you should only buy from a mattress retailer that offers a comfort guarantee? Not necessarily. If you’ve done your research, shopped around and spent time testing a variety of mattresses, your body will still take time to adjust but it will happen.
Myth 5. A mattress should be flipped every few months to keep it in good condition
Most mattresses today are one-sided, which means they should never be flipped. So, how can you ensure maximum enjoyment of your mattress and reduce body impressions?
- Rotate every two weeks for the first two months.
- Rotate your mattress monthly for the first 6 months and quarterly after that.
- Sleep in a variety of positions and places on the mattress so the entire surface compresses evenly.
And remember that body impressions are normal up to 1 ½ inches and not a structural defect. The upholstery materials are conforming to the weight and shape of your body, which is a good thing.
Myth 6. Buy a mattress with the longest warranty possible
Mattress warranties do not refer to the life expectation of your purchase. The warranty covers defects in workmanship and materials. Just like many products used with extreme regularity, you’ll notice wear and tear before you reach the end of the warranty.
When buying a new mattress, read the warranty carefully even though there’s very little difference in the terms and conditions of warranties from manufacturer to manufacturer. It’s good to note that transportations costs (to and from the factory) are usually not covered in the case of repair or replacement. As well, a new warranty is normally not issued when the mattress is replaced.
Myth 7. It’s against the law to remove the law tag on your mattress
The warning against removing the law tag of your new mattress tag can be intimidating. The truth is that once you’ve bought the mattress and it’s in your home, you can do whatever you want with it. But if you ever need to file a warranty claim, that law tag needs to be attached to the mattress because it contains critical information that will help the manufacturer process your claim.
Myth 8. You don’t actually need a mattress protector
Mattress covers are designed to cover (and sometimes encase) a mattress to protect it from daily wear and tear, shielding it from dust, allergens and spills. But a mattress protector can also help maintain a consistent temperature in the microclimate of the bed, reduce tossing and turning. Some can even improve the comfort-level of the mattress.
Mattress protectors also protect your mattress in a financial way. Regardless of where you buy your mattress, all manufacturers require that your mattress be from soils and stains if a warranty claim is filed. In other words, a dirty mattress voids your warranty. Why so strict about stains? Because of health concerns for people who work in mattress factories – think of diseases transmitted through bodily fluids – stained mattresses (regardless of what caused the stain) can’t be returned for service and/or replacement.
Rest well & wake up ready to go!
Better sleep gives rise to better mornings, bringing your goals into focus and dreams within reach. Hungry for more sleep info? Dig into these posts:
- How to dispose of an old mattress
- Where to put your bed for your best night’s sleep
- Is a platform bed right for you and your sleep needs?