Between the Sheets


All good things must come to an end, and that includes your favorite mattress. Instead of giving you a night of perfect sleep, it gives you aches and pains. The good news is, mattresses are always improving, and you have the opportunity to move on to a better mattress – and better sleep.

Now comes the fun part: mattress shopping. So where should you begin?

Mattress Decisions to Make Before You Start Shopping

There are some choices to be made before taking out a credit card. These include:

Size of Mattress

How big of a mattress can your bedroom accommodate? Are you sharing your mattress? A bigger mattress may be the way to go if you sleep with a bedmate who moves around a lot, you move around a lot, or if you have young kids and/or pets who will wish to join their moms and dads in bed.

One size doesn’t fit all, so consider carefully. The difference between a king and a queen may seem negligible, but it does make a difference, especially if you need a lot of room while you sleep. A twin may do the job, but it’s very tight.

Financial

Can you put a price on a good night’s sleep? Probably not, but you should set a budget. Cheap mattresses are just that – cheap. They take shortcuts on quality, opting for low-cost materials that just don’t have the same longevity as a well-made mattress, and will leave you spending even more money over time.

“What can you afford?” asks Chris Brantner, certified sleep science coach and founder of Sleep Zoo. “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.”

Here’s another way in which to think about it. Let’s say you spend $1,000 on a bed that lasts you ten years because it’s of higher quality than its cheaper counterpart, which only lasts approximately five years. That works out to 27 cents per day. That’s money well spent.

Type of Mattress

There are many types of mattresses, including memory foam, pillow top, and latex. Firmness varies from hard to soft. Research online to see what might best suit your financial and sleeping needs. Seeing what others have said about the different kinds of mattresses will help you make a decision. Your comfort is of primary importance.

Why Different Bodies Need Different Mattresses

Sleep Position

Another important thing to note is your sleeping position. For example, back sleepers need more firmness to support the spine, whereas side sleepers tend to require a softer mattress. If you are a sprawler, you’ll want a larger mattress to accommodate your bodily needs.

Chronic Pain

Other considerations you should include in your search is 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 these issues. Pain in joints, fibromyalgia and other sorts of chronic pain require a mattress that allows give and supports pressure points where it is most needed.

Sleeping Together

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 like to spoon, or are you both sprawlers? Do you both like the same level of firmness, or do you need an adjustable bed so that each of you can have the sleep level you desire? Another question that is often asked is “what the best mattress for sex is?” That depends on a variety of issues, such as bounce, sinkage, cooling properties (such as a memory foam cooling gel) and noisiness.

Body Size

The size of your body is also a determining factor. 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. Those who are heavier will sink deeper into the mattress and need more compression support, with at least a four-inch layer of foam to assist in comfort. Those who are lighter in weight may prefer a plusher feel since they won’t sink as deeply into the mattress.

Going to the Store

Don’t allow a salesperson to force you into making a decision that might not be the best for you. There are many ways to decide, and The Better Sleep Council uses the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to outline the proper way to test a mattress:

  1. Select a mattress in the size upon which you’ve decided
  2. Lie down in your usual sleep position
  3. Evaluate the level of comfort and support
  4. Educate yourself about each selection
  5. Partners should test beds together

The Insides

Take a peek on what’s on the inside of the mattress. 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. It will allow you to see where you are being supported and by what.

Testing the Mattress

Don’t hesitate to ask your salesperson any questions at all. A proper retailer will help steer you to the right mattress based on your budget and individual needs. Ask and find out whether the retailer offers a buy-and-try option (also known as a comfort guarantee). This means you can take a mattress home and sleep on it for a set period, which may range from 30 to 120 days. Stretching out on a mattress for just five minutes in a store may not provide you with enough information to make a confident decision.

Take your time, do your research, and have fun discovering a mattress that will make you look forward to going to bed.

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