Bounce, bounce, squeeze, price check – and voilà! You’ve got a mattress! That’s how NOT to buy a mattress. This is a purchase that represents a significant investment, so take your time if you want to ensure you’ll be happy with your purchase for years to come. After all, you’ll be spending about one third of your life sleeping, according to the Better Sleep Council.
If you sleep with a partner, begin your in-store shopping by inviting your bedmate – but only after you’ve done your research online. Oh, and be sure to read this tip-packed post created to help you steer clear of the most common mistakes mattress buyers make.
What NOT to do when buying a mattress
Don’t blindly follow a friend or family member’s advice. “Everyone has their opinions on the best or worst mattresses,” says Caitlin Hoff, health and safety investigator, ConsumerSafety.org, “but not everyone is built the same way or even sleeps in the same position.” By all means, consider all the advice given to you, but don’t hold it up on a pedestal. Some people love olives, while others hate them. Your mattress must be the right mattress for you, your body type and sleeping habits. Give some careful thought about what you want and need out of your mattress.
Don’t let price be the main deciding factor. Good mattresses made from high-quality, durable materials aren’t cheap. As Hoff points out: “With an overwhelming number of options on the market, it can be easy to pick a cheap mattress and just move on. However, it’s important to remember that you will spend roughly one-third of your time sleeping on your mattress. One single mattress might be with you for 8 to 10 years. An investment in a good mattress that meets your needs is an investment in a decade of restful nights.” That’s something that really is truly priceless.
Don’t go on a buying mission solo. Your partner needs to test the mattress too. “A huge mistake that people make when mattress shopping is leaving their partner at home,” explains Hoff. “Just because a mattress is good for one person does not mean it will be good for both.” Go shopping together and ask yourselves whether the mattress large enough so that each of you can have some personal space. Are you and your bedmate able to lay comfortably in our favorite sleep positions? Is the mattress too firm or soft for both parties? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, move on to other options.
Don’t forget to test your mattress. Your new mattress is going to be a part of your life for quite a while, so it’s essential to lie down on it in different sleeping positions to determine if it’s right for you. While it can be awkward to go mattress shopping and spread out on the display beds with other buyers milling about, a good night’s sleep is well worth any perceived embarrassment. To boost your confidence in your choice of mattress, ask about a possible trial period to test out the mattress. Spending a few nights sleeping on it is the best barometer of its suitability for you.
Don’t skip the crucial details. You need to know the retailer’s mattress return policy. “A mattress is a major life purchase,” Hoff points out. “It affects your mental and physical health so if you take home a mattress and find that it does not meet your needs, you should return it.” Most mattress companies will have a trial period when a mattress can be returned, but many also have a “return fee.” Know the return policy before you buy.
Don’t forget to do your homework. It’s essential to approach your mattress-buying endeavor armed with some basic information. There are plenty of good online resources available to consumers so make a short list of mattress brands you want to check out when it’s time to hit the stores. Visit their websites and see what types they have available. Keith Cushner is the Seattle-based general manager of Tuck.com, a site he launched in February 2017 after finding a dearth of credible information online about sleep products when he was confronted with his own sleep issues.
“Make sure you know that components that make up a mattress, including density and types of foams [polyurethane, latex and memory], and the types and gauges of coils [pocketed versus regular steel] used,” he says. Those are key factors to know because they affect comfort significantly, depending on your preferred sleeping position and weight. Just stick to the facts and forget the marketing jargon to help guide you to the perfect mattress.
Don’t underestimate the importance of your personal comfort preference. Somewhere in between firm and soft is your ideal mattress, but most people tend to gravitate toward one end of the spectrum or other. “Pay attention to your weight as well as your sleeping preference (position) as most people mistake ‘feel’ for firmness,” explains Cushner. “What is most important how a mattress helps with spinal alignment. If you weigh over 120lbs you shouldn’t be considering a ‘soft’ mattress as it won’t give you the support you need.”
There’s also a belief that a firmer mattress is better for your back. That’s not necessarily true. Some mattress with softer pillow tops can ease pain by reducing the amount of pressure of problematic areas.
Don’t rush. You wouldn’t buy the first car you test drive, right? Bigger purchases need to thoughtful ones. Spend some time researching mattress basics and visit a mattress showroom to kick off your quest for the best mattress. You’ll have a chance to see what your options are and talk to sales reps, who can be a wealth of information. A good sales person will ask you about how your sleep habits, your preferences and the budget you have in mind. Ask plenty of questions and take their advice into consideration.