On average, you will spend one-third of your life sleeping, so it only makes sense that purchasing a new mattress is quite the endeavor for the average Joe.
Sleeping is a necessity for survival and deep, healthy sleep allows us to re-energize and stay healthy. In fact, sleep is so important that if you are suffering from a lack of sleep, you could end up putting yourself at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
But to get a good, solid night’s sleep, you’re going to need a good place to sleep.
Sometimes it feels like there are almost as many mattresses as there are cars on the road. They offer a million benefits, are shaped in a variety of ways, can cool and condition and support, and the choice can generally overwhelm you.
This is especially true if you suffer from—or are prone to—neck and back pain. Choosing the wrong mattress can mean that you may exacerbate these issues, which means that choosing the correct mattress can make the difference between a pain-free day or a day bent double, visiting chiropractors and massage therapists, only to discover the issue may lie in the place you lay your head at night.
To make sure that your mattress is a fit for your needs and won’t leave you with buyer’s remorse, we offer the following 10 tips for buying a new mattress.
- Do your research online before going into the store
When you step into a furniture or mattress store, you have to remember that the salespeople are there to sell. That doesn’t mean they will purposely mislead you into buying an awful mattress, but it does mean that they will encourage you to make a faster decision if it means a sale for them.
To avoid this, do your research online first. This doesn’t just mean mattress shopping, it means understanding what it is your spine needs from you while it sleeps. Sleep comfort and sleep quality are heavily dependent on a good mattress, so understanding proper mattress guidelines, better sleep techniques, and even how insomnia can affect (or be in response to) chronic pain are all extremely important components.
- Have a chat with the doc
If you have a health condition, muscle injury, or spinal issue, talking to your doctor before buying a mattress might be one of the smartest decisions you can make. Your doctor or physical therapist may be able to recommend a specific mattress or the type of mattress you would most likely benefit the most from.
While doctors are not mattress experts, they are the ones who best understand your medical condition and can give suggestions. It’s important to keep in mind that sleeping is the only time that the entire spinal structure relaxes, including ligaments, muscles, and joints. If your doctor can’t recommend a specific mattress, you can even ask if they will have a look at a website like https://www.mattress-guides.net to help you better understand which mattress will be the best option for you.
- Watch for gimmicks
Again, mattress sellers are ultimately just trying to make a profit, so you have to be mindful of some of the common gimmicks used to sell mattresses. Many mattress sellers will label a mattress as “orthopedic” or “medically-approved”, but these are just clever marketing words. There is no medical organization that reviews and officially certifies mattresses to carry these labels. While some of these mattresses may have orthopedic features—like a firmer surface that helps provide targeted support to your joints—you should still be leery of any mattress seller that claims they have doctors certifying their mattresses.
- Don’t be scared to test drive your mattress
When you’re buying a mattress, it’s not the time to feel shy about trying it out. This is no cursory sit down with a bit of a bounce. Oh no, to properly try out your mattress you have to feel comfortable lying back on it for about 15 minutes. Don’t feel self-conscious and don’t let the salespeople pressure you to hurry it along. Buying a mattress is a big purchase that can heavily affect your health, which means that you should never feel rushed when making that decision.
Roll around and try out your favorite sleeping positions. Try different sides of the bed and, if you’re in a couple, make sure your partner tries out the mattress with you. If you rarely sleep alone, then it’s important to see what the mattress will be like with another person on it too.
- Firm isn’t always better
If you have back pain, you may be gravitating towards a firmer mattress.
While some people prefer a firmer mattress in general, those with back pain should understand that a firmer mattress doesn’t always mean they will find relief. In fact, the type of mattress you choose should be more based on your sleep style than where you’re feeling your pain.
For example, if you sleep on your side, a mattress with a bit more softness will offer your joints more support. In fact, a medium-firm mattress is best for back and front sleepers but will offer little support to side sleepers.
- Pillow tops may not be for you
Pillow top mattresses are pretty ubiquitous right now, which may have you believe that they work for everyone, but that isn’t necessarily the case. A pillow top mattress provides a dense layer of cushioning to support the body and prevent it from pressing into the coils. However, if you are a very lightweight person, you will most likely not need a pillow top mattress. This is because your body weight will not be enough to compress a non-pillow top mattress enough to even worry about touching the coils. On the other hand, if you have a much higher body weight, a pillow top mattress could provide the support you need to get a more restful and comfortable sleep.
- Ask about comfort guarantees and trial periods before you make your purchase
Like most purchases, mattress suppliers do have a return policy and often have a condition called a “comfort guarantee”. A comfort guarantee or trial period will often allow you to purchase, take home, set up, and start actually sleeping on your bed and still return it within a set amount of time if the mattress isn’t as comfortable as you would have hoped.
Different brands offer different amounts of time, with some going as high as 100 days so that you can get a real, solid feel for what your mattress is like and whether or not you’re going to enjoy sleeping on it long-term.
- Adjustable beds are great for all ages.
While many people view adjustable beds as clinical and unwelcoming (or aimed at a certain older demographic), the simple fact is that adjustable beds can easily work for everyone. Whether you snore, have sinus issues, or simple prefer sleeping more upright, an adjustable bed can permit you to sleep comfortably in whatever position suits you best. This can be especially helpful if your partner sleeps different than you.
It’s also important to remember that adjustable beds don’t just go up down. You can also buy adjustable beds that allow you to increase or decrease the firmness or softness of the bed as well.
- Warranty check
Mattresses can have surprisingly robust warranties that have caveats most people are unaware of. While things like normal wear are not covered, mattress warranties will often cover manufacturer defects or other issues. However, it’s important to go through your mattress warranty with a fine-tooth comb to make sure you’re not ending up with a mattress whose warranty will be voided at the drop of a hat.
In fact, many mattress manufacturers will void the warranty for things like staining, soiling or fluid penetration (which is why a mattress pad is suggested), and will also not cover any damages caused by an improper base (which is basically anything but a box spring).
- Shop at a specialty store
Many furniture stores sell mattresses on the side, shoved up against the wall in the back and neglected, but that doesn’t mean that you will get the best service, information, or deals on the mattresses. The salespeople who work at mattress specialty stores often have more training than regular furniture salespeople on sleep, mattresses, and issues caused by bad mattresses. That does not mean you should discount your own research, but simple go into the buying process with the knowledge that a person who sells couches and fridges all day, may not have much information for you on the quality, durability, or even firmness of many of the mattresses they’re selling.
No matter what, it’s important to remember that it’s your back and your money. No matter what is suggested to you, if you find a mattress that fits your needs and gives you a great night’s sleep, then no one should tell you otherwise. Comfort is a deeply personal thing, and mattresses are even more so.