Isn’t it surprising how little we know about the one essential piece of equipment we lie on for one third of our lives? Yes, mattresses are way down the list of our priorities and that should not be the case.
Investing in the right mattress is money well spent because it is crucial if we are to get restful sleep. The quality of our sleep is going to affect everything we do from productivity to relationships and our overall health. The average US worker misses about 11 days work a year because of lack of sleep. This adds up to a total annual cost of $63 billion in lost productivity!
Let’s face it. A bad mattress is going to steal your precious hours of sleep, while a good one will make sleep the luxurious and re-energizing force it is supposed to be.
You might think buying a really good mattress would be easy. It is not! For example, a high price tag does not always mean this might be the best one for you. Price tags can range from $300 to $30,000! You need to keep a few things in mind such as the materials used, the warranty, the chance of an in-home sleep trial, and shipping. Look at how much research you do before buying a new smartphone, car, or cooker which will marginally affect your lifestyle. A mattress will have a major impact on our lives, yet we rarely do enough research.
Here are 5 tips to help you through the mattress buying process.
1. Look at your sleep patterns and positions
How well you sleep and also your position will help you to decide which type of mattress may be best for you. If you are tossing and turning all night, your mattress and you may need to part company. Some people sleep on their stomachs. Actually, most people seem to sleep on their side and back. If you are in this category, then you are more likely to need a softer mattress. Keep in mind that a good mattress must come up to support the curves and arches in your body as you lie down. It also keeps your spine with its natural curve which is vital to prevent you from waking up with a back ache! You will need this extra support to relieve the hip and shoulder pressure points which are more likely to be painful.
2. Get familiar with the different mattress types
The most famous one going the rounds now is the memory foam mattress which was developed by NASA in the 1970s to protect astronauts from the effects of impact. It is softer and can really help you sleep better. This is due to the fact that it gets softer at all the crucial pressure points.
However, there are a few disadvantages. There is an odd chemical smell from the mattress which may mean you have to give it a good airing before putting the sheets on. Some users complain that the memory lasts too long, so that rolling over takes quite an effort as you have to press up and out of the previous contour. Another problem is that as it functions by using body heat, it may become a little too warm during summer. Some companies have solved this problem by using an aerated latex foam containing gel which helps to keep things cooler by dissipating the heat.
Another option is the pillow type mattress which has an extra layer of padding on top which will make for a much softer surface.
When couples have changing or individual needs, the air bed type of mattress allows for adjustable firmness and softness, which also prevents a lot of arguing and may be a good choice for you.
The Better Sleep Council has a very good description of the different mattress types which will help you to understand the salesman’s jargon.
3. You need to try the mattress out with a sleep trial
You know when you fake a sleep on a mattress in the showroom? This is not ideal! First, you have no pyjamas or bedclothes on, so it really is useless. You also have to ask for a test pillow, so the whole operation becomes rather embarrassing. Not to mention if you have to lie with your partner. You would also need at least 15 minutes to get an idea of whether the mattress is soft or firm enough.
This is when you have to ask about details of a sleep trial. Companies will have various offers which go from one month to three months. This is extremely important if you are shopping online. It may take up to 30 nights to actually get accustomed to a new mattress, so the longer the trial, the better. You should also inquire about transportation costs in the event of a return.
4. Don’t let price be your top priority
Price is not always a good indicator. You should be looking at comfort, convenience, shipping costs, and materials. You might think that haggling is only for your trip to the Casablanca bazaar, but you may be surprised to know that you can often negotiate a better deal for a mattress in the American or European showroom. Mattresses tend to be on sale with huge markups.
You can try indicating what your ceiling is and whether there is room for flexibility. That could mean getting a better deal. You might also get some accessories thrown in, such as a box-spring foundation. If you have done your homework, you can also take advantage of holiday deals and special offers. If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for a discount.
5. Ask about the warranty
This is probably the most important thing to consider, since it regards protecting the mattress itself. Make sure you invest in a waterproof mattress cover, as sometimes stains will void the warranty. The warranty is usually dependent on whether a proper support base has been used. Normally, the outer cover is guaranteed for one year.
Generally a mattress has a life expectancy of about 10 years, if you look after it. You may find a company such as Ghost Bed, who are offering a 20 year warranty. This is an indication that they are using top quality materials. You also need to ask about delivery, especially if they are offering this free.
As you can see, doing some research before you buy your mattress will pay handsome dividends. You will sleep better and look forward to one third of your life with pleasure. That’s one of the best investments you can make!
Featured photo credit: Opening mattress/Emily May via flickr.com