What You Need to Know before Buying a Mattress: My Guide and ExperiencesSep 10, 2007 (Updated Sep 16, 2007) Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line There are many factors to consider and to complicate matters even more we now have mattresses treated with stuff that kills cockroaches!
Where to buy a mattress:
The day finally came. We really did need a new mattress. At the same time we decided to buy new bedroom furniture. We looked at mattresses at several stores. At the end of the day we had seriously considered two mattresses at two different stores. We ended up with neither.
One was a furniture store and one was a mattress store. After sleeping on the matter (no pun intended) for the night we decided to go back to the mattress store which is where we purchased our new mattress.
There is definitely room for negotiating - at least at Sleepy's. The only bed that is not open for bargaining is a Temper-pedic. The prices are fixed. However if you ask you will get pillows and perhaps a bathrobe thrown in.
I would not suggest you go to more than three stores. Even after one visit our heads were spinning.
Just for kicks get your sleeping needs diagnosed. We had this done at Sleepy's. I answered some questions on a computer. The questions were where I felt pain, my age and if I slept with a partner. I had read some information online that suggested that Simmons Beautyrest World Class mattresses are good for couples if one doesnt weight more than 250 pounds and that Sealy Posturepedics are good for individuals and heavier people. Youll find this information and more at www.consumersearch.com.
Theres some information that medium-firm mattresses are better if you have back pain and than side sleepers do better on a softer mattress. (That begs the question what if you are a side sleeper with a bad back? In comes the sleep technician.) You may read that if you have arthritis you'll need a softer mattress and one that doesn't move. One that doesn't move (Foam mattresses are noted for this feature.) may be in your cards if your partner gets up in the middle of the night or your children like to use your mattress as a trampoline. You may be told that if you are a back sleeper a firm mattress will be best.
Back to my diagnosis- I lied down on a special bed and the computer spit out a profile of what kind of Kingsdown bed I should choose. Kingsdown designed this particular computer but what they said can translate to any mattress. The diagnosis was for a couple and it showed that we would like a softer mattress. However in reality my husband preferred a harder one at least thats what he thought.
The sleep technician at Jordan's Furniture didn't do a diagnostic test though they had a computer available. She told us that she prefers to ask questions and based on our answers would recommend several mattresses. Her suggestions were excellent. She told us that lying down on a mattress and having a technician work with us are really the only ways to test out if a mattress is right for us. It was through her that my husband realized that a somewhat softer mattress is better for his particular needs. We knew that was true of me so we didnt have to go with the sleep number bed which was great because neither of us was impressed with it.
What you need to know:
You will learn what I wish I had known. There are essentially three types of mattresses. They are foam (Latex is a type of foam.), coil and the sleep number types.
In Sleepy's we tried several brands of beds. At the time hubby wasn't convinced that softer might be better so we compromised on a Simmons Beauty Rest that wasn't the firmest nor was it the softest. We were going to get a great deal on this - in the $900 range though we weren't ready to buy.
We discounted Kingsdown (Our daughter and son-in-law have bought two and love them.) and Tempur-Pedic at Sleepy's. The sleep number beds work via air chambers which offer support and with an easy to use gizmo that can be adjusted. Neither of us liked the way it felt but for you though a sleep number bed may be just what the doctor ordered. In a minutes you'll see how quickly things change.
We learned that both the latex and traditional foam mattresses are naturally resistant to dust mites, mold and mildew. I liked that feature a lot. Traditional mattresses have coils. For many people coils are great. That was what we were thinking of in the $900 range.
Then we come to the Tempur-Pedic which is foam but unlike a latex mattress it has a memory so it is said to spring back better than latex. It did and we fell in love. Although we found the Kingsdown comfortable (We recently slept on it for three nights.) it was like a cocoon. Although these are really comfortable at first I found my back hurting.
Note that many mattresses don't get flipped over like the old ones did. Thats a nice feature. I recommend a no-flip mattress since it is 2007 and not 1957 the year I think our old mattress was born!
Youll want to look at the warranties on the mattresses. The ones we were looking at and most likely unless you are looking at $400 mattresses youll find had a 15 to 20 year warranty. Some coil mattresses will be warranted for example only if the indentation is at least 1 inch others 2 inches. So this is something about which you want to check.
Each store will have their own guarantee policy and some brands have their own. The Tempur-Pedic in Jordan's had an unusual guarantee. Since it can take four to six weeks to get used to a Termpur-Pedic you cannot return it until at least 30 days and have up to 60 days. There will be a fee of about $100 or more if you return it and then you'll get a credit and not your money back.
I found it helpful to eliminate some beds based on price. No matter how comfortable the $3500 bed was it was out of our price range. Having said that you may be surprised with what you end up with so realize that some flexibility will be in order unless you absolutely cannot spend more than X amount of money. We truly thought $900 for a bed was a lot. We sure had a lot of catching up to do!
The lying down process:
After trying out a couple of latex and Beautyrest mattresses we eliminated the latex. For us latex just wasn't as comfortable however we liked the lack of coils and mites. Although we had discounted the Tempur-Pedic at Sleepy's we decided on it at Jordan's!
Note that now there are very few manufacturers who use box springs. Your mattress which will be quite thick sits on a platform that if you feel it is as hard as a board which makes no difference to the comfort of the mattress. In fact if you do you won't buy the box and save yourself a couple of hundred dollars. If you have or are buying a platform bed you will only buy the mattress and not the platform. Unlike mattresses of old, which may not have been comfortable without a box spring that isnt true anymore.
We ended up loving the foam by going back and forth from the coil mattress to the foam mattress several times. Going back and forth between the two it became clear that the Tempur-Pedic was the bed for us and actually the bed the technician thought it would be the best for us right from the beginning though never stated it overtly since she didn't want to influence us with her own preferences.
If you are wondering about Bob's Discount Furniture's copy of the Tempur-Pedic I'll share with you that we went there as well. It's $1,000 less and just as comfortable. There are many on the market that compete with Tempur-Pedic making me wonder why this company has raised their prices $300.
Bob's mattress is made overseas. The Tempur-Pedic, which originated in Sweden, is made in the United States which I felt more comfortable with still we were going with the Bob-O-Pedic after that first day of shopping. At this point we had eliminated the original Beautyrest coil mattress for $899 and had gone up to $1500.
The pillow topper:
Many beds now come with attached pillow toppers. I find these very comfortable. Tempur-Pedic's least expensive pillow topper mattress was around $3200. At Jordan's we were going to buy one without a pillow topper for $1500.
Bob-O-Pedic's Celestial Firm Top sells for $1500. In other words we could get one very close to what Tempur-Pedic sells for over twice the price.
High-profile versus low-profile:
I hadnt read anything about this and it cost us $69.00. The mattress we ended up with on the showroom floor was called a high profile. All that means is that the platform under the mattress is thicker. It doesnt in any way effect the feel of the mattress. Some people like the look of a higher bed or dont care. They cost the same. Thats where I was. I didnt care so the high-profile mattress seemed fine and thats what I got.
Then our new bedroom set came. The frame of the new bed was not adjustable and was high off the ground. It was much higher than our old frame. Not only couldnt Hanna, our Pomeranian, jump on it but I was ready to buy a step stool. Im not joking. If you are short or have feet that hurt, you do not want a high profile platform unless the whole set is sitting on the floor. Every morning I slid down from the bed and said ouch because my feet hurt me especially in the morning. I had to climb onto the bed at night.
After a few nights I called Sleepys which is where we ended up with buying our bed and for $69 they gave us a low profile platform.
What else do you need?
You definitely want a mattress cover which will run you about $60. Stains on the mattress will void the warranty.
In spite of my queen-sized mattress being several inches thicker than my previous one I did not have to buy new sheets. I did buy a new comforter which was a full/queen sized. A queen/king or king will fit the bed better.
You will have choices depending on the brand. Kingsdown uses numbers and colors to determine their beds. You may find soft, medium, firm or very firm in the latex line and words like plush in many cases or in the case of the Beautyrest names such as the one we were looking at called Kinard.
I learned that the foam mattresses provide less movement so if you have a partner and are a light sleeper you may wake up less often if he or she rolls around or gets out of bed.
I learned that a foam mattress should have a density of at least 5.3 pounds per cubic feet.
I learned that foam mattresses are made with either viscoelastic (The "best" and most expensive.) or polyurethane which it seems may not hold up as well as viscoelastic. Note that a viscoelastic memory-foam mattress can be affected by cold weather, making it feel firmer. The mattress will feel softer once it warms from body contact. I asked Annette in Jordan's if my hot flashes would impact the foam or if the mattress would trigger them. She said she is asked that a lot and her answer was no to both. My body heat wouldn't ruin the mattress and it would take a long time in heat for the foam to see any permanent effects of warm weather. However I did read over and over again that foam is warmer than any of the other mattresses. Latex foam isn't as affected by room temperature.
What we bought and why:
As I said above I slept on the decision which at the end of the day was to go with the $1500 Bob-O-Pedic. Something was bothering me however. I remembered that both technicians talked about mattresses now being flame retardant. This is a new law.
A combination of a conversation with my mom about the general safety factors of items made overseas and my curiosity about what foam actually was made me dig deeper. I learned that foam is made of petroleum and that latex is an organic (made from a tree) product.
I learned that the flame retardant used is Boric Acid thats the stuff used to kill cockroaches. Latex is not treated with Boric Acid however if you have a pillow topper or any kind of top cushioning there may be some Boric Acid in addition to other non-toxic material.
If you dont want any Boric Acid you will have to go to a store that sells 100% organic mattresses.
I didnt want to sleep on a mattress treated with Boric Acid. My Vera Wang Sleep Comfort mattress doesnt have a pillow topper but it does have the top cushioning that youll see on just about every mattress. It may not have been as comfortable as viscoelastic but it is what I bought and paid $2,000 for. I've been sleeping on it for two weeks and haven't decided if I like it!
Good luck and if you have any tips to share or a mattress you love leave a comment.
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