How to Buy the Best Mattress: 5 Tips to Guide You to a Good Night’s Sleep

Carmen NatschkeInteriors by Design

Studies show that we sleep approximately two-thirds of our life (eight hours out of 24 hours daily), so it makes perfect sense to approach the purchase of a mattress from a well-researched position.  It’s also reasonable to understand the fear some of us have when shopping for a mattress. First, there’s the cost – buying a mattress is not cheap (at least not a good one; they carry hefty price tags). Then there’s the very real fear of buying the wrong mattress.

The wrong mattress can be the wrong size,  too hard, too soft, too tall, or too short. Whatever may be wrong with the mattress usually results in a bad nights sleep. And study after study has shown that not getting enough of “good” sleep will affect other aspects of our lives negatively. So choosing the best mattress really is a major decision. We’ve prepared a quick guide to mattress buying that will help you make the best decision when you’re shopping for a mattress.

1.   Get the Right Size: If you have an existing bed, then measure your current mattress (assuming you got the right size to fit your bed originally) and take those measurements along when shopping for your new mattress. For a new bed, also measure the bed for the box springs as well as the mattress, as you will most likely be buying a mattress set (mattress and box springs).   Measure for depth as some mattresses are very deep (plush pillow tops) and may not fit your bed well. Another thing to keep in mind if you have an existing mattress set – is to consider whether you will be replacing the box springs in addition to the mattress.

2.  Take the Mattress for a Test Sleep: Don’t bother wasting your time at bedding or mattress stores that do not offer generous “test” periods. There is absolutely no way, really no way, in which you can tell if a particular mattress is meant for you by testing it for five minutes or so. Just not going to happen. The  store environment makes it impossible for you to relax enough to let your inhibitions rest as you contort your body into your natural sleep configurations (and in some case you may not even be aware that you flip or switch sides during the night). 

Ask for a 30 to 90 day test period with full refund if you should decide the bed is not for you– if they don’t give it to you, leave and find another mattress store that will. 

3.  Not all Mattresses are the Same: Let me bust the myth that all mattresses are equal and buying the cheapest one is just as good. No. No. No. We get hundreds of email questions on mattress buying and one of the the running themes is “I read that you can buy a $200 mattress that feels like a $1000 mattress – is that true?”. The answer always is, “perhaps”. There’s mattress clearance sales in which old or discontinued mattress models need to be liquidated to make room for new mattresses. Then there’s the possibility that a mattress store is going out of business and needs to sell all products at clearance prices.

However, the above scenarios depict quality mattresses being sold below value for a variety of reasons . but it is extremely rare to pickup a truly cheap mattress, not a $1000 mattress on sale, (say in the $200 to $400 range) that in anyway, shape or form meets with the quality of a $1000 mattress.

Having said that, I also believe that you can be happy with a less expensive mattress because in the end it’s not simply about the price tag or prestige associated with the mattress that matters. Comfort is king, and if a $200 mattress fits your needs than why spend $1000?

4.  State Your Mission: Don’t let a mattress salesperson pin you down to a price range – let them know that all you care about during the test period is comfort, warranty,and, of course, a store that offers a generous mattress testing period. 

5. Focus on the Important: Keep in mind that the mattress will be part of your home and life for a substantial part of your life. Buying a cheaply made, uncomfortable mattress is bad for your health in the long run. As with any household product that will last for several years, buy the very best you can afford now – otherwise you may find yourself shopping for a new mattress sooner than the “new one’s” end of life.

As was mentioned earlier, you can buy high quality, high end, even luxury, mattresses on sale at various times of the year. Once you know what you are looking for in a mattress then it becomes easier to take advantage of seasonal bedding sales, where you can get incredible deals and savings.