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Shopping Tips

Tip #1 Make a plan

Most of the time consumers head out into the market and try and figure things out when they start to visit stores. It is best to make a plan that suits your needs. To help you formulate that plan here a few questions to get you started. How long does the mattress need to last? What is your budget? Do you know what support system is best for you? Also, keep in mind that bigger and thicker is not necessarily better and doesn’t always translate to longer durability. Finally, and maybe most importantly, a high price tag does not always translate to greater longevity.

Tip #2 Budget time to make an educated decision

Be sure to allow enough time for the shopping process. If you are in a hurry or feel rushed by a sales person you are at risk of making a bad decision.

Tip #3 Be prepared to test out beds

First off, come prepared by wear clothes that will allow you to get a feel for the mattress you are testing. Also, taking off a thick coat or sweater helps as does taking off your shoes. Once you have narrowed the options to 2, at most 3, mattresses you will want to then give each mattress a 10-15 minute test rest. Be sure to remember to test the mattress on your side if you are a side sleeper or back if you are a back sleeper. While this is no substitute for a month of sleeping you should be able to get a sense of whether you are free of pressure points and are getting the proper support.

Tip #4 Expect an adjustment period

In spite of your best efforts and thoroughness in the mattress selection process, the transition to your new sleep set may not be seamless. Don’t panic, your body may just need time to adjust. Studies have shown that it may take up to 28 consecutive nights sleep on a new mattress to decide whether or not it is the right sleep system for you. With that in mind, make sure that the mattress you choose comes with a minimum 60-day comfort exchange. Anything less and you are not giving your body a chance to make the proper adjustment to what may, in fact, be the best mattress for you.

Tip #5 Be aware of chemical sensitivities

The odors resulting from chemical off-gassing of some new mattresses can be, at the least, unpleasant. Furthermore, research has shown that the chemical off-gassing can actually be harmful. If you are typically sensitive to this issue you may consider avoiding any mattress with vinyl, air or water bladders, poly foams, soy foams, and viscoelastic memory foam. Nonoff-gassing mattress options will contain components like all natural latex, wool, or cotton, and have coil or latex support systems.

Tip #7 Get warranty specifics

Mattress warranties vary as much as the beds that they cover. Some are full warranties that cover workmanship and material defects which cover stitching and sewing problems along with body impressions caused by foam defects. Those warranties can range from 10 to 20 years. However, warranties can also be prorated. This type of warranty means that the mattress is only fully covered for a finite period of time, typically ranging from 1 to 10 years. After the full coverage time period is over, the replacement value decreases every year. For instance, if you have a mattress with a 10 warranty with 5 prorated years your mattress is only fully covered for the first 5 years. However after year 5 and before year 6, you would only get an 80% replacement value, and between year 6 and 7 you would only receive a 60% replacement value. Before making your purchase, be sure to have your salesperson clarify the period of the warranty and, if applicable, explain how the proration will work? Furthermore, have them be specific as to the details of what is considered a manufacturer defect. For instance, how deep does a body impression need to be for it to be considered a material defect?

Tip #8 How to Choose Durable Mattress

The most common place for a mattress to have a problem is in the comfort layer. Most manufacturers fill the comfort layers of their mattresses primarily with polyurethane foam and supplement that with a tiny bit of memory foam and, if you are lucky, some latex. For maximum durability in the comfort layers of mattresses look for latex and wool content and minimize the dreaded polyurethane foams. Problems that manifest in the comfort layers are generally body impressions or a lack of support. On the other hand, the support portion of the mattress (coil unit, latex core, air or water bladder) will have little or no failure over time. When selecting a mattress with durability in mind, a good rule of thumb is to select the mattress that is the most comfortable and supportive for you but has the least amount of comfort layer materials. When you do this, the majority of the comfort you are experiencing is coming from the support system of the mattress which is the portion of the mattress that is the most durable and changes the least over time. When you are shopping you can get a feel for the thickness of the comfort layer by first finding the top of the support layer. You can then see what percentage of the complete mattress is comfort versus support layer. Try and keep the comfort layers to less than 50% of the overall height of the mattress, the less the better.


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