Buying a Mattress

Tips for Buying the Best Mattress

A new mattress transforms our bedtime routine into a luxury looked forward to all day long.  Laying down in bed, you can feel the day’s stress melt away, and when you rise in the morning, feeling refreshed and relaxed, you’re ready to take on the day.  But at some point, that new mattress ceases to offer such luxury.

It happens slowly at first– perhaps you feel uncomfortable pressure on your joints throughout the night, or maybe you wake to the jarring squeak of old springs– but eventually your mattress will need replacing.  Few mattresses on the market last more than ten years.  In fact, most manufacturers recommend mattress replacement after just five to seven years.

Time to Replace the Mattress?

It is time to replace your mattress when it feels worn and no longer offers the support and comfort needed for quality sleep.  If it looks worn, then it probably is.  Visible sagging in the middle or along the side of a mattress indicates that it is no longer providing proper support.

Look at the comfort layer of the mattress.  This soft, cushioning layer feels luxurious at first, but as it ages, ruts and body impressions form causing an uneven and lumpy sleeping surface.  Cheap comfort layers rarely last five years.



Most innerspring mattresses begin to creak with age.  Springs can be felt pressing upward through the mattress in some areas, which causes discomfort for the sleeper.  Try sitting on the very edge of your mattress; if it collapses easily, then it’s definitely time to shop for a replacement.

Considering a New Mattress

When shopping for a new mattress, price and quality vary considerably.  The type of mattress you buy will depend on your budget and type of mattress you choose.  Each kind of mattress has its own benefits and drawbacks, and some are better suited to certain situations.  Following is a quick overview of the mattress types available in today’s market.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses come in many varieties, but the vast majority are made from polyurethane foam.  You’ve likely heard of the miraculous memory foam, which has been touted as one of the biggest breakthroughs in sleep technology.

Indeed, memory foam, or visco-elastic polyurethane foam, offers a wide array of health benefits.  It is one of the best choices for those suffering from arthritis, back problems, or circulation difficulties, because it molds around the sleeper’s body to provide a sleeping surface without pressure points.



Memory foam comes in a variety of qualities.  Tempur-pedic mattresses are among the highest quality (and most expensive).  As a general rule, denser memory foam will last longer.  Although a memory foam mattress is big investment, it will last two decades or more, which is considerably longer than the industry standard.

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses are made from the sap of the rubber tree, which makes them a greener alternative to memory foam mattresses.  Indeed, latex foam has many of the same qualities as memory foam.  It is ideal for arthritis patients and those with allergies.

Latex has several advantages over memory foam.  Not only does it last just as long, but it is a renewable resource.  Additionally, since it is naturally fire resistant, latex mattresses are not sprayed with fire retardants, which can cause reactions in some people.

Air Mattresses

Air mattresses offer the greatest adjustability because their firmness can be quickly changed, which makes them a great choice for those who can’t settle on one firmness for very long.  These mattresses often include comfort layers made from latex or memory foam.

Pillow Top Mattress

Pillow top mattresses are among the most comfortable on the market.  These innerspring mattresses contain an impressive comfort layer, which offers a luxurious sleeping experience.  Unfortunately, the life span of these mattresses is rarely more than ten years.

Mattress Firmness

People vary considerably in their preference for mattress firmness.  Generally, a firmer feeling bed is ideal for those who sleep on their backs or stomachs, whereas side sleepers prefer softer mattresses.  Firm mattresses tend to cause discomfort to those suffering from arthritis, although some people with back problems claim relief from firmer beds.

Innerspring mattresses with higher spring counts or air mattresses are good choices for a firmer feel.  Foam mattresses are generally softer but come in a wide range of firmness too.  Pillow top mattresses are among the softest feeling mattresses.

Final Mattress Purchase Considerations

When shopping for mattresses, it is important to consider its warranty and the store’s return policy.  Warranties vary tremendously depending on the material and price of the mattress.  Make sure to read it through carefully and get the warranty information in print, just in case you need it.



When looking at mattresses, it is a good idea to spend 15 minutes laying on each potential mattress.  This is enough time for you to really feel what the mattress has to offer, and you want to discover potential discomfort before it’s in your home!  Because ultimately, your buying decision should be based on how comfortable a mattress feels to you.

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