We’ve all heard about the importance of sleep to our well being: kids that get more sleep do better in school; adults that get adequate sleep have healthier lives and outlooks.
But choosing a new mattress in our quest for sleep isn’t something most of us seem to want to do: the average consumer waits more than a decade to buy a new mattress.
If you figure 7 hours of sleep a night, on average, that means the typical mattress gets more than 26,000 hours of sleep use! And that doesn’t even count the hours we spend awake in bed.
If we kept our cars that long, it would be the equivalent of keeping a car for almost 1 million miles!* Beyond that, consider this: the average sleeper sweats up to 2 pints per night and sheds enough skin to feed an army of bed bugs and dust mites. And your mattress is just lying there, taking it all in. So the question remains…
Why do we wait so long?
Part of the reason is that we get used to what we have. And, according to sleep pro’s I’ve talked to, even if we do acknowledge sleep issues, our first inclination is often to try and deal with them by buying a pillow or getting a prescription…anything but a new mattress!
But mattresses–and mattress shopping–have changed quite a bit in recent years. Where it used to be that all mattresses were made in essentially the same way (a wire coil in the mattress with a box spring), new technology–and knowledgeable professionals– have made their way into bedding in a big way.
Add to that contributions from medicine such as orthopaedic surgeons and sleep researchers, and choosing a new mattress now comes with a whole host of additional considerations that weren’t part of the equation even 5 years ago.
What’s a mattress shopper to do?
Sleep comfort is a very personal decision. And for a purchase that may stay with you for a decade, here are a few things to consider:
1. Research the different bedding construction options you have
Modern bedding comes in a variety of constructions including: configurations of coil spring mattresses and box springs, memory foam (such as Tempur-Pedic), and various hypoallergenic and ‘green’ all-latex constructions. Checking out the various pros and cons of each type online is a good first step. A great place to see the variety of bedding types is available on the Mattress Firm site.
2. Ask and answer questions
Once you have familiarized yourself with bedding options, you will probably want to visit a bedding store. Be prepared to ask–and to answer–questions about your sleeping habits. With so many options available, a bedding professional will ask you lots of questions to help narrow your choices down to a manageable set for testing out.
Questions may cover sleep habits, back or neck pain, how long you’ve had your current mattress and what type it is among other topics. You will also want to ask questions about mattress construction, warranties, financing and anything else that is important to you.
And while it may be tempting to ask friends what they think of their mattress, remember that your comfort is just that…your comfort, not theirs. You can certainly get good feedback from family and friends about their purchasing experience.
3. Give yourself time to try the mattress
Once you’ve narrowed your choices down, be sure to give yourself time. Though it can be awkward trying to relax in a store, you won’t really know how the mattress feels if you only lie on it for a minute or two. Memory foam mattresses, for instance, can take up to 10 minutes to fully conform to your body shape. Also, be sure to remove your coat and shoes when trying out a mattress. And if you share a bed, it’s best to be sure you both are there to try it out!
4. Have a price range in mind
Every manufacturer has several different levels of comfort…knowing how much you are prepared to spend will help your shopping experience stay practical. Bedding can go from $200 to $8000 or more. You’ll save yourself alot of frustration if you are prepared to discuss your price range with the sales associate.
Remember, the sleep is the goal
For many, choosing a mattress has been an intimidating, frustrating or overall negative experience. But it need not be something you lose sleep over!
Finding a retailer who will work with you to figure out what works best for you is the key.
If you feel pressured to purchase something that doesn’t feel right to you, try someplace else. A true sleep professional knows that helping you get a good night’s sleep starts with understanding your needs.
Remember that your goal isn’t just a new mattress, but great sleep. Finding a sleep professional dedicated to helping you achieve that goal is a great place to start. If you need help finding a professional near you, check out our retail locator.
*at average speed of 35mph