10 Tips: How to Shop For a Mattress

1) Know Thyself

First and foremost is knowing your sleep style, preferences, and tendencies. Do you start out on your stomach, and wake up on your back?  Do you sleep so hot at night that you often kick your blankets onto the floor? Take a minute to analyze what priorities need to be addressed in order to get the best sleep possible.


2) Beducate Yourself

Two excellent resources for mattress research that should be required reading for anybody in the market for a new mattress.  sleeplikethedead.com is filled with data and statistics gathered from reviews, forums, and reports compiled from across the web. The statistics are well laid out in easy to understand diagrams and graphs. themattressunderground.com is filled with informative articles and essays that really give the lowdown on how to properly select and purchase a mattress. Both are a treasure trove of information and you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not perusing either of them when conducting your research.


3) Set a Budget

How much would you pay for the best sleep ever? When you break the numbers down, your mattress is actually relatively inexpensive. Spread out over 10 years, a $1000 mattress costs you a little over .27 cents a day. How important is your sleep? Whats the most you would pay per night indefinitely for the comfort of sound sleep? .50 cents?  $1.00?  Set aside as much as you can afford, which leads us to number 4…


4) Don’t Be Cheap About Your Sleep!

Is there any item you own that you spend more time with in a more intimate fashion than your mattress? We’re talking about a third of your life. Do you really want to relegate that third to anything less than the most comfortable and pleasant sleep experience?  Some food for thought.


5) Try Before You Buy

You really need to give the mattress a test run to know for sure whether or not the mattress will be right for you. Take the time to try the mattress in all of your various sleep positions. Spend at least 15 minutes in each position. Pay attention to how well it supports your lower back, and how it feels on your side. Pay attention to any pressure points that develop on your hips or shoulders. If you feel any discomfort after a few minutes, you probably need something a little softer. The surface of the mattress should yield enough to fill the recessed areas of the body, evenly distributing your weight across the surface of the mattress.


6) Comfort vs Support

The two most important factors when selecting a mattress are how well it supports your lower back, keeping your back in proper alignment, and how comfortable it feels in all the various sleeping positions. Everything else is secondary. There are other factors to consider, but these two should be at the top of your checklist when narrowing down your choices.


7) Ask Questions

Ask about any comfort guarantees. What is the store policy? Find out about the warranty, the terms, and what exactly is or isn’t covered. It isn’t the retailer’s fault if you fail to ask before making the purchase. The most common cause for buyers remorse is due to not asking the right questions. Never buy a mattress before knowing the store’s return policies.


8) Skip the Name Brand

It’s a common misconception that the Big “S brands” (Simmons, Serta, Stearns and Foster, Sealy) make the best quality mattresses. This isn’t necessarily true. While it is true that they make high quality mattresses, there are many local manufacturers who make high quality beds at a fraction of the cost, providing a much better value overall. Don’t dismiss a brand simply because you fail to recognize them.


9) Size Him Up

Determine whether or not your salesperson is worthy of your business. Is he more interested in telling you what you need, or does he actually listen to what you are telling him you need? A genuine sales associate will not make any recommendations without asking you some qualifying questions first. If you encounter an associate who shows little interest in the information you are giving him, take your business elsewhere. Finding the right mattress for an individual is a highly personal process of elimination, and will often entail various lines of questioning and probing to determine the best mattress for your needs.


10) Negotiate Like a Pro

Don’t buy from the first mattress store you go to. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down, respectfully inform your sales associate that you intend on shopping around, and ask for an absolute best out the door price. Ask him to write it down and let them know you will be in touch. Ask if they are willing to price match or if they have any best price guarantees. Take that quote to the next store and rinse and repeat. Be sure to let them know if another store is offering freebies like frame or pillows with their offer. Follow your gut, and choose the store that you feel most comfortable doing business with.