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7 Tips for Buying A New Mattress

7 Tips for Buying A New Mattress

A mattress is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make for your family – after all, you spend approximately about one-third of your life in bed. In many ways, it’s like buying a car: research and comparison-shopping are essential; comfort, safety, and budget are key considerations; and the number of choices can feel overwhelming. But don’t lose sleep over it! These seven tips can help you find the mattress of your dreams:

  1. Size matters. If you are sharing a bed, you should buy at least a queen-size mattress. A healthy person moves 40-60 times a night and makes lots of full-body turns. For sound sleep, you need freedom of motion.
  2. Test-drive different models. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes you can easily slip off so you can lie down – it’s the only way to determine what feels right for you. Compare a variety of firmness levels and styles within your budget constraints. Your mattress and foundation should support your body at all pressure points (check your alignment in a good standing posture). Beyond that, firmness is a personal choice. 
  3. Look “under the hood.” Ask the salesperson to show you illustrated or actual “cutaways” of the interior of the different mattresses and foundations so you can see what’s inside. The mechanics of innersprings and foams vary widely, which can greatly affect comfort.
  4. Find a reputable dealer. Furniture stores, department stores, and sleep specialty shops all sell mattresses. Ask friends and family for referrals. If you don’t feel your salesperson is knowledgeable or helpful, take your business elsewhere.
  5. Go for the best value, not the lowest price. To ensure long-term performance, buy the highest-quality sleep set you can afford. View it as a long-term partnership.
  6. Get the details.  If you choose the convenience of buying a mattress online, you won’t have the chance to try it out, so, read the reviews, carefully check return and shipping policies – and be certain there’s customer support should a problem arise. Do they ensure that your satisfaction is guaranteed without extra costs and hassles?
  7. Be sure it contains certified foam. A growing number of consumers want to be assured the polyurethane foam used in their bedding (and upholstered furniture, too) are low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) for indoor air quality and made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants, ozone depleters, formaldehyde, lead, mercury or other heavy metals, and phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. A new resource for consumers is CertiPUR-US, a not-for-profit certification program for flexible polyurethane foam. Find a list of companies selling products containing certified polyurethane foam in the consumer section of

You’re on your way to getting a better night’s sleep!
About the Author — Michele Ostrove is a Santa Fe based freelance writer who frequently writes about sleep and health.

1 Comment

  1. I like what you recommend about asking to see cutaways from the individual mattresses. It makes sense that this could be a helpful way to know what sort of materials are actually used and in what portions. I’ll have to remember this for when I get a new one because right now I have an old spring mattress and it’s really taking a toll on my back.

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