Tips For Mattress Shopping

  We have noticed that many people have an anxiety about mattress shopping and selection, more so than with other furniture purchases. This is understandable though, as there does seem like extra pressure to make the right decision about a mattress, given it will be where you sleep for the next few years, and not only does it have to be comfortable now it needs to last the distance. It's also a purchase we are not very practised at, you don't buy a mattress often, and in the time frame since you last purchased, the whole market has changed, with new studies and new products. The anxiety is then compounded when you enter the research phase; there are so many different types of mattresses, with so many different claims, and such a broad range of prices for seemingly similar products. So where do you start?

There are 3 broad rules most people can agree on: 1) Buy the best mattress you can afford, it should be viewed as an investment in your health 2) Buy a comfortable & supportive mattress, supportive means when you are lying on your side, your spine is aligned. 3) Buy the biggest size that will fit, you will always sleep better on a bigger bed

Before you even walk out the door, you should answer a few questions about your sleep habits, this will define what you are looking for, and you can focus your search. Then you can test the options available within the parameters of the goals you have set, and good sales assistants should be able to fit you to a bed based on your physical needs and your list of goals.

Step 1: Write down the answers to the following questions

Write down the answers to the following series of questions, if you will be sharing with your partner, ask them to do the same. Once you have finished, look down your list, you have just outlined all the things you should be looking for in your new mattress. When you are researching, look for mattresses that specifically mention how they address the things on your list, the mattress type that seems to meet the most of your goals is a good place to start looking.

1. What size are you looking for (remembering the biggest that fits in your room is the best!)? 2. What is your price range? 3. What comfort level do you prefer? (soft, medium, firm, pillowy, etc) 4. What is your height? 5. What is your weight? (Be honest, the support you require, and how soft or firm a bed feels will be impacted by your weight) 6. Are you a hot sleeper, or a cold sleeper? 7. Do you suffer allergies? 8. Would you prefer to sleep on a mattress free from chemicals and synthetic fibres? 9. Do you suffer any injuries or pain? Are they related or aggravated by sleep? 10. Are you generally a poor sleeper? Do you struggle to fall asleep, or are you restless? 11. Do you think there may be any major lifestyle changes in the next 5 years or so, such as significant weight gain or loss, or pregnancy?

And a few that relate to your current sleep system: - What are you currently sleeping on? - How do you find the comfort of it? - How do you find the support? - Are you waking up with any aches or pains? - Do you have any complaints about the system- is it noisy or creaky, lumpy, do you roll in etc? - Do you ever get cramps or pins and needles in the night?

Step 2: Based on your list, do a bit of research to see whats out there

Google is a good place to start, but be warned, there is a huge variety of mattresses on offer, all claiming various things, and it is easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated. Remain clear headed, start with your budget, take a look at what options are in your price range. There are 3 main types of mattresses available in Australia;

- Inner Spring & Coils: these are declining in popularity in favour of foam and latex which provide a more elastic support that responds to your body. - Latex: there is a big range of latex available, they vary greatly in their quality and benefits. Use the price tags to roughly guide you, and keep your goals in mind when looking at the different types. There is no governing body on the labelling of mattresses in Australia, be a bit wary with claims of Talalay and natural etc. The definitions are intentionally confusing, Talalay does not necessarily mean natural, it is a manufacturing process, and Natural may just refer to the upper layer of the mattress, or an element of it. - Foam: including Memory Foam (including Tempur models), Natural Foam and synthetic foams. With foam it is important to remember that the range of quality and benefits is as broad as for inner spring and latex, there are inexpensive models at the bottom, and premium models that are some of the most innovative and use the latest technology to offer incredible support & comfort.

(Latex is also technically a foam mattress, although due to the broad range of latex types it is largely considered in its own category; however natural latex is foam made from tree sap, and synthetic latex is a foam made from synthetic materials designed to have similar reactive properties to natural latex).

Once you have discovered the three main categories, write down the ones that are within your budget and appear to meet some of your needs and call the stores to find out some more. When you ring the store, make sure they have the model you are interested in on display, also ask a few questions about the product. The sales person should know the mattresses in detail, however look out for the sales people that ask you questions relating to your needs, the sales person that does has been trained to help you find a mattress based on your sleep experience, these are good stores to visit first.

This is a good time to point out, as inevitably once you start talking to the sales people you will start to hear the term 'sleep systems' rather then mattresses. A sleep system is made up of more than the mattress, it will be the base (whether it is ensemble or slats), plus mattress, plus pillow. Knowing which mattresses you are interested in is the first step though, the rest of the sleep system should be designed around the mattress, and whilst it is a huge factor in buying a new sleep system, it can be dealt with later.

Step 3: Testing Mattresses

Find a few stores to visit that have what you are looking for, ideally they are close together, but it is something you should put an afternoon aside for, it is best to test them on the same day, so you can recall the differences. A few key factors when going shopping for a mattress:

- If you are sharing with a partner, take them with you, it's important to test them together. If dragging the hubby along means bribing him with a lunch out first, then do it. - Wear comfy clothes, maybe not quite your pj's, but close, a pair of tracksuit pants and a t-shirt, and shoes you can slip on and off easily, you want to be comfortable when testing the bed. - Allow time, once in the store narrow down a few of your favourites then spend at least ten minutes on each. Lie in the position you sleep in. The sales person should offer you the time and space to do this in peace, if not, simply ask them. Once you have gotten down to the finalists, try and spend up to half an hour on the mattress. - In order to do this, it's a good idea to try and do the mattress testing in a stores quieter period, a week-day, or a Thursday night will mean you are not hurried by the next person wanting to test it out. - If you have a special pillow- take it along (seriously!) the mattress needs to be comfortable for you. - Ask lots of questions, but also check to see if the sales person is asking you lots of questions. A good sales person should have 'sized you up', and matched you to the correct support (just like measuring your foot, and checking your arch when you buy new runners). They should have then fired a series of questions at you just like the ones in the first section of this article, and addressed each of your areas of concern and matched you to a mattress to meet your goals. - If you and your partner have very different needs or goals, do not compromise them, tell the sales person the differences, the latest sleep systems, such as the Dorsal sleep systems, offer customised support and comfort on each side of the bed, so no more compromises!

Step 4: Selecting a Mattress

After testing the mattress it is normal to do a bit more research on the details at home. Stick to the options you have narrowed it down to though, as its easy to get distracted by conflicting info at this point. A mattress is personal, you need to go with what you instinctively thought was best for you, at the end of the day ask yourself, which mattress would I most like to go home to tonight? Is it the best mattress I can afford? Am I comfortable in this decision? If yes, then go for it.


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