New design innovations, such as this Eurotop model from Sealy, make shopping for mattresses interesting and enjoyable.
The right mattress is crucial to a good night's sleep. When you're shopping for a new mattress, such as this one by Serta, make sure you lie on the mattress in the showroom to see if it's comfortable to you.
Pillowtop mattresses, like this design by Serta, are among the most popular models available in innerspring mattresses.
The Right Bed for You
The one-size-fits-all approach to mattress buying has thankfully gone the way of the Sand Man. Today, you can rest assured that, unless a doctor has advised otherwise, the “right” bed is the one that feels right to you.
Don’t Sleepwalk Through Your Next Bedding Purchase
You spend a third of your life in bed. Doesn’t it make sense to put some real thought into your next mattress purchase?
- by J.D. Walker
Once upon a time, you were advised to sleep on the firmest bed possible—or face dire health consequences. This one-size-fits-all approach has thankfully gone the way of the Sand Man. Today, you can rest assured that, unless a doctor has advised otherwise, the “right” bed is the one that feels right to you.
Many Mattress Options
Consumers today have so many choices in sleep products. There is the traditional coil or innerspring mattress that surveys indicate is still the first choice of 75 percent of consumers. Today’s coil mattresses are made in almost limitless designs and from such core materials as memory foam or latex. Selection in this category is further enhanced with features like the pillow-top for extra cushion or the no-flip innovation of some recent introductions.
Then there is that 1960s favorite, the waterbed, although today’s waterbed is much more reliably constructed than those of our parents or grandparents. It also has a wave-less design to eliminate that seasick feeling the old models could induce.
In the last two decades, people have discovered the air mattress, which offers the flexibility of varying firmness, either for the individual or for partners who share a bed.
Mechanical adjustable beds have become much affordable in the last two decades as well, offering consumers a sleep set that can conveniently and quickly be moved electronically into a wide range of positions.
Time for a Change
So, which type of bedding is right for you? No one bedding system is better than another, says Consumer Reports and other organizations. Picking the right mattress for you is a very personal decision.
But you can start with a very basic question: Just how old is your current bed? Research indicates that a traditional mattress that is well cared for can last 10 years. Beyond that, even the best sleep system can develop problems. The Better Sleep Council says consumers should ask these questions about their mattress:
- How old is it?
- Is it stained or dirty?
- Does it sag or is it lumpy?
- Are you getting up with unexplained aches and pains, particularly in the back and neck?
- Do you have a partner now or has something major changed about your body?
If you find yourself answering "yes" to several of these questions, it may be time for a mattress change.
Picking Your Dream Bed
Generally speaking, a Cornell University's Ergonomics group suggests your mattress should conform to your spine’s natural curves and keep it in alignment when you lie down. They also recommend that the mattress should distribute pressure evenly across the body to help circulation, decrease body movement and minimize the transfer of movement from one sleeping partner to the other.
When you head to the showroom to test-drive any of the many types of beds available, leave your inhibitions at the door, says Kelly Rampson, director of integrated marketing with Serta International. This is an important decision that can impact all of your waking hours; so don’t be shy.
Rampson advises shoppers to:
- Remove your shoes and lie on the bed.
- Lie down in several different positions, especially the one you sleep in.
- Pay close attention to lower back support and postural alignment, and make sure you feel plenty of comfort at the shoulders and hips.
- Spend several minutes with each bed and evaluate how you feel before moving on to the next one.
By all means, says Rampson, if you have a partner, shop with that person so the selection of your new bed is made together. And don’t be afraid to take your time. At the end of the day, comfort, support and durability are the most important factors to look for first.
After that, take price into consideration, says Rampson. Purchase the best sleep system you can afford. A bed is more than a piece of furniture. It’s your investment in a good night’s sleep.