Bed Check

Making the right mattress choice will help you get a good night’s sleep

By Cheryl Alexander

When it comes to saving on a mattress, major holidays, Black Friday and Cyber Monday might be the first thing that comes to mind. But according to, May is possibly one of the best times of the year to get a good deal. Not only do you have Memorial Day weekend sales, but new models are introduced in the spring, leaving last year’s designs up for grabs at a discount. Purchasing a mattress is a long-term investment, so here’s a guide to help you organize and prioritize the details so you can sleep at night.

Factors to Consider

Support: You want a mattress that holds you in proper alignment from head to toe so you don’t wake up with a backache.

Comfort: You want a mattress that creates minimal pressure on your body, so you don’t spend the night tossing and turning.

Motion & Separation: You want to minimize motion transfer if you share a bed. If your partner gets in or out of bed or changes positions, you risk being wakened. Try the mattress in the store with your
partner and have your partner switch positions while your back is turned to see how much motion you feel.

Temperature: You want to lessen heat retention in the mattress. Most good beds have features to alleviate this (advanced foams, phase change materials, ventilation, etc.)

Edge Support: You want strong edge support on your mattress, particularly if you sleep near the
edge or sit on the edge of the bed often. Most innerspring mattresses use an upgraded foam encasement around the edge, but some less expensive mattresses only use a thin steel rod. Memory foam mattresses don’t typically have separate edge support due to the nature of the foam (it’s designed to take the shape of your body, even when you’re just sitting on it).

Types of Mattresses

There are three basic categories of mattresses:

  • Specialty foam: These are usually made of latex and memory foam.
  • Innerspring: These are the traditional mattresses with springs (or coils if you prefer). They can be all tied together or individually wrapped.
  • Hybrid: Recently, brands have introduced “hybrid” options for people interested in aspects of both foam and innerspring.

Where to Shop

Shop in the store if you want to experience the options and lie down before buying. Shop sales, and don’t be afraid to negotiate. Most stores will set up your new mattress and remove your old one. Don’t rush. A big mistake is quickly lying down on several mattresses to find the one that feels best. Take at least 10 minutes to test your top three to determine if you feel any pressure or pain.

If you find decision-making difficult, you might want to consider shopping online. Depending on the company, shipping, in-home setup, removal of your old mattress, and money-back guarantees might be included. Finally, whether it is in-store or online, make sure you understand warranties and return policies before purchasing.

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