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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 11/3/2005

The Right Mattress Promotes a Good Night s Sleep

Do you wake up exhausted, achy and just plain unrested, no matter how many hours of sleep you get? Is your mattress more than nine years old? Does your mattress sag noticeably in the middle? Then you are in the market for a new mattress!

A good mattress is worth the money. Not only will you get a better night s sleep, but you will have a healthier and happier physical and mental well-being.

First, find a store that specifically sells sleep products. A furniture or department store may sell beds, but the salespeople may not be able to answer all your specific questions about mattresses. Also, solicit friends or colleagues for recommendations.

Plan to shop for a mattress when you aren t on a time crunch. You want to be able to try out a few different kinds and not make a rash decision. Also dress for the occasion: Wear loose fitting, pajama-like clothing so you can simulate your sleeping conditions.

Go to the store armed with this checklist.

What do I need it for? Decide what you need the mattress for. If the mattress is for a guest room, you can be more lax in your choice. If you share a bed, you have to reach a compromise with your partner on what you want.

What size do I want? Most people are happier and more comfortable in a bigger bed. It will give you more room to sleep freely and easily. But, sometimes, the bedroom can only fit a twin-size bed, whether you want one or not. So think about what size bed -- twin, twin long, full/double, queen or king -- will fit in your sleeping area.

Do I like how it feels? The best way to test a mattress in a store is to kick off your shoes and lie down on it. Spend 10 to 15 minutes on each mattress to get a good feel for it. It should be firm enough so your back doesn t sag, but not hard as a board. It should conform to the shape of your body in any sort of sleep position (stomach, back, or side), especially the one that you prefer most. It should offer support to parts of the body that need it -- like your back.

Is it a good-quality mattress? Cheaper models are thinner, poorly made and less firm. But higher prices don t always mean a better product. It s wise to stick with a name brand to ensure that you are getting a quality mattress.

What about the coils? The higher the coil count, the more support you will get. A mattress with 300 coils will give you less support than one with 700. But that doesn t mean the one with 300 coils is a poor-quality mattress -- it s just not as firm. Also check the gauge of the coils. The gauge is the number of coils that it would take to make an inch. The heavier the gauge, the more support. Again, a low or high gauge count isn t indicative of the mattresses quality, but its support level.

What is it made of? The ingredients of a mattress determine how comfortable it is. But the choice is up to you. Thin upholstery will make you feel like you are sleeping on a board. A pillow top can give the sensation of sleeping on feathers, and a regular top, something in between. No one is better than another, so choose what feels most comfortable to you.

Is it new? Never purchase a used mattress. Mattresses conform to their users. Plus, a used mattresses could also be full of germs, bugs or dust. Also avoid a rebuilt or reconditioned mattress, which is where a new cover is put over an old one. Once a mattress is used, it s still used, regardless of how it is refurbished.

What does the warranty cover, and what is the return policy? Even if you test out a bed in a store, it s not the same as sleeping on it in your home. Make sure the return policy allows ample time for you to test out the bed. The warranty usually protects you against defects or workmanship mistakes, not loss of comfort or support. But, by that time, you ll be in need of a new bed!

When buying a mattress, always replace your box spring at the same time. The two are a set: The box spring is positioned to support the mattress, so no two brands or styles are exactly alike. Even if you think your box spring is in good shape, it has had the same amount of wear and tear as the mattress you are replacing had.

Here s to a good night s sleep!



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