Endy. Caspar. Serta. Temper-pedic. Inner spring. Pocket Coils. Mattress Toppers. Latex. Memory Foam.
Seems that the universe is telling me something through those targeted Facebook and Google ads everytime I pull up a search for something.
And then I have a patient, Sarah (of course not her real name!!!) who tells me she is going to be buying a new mattress soon and if I have any thoughts or advice. And then I amaze myself by eloquently and succinctly providing a quick 4-point summary of key tips. Of course there are many more details and points of comparison for those who are detail-oriented. Some great places to start gathering this kind of data include The Sleep Judge, The Healthy Back, The Better Sleep Council, Canadian Made Natural Mattresses, Naturpedic and many more.
But for the rest of us, who want the practical tips we can remember while at the store testing out mattresses (ahhh… a lovely idea! Wake me up in a few hours, ok?), here are the key suggestions that I gave Sarah.
1. Decide the type of mattress you want.
Or at least get a general idea of the category. The websites mentioned above are great places to start. But the basic considerations that most average people have include: Innerspring (the coils are connected to each other), Pocket coils (coils are independent from each other), Foam (usually memory foam or basic foam), Natural Fibres (Coir, latex, horse hair, futon, etc).
2. Visit 2-3 stores in person (not the item to simply order online, people!) and literally test out the mattresses they have.
You may be surprised about what you like and don’t like. Try out firm and soft. Mattress toppers and no toppers. Foam and no foam.
But the most important tip here is…. BRING YOUR FAVORITE PILLOW with you! (And FYI if you haven’t replaced your pillow in the last 3 years, it’s time to do that too!) People often look at me strangely at first when I say this, but bear with me…
Sleep comfort is the result of the interaction between you, your mattress, your pillow and your environment (like your blanket, the temperature, noise, etc). Most companies give a 90 day sleep guarantee for a reason. But isn’t it a lot of hassle to bring it home and get the new mattress all settled in, just to realize you hate it with your pillow? So doesn’t it seem reasonable that you simply bring your pillow with you and stretch out on your top choices?
And take the time to relax. Think of it as potentially the most relaxing shopping experience you could possibly “dream” of. And possibly take an eye mask too. Just be prepared when the salesperson wakes you up an hour later to tell you that you are snoring.
3. Consider how you ACTUALLY sleep.
Generally, side sleepers need more independent support in their mattresses. Pocket coils and thicker foam are important here to support all the body curves, like shoulders, hips and waist.
Back and stomach sleepers need more spread out support, like innerspring or thinner foam. (And much smaller pillows too!)
Heavier people may do better with spread out support, like innerspring. However, if there are multiple people in the bed, everyone may end up rolling to the lowest point after a while and the life time of comfort may be significantly reduced.
4. Take the time to compare details.
This can save a lot of money. A lot of stores carry similar mattresses by the same brand under different names. But if you look at the specifications, you may find that they are literally the same thing with a different name. And may be hundreds of dollars different on the price tag. Good news? Most companies will price match. Bad news? You have to actually show the difference and ask for the price match.
And that’s it.
Sweet dreams everyone!
~ Dr Anne ~