Buying a new mattress is a lot like buying car insurance. Comparing features and prices from brand to brand is challenging because there are so many variables. Innerspring or latex, organic or natural, euro-top, pillow-top or luxury-plush – the combinations of what’s inside your mattress are endless. And because buying a new bed isn’t a frequent purchase (thank goodness!), the learning curve will always be painful.
Sorting through the clutter of information in the mattress industry and hone in on what matters to you – a GREAT night’s sleep – will help you make an informed purchase. Before visiting a mattress retailer, arm yourself with common sense and learn the difference between myth and truth. And if you’re curious about what mattress is best for your age and stage of life, these will help.
Mattress myth 1 – Replace your mattress every 8 years
The Better Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress every 7-10 years, depending on comfort and support. The truth is that the life of a mattress varies wildly, which depends on how you take care of it, how you sleep on it and how often you rotate it.
Think of your mattress as performance gear for your sleep. Just like a good pair of running shoes can help you run faster and prevent injuries, a supportive mattress can deliver better, healthier sleep. You’ll know when it’s time to shop for a new mattress based on how you feel when you wake up.
Mattress myth 2 – A firm mattress is the best mattress for your back
To minimize pain and discomfort and help your body relax into healing, regenerative sleep, you need a mattress that conforms to your favorite sleeping positions while supporting all areas of your body – conformability and support. In general, mattresses fall into three categories.
- Soft mattresses tend to conform to your shape but fail to deliver uniform support across the entire body.
- Medium-firm mattresses tend to deliver equally on conformability and support and alleviate pressure point pain in most people.
- Very firm mattresses offer good support but little (if any) conformability, which can lead to pressure point pain.
Mattress myth 3 – The right mattress will prevent tossing and turning
Babies start rolling over in their sleep at around 4 months of age and by adulthood, we’re moving as much as 75 times a night – whether it’s a simple twitch or a full-out roll. We move during the night to alleviate pressure point pain and to reduce stress and strain on our backs and joints. A good mattress will reduce how much you move at night by providing pressure point relief, which will allow you to slip into deeper, healing REM sleep.
Mattress myth 4 – Your new mattress should be a perfect fit from the first time you sleep on it
Most people need at least a month to adjust their bodies to a new sleep surface. Considering how long we spend in bed in a 24 hour period, it’s no wonder that our muscles and joints have a memory of how to find the most comfortable spot on the mattress. Does that mean you should only buy from a mattress retailer that offers a comfort guarantee? Not necessarily. If you’ve done your research, shopped around and spent time testing out a variety of mattresses, your mattress purchase should be a natural progression of those activities.
Mattress myth 5 – A mattress should be flipped every few months to keep it in good condition
Most mattresses today are made one-sided, which means they should never be flipped. So, how can you ensure maximum enjoyment of your mattress and reduce body impressions?
- Sleep in a variety of positions and places on the mattress so the entire surface compresses evenly.
- Rotate your mattress monthly for the first 6 months and quarterly after that.
Please note: when you first start sleeping on your new mattress, rotate every two weeks for the first two months. And remember that body impression is normal up to 1 ½ inch and not a structural defect. The upholstery materials are conforming to the weight and shape of your body, which is a good thing.
Mattress myth 6 – Buy a mattress with the longest warranty possible
Mattress warranties do not refer to the life expectancy of your purchase. The warranty covers workmanship and materials and just like many products used with extreme regularity, you’ll notice wear and tear before you reach the end of the warranty.
When buying a new mattress, read the warranty carefully even though there’s very little difference in the terms and conditions of warranties from manufacturer to manufacturer. It’s good to note that transportation costs (to and from the factory) are usually not covered in the case of repair or replacement. As well, a new warranty is normally not issued when the mattress is replaced.
Mattress myth 7 – It’s against the law to remove the law tag on your mattress
The warning against removing the law tag of your new mattress tag can be intimidating. The truth is that once you’ve bought the mattress and it’s in your home, you can do whatever you want with it. But if you ever need to file a warranty claim, it needs to be attached to the mattress because it contains critical information that will help the manufacturer process your claim.
What’s the cost of a good night’s sleep? If you spent $2,000 on a new mattress (for example) and slept comfortably on that mattress for 7 years, the cost of healthy sleep would be $1.27 per night – much less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee in the morning…