I spent a day doing what might be worse than a woman trying on bathing suits and that’s trying out mattresses. I hope this helps someone!
I would recommend that you choose no more than two stores maybe three in which to shop. Your head will be spinning even with the help I can give you.
We chose one, Sleepy’s, which only sells mattresses and another, Jordan’s Furniture, which sells both. We were also shopping for bedroom sets and looked at the mattresses in Bernie & Phyl’s but wasn’t impressed with the selection.
Don’t spend too much time researching what people like and don’t like. Even Consumer Reports will not recommend a mattress. It is such an individual decision.
Just for kicks get your sleeping needs diagnosed. We had this done at Sleepy’s. I answered some questions on a computer. The most significant ones were where I felt pain and my age. I then lied down on a special bed. The computer spit out a profile of what kind of Kingsdown bed I should choose. Kingsdown designed this particular computer but what they said can translate to any mattress. You may be told that if you sleep on your belly or side you’ll like a softer mattress. If you have arthritis you’ll need a softer mattress and one that doesn’t move if your partner of children decide to use it as a trampoline. You may be told that if you are a back sleeper a firm mattress will be best.
The sleep technician at Jordan’s didn’t do a diagnostic test though they have a computer available. She told us that she prefers to ask questions and based on our answers would recommend several mattresses. Her suggestions were excellent. She told us that lying down on a mattress is the only way to test out if it’s right for us and having a technician who knows what she is doing work with us.
You will learn what I wish I had known. There are essentially three types of mattresses. They are foam (Latex is a type of foam.), coil and the sleep number.
In Sleepy’s we tried several brands of beds. My husband seemed to like a firm bed and I liked a soft or Plush bed. We compromised on Simmons Beauty Rest that wasn’t the firmest nor was it the softest. We were going to get a great deal on this – in the $900 range though we weren’t ready to buy.
We discounted Kingsdown and Temperpedic at Sleepy’s as well as a sleep number. The way the sleep number beds works is via air chambers which offer support and with an easy to use gizmo that can be adjusted. I did like the fact that I could adjust my side differently than my husband’s side but we didn’t like the way it felt. For you though a sleep number bed may be just what the doctor ordered.
We learned from both these woman too much information to write here and probably too much that is even necessary to know because your needs will be different from mine.
We learned that both the latex and foam mattresses are naturally resistant to dust mites, mold and mildew. I liked that feature a lot. Traditional mattresses have coils. For many people coils are great. In fact I did do some research before I went and found that many people liked Beautyrest was terrific for couples as long as one didn’t weigh more than 250 pounds. I also learned that in spite of the popular foam mattressed coil mattresses are still the most purchased type.
Then we come to the Temperpedic which is foam like a latex mattress but it has a memory so it is said to spring back better than latex. Note that many mattresses don’t get flipped over like the old ones did. We still flip our 30-year old mattress so I’m looking forward to not having to do that anymore.
The warranties on the mattresses were similar with an average of about 15 years however listen to the technician. Some coil mattresses will be warranted for example only if the indentation is at least 1 inch others 2 inches.
Each store will have their own guarantee policy and some brands have their own. The Temperpedic in Jordan’s had an unusual guarantee. Since it can take four to six weeks to get used to a Termperpedic you cannot return it until at least 30 days and have up to 60 days. There will be a fee of about $100 or more if you return it and then you’ll get a credit and not your money back.
I found it helpful to eliminate some beds based on price. No matter how comfortable the $3500 bed was it was out of our price range. Temperpedic has a fixed rate so there is no negotiating as there was with the Beautyrest. You may be able to get a package with a pillow, bed cover and a teddy bear but you’ll have to ask.
Once we got to Jordan’s furniture we had been educated on the difference among the types of mattresses and were ready for Jordan’s sleep technician to help us. She was excellent and patient. She seemed to know just what direction to point us in. After trying out the a couple of latex and Beautyrest mattresses we eliminated the latex. For us latex just wasn’t as comfortable however we liked the lack of coils and mites.
Note that now there are very few manufacturers who use box springs. Your mattress which will be quite thick sits on a platform that if you feel it is as hard as a board making no difference if you want to put your mattress on a platform bed. In fact if you do you won’t buy the box and save yourself a couple of hundred dollars.
We went from the coil to the foam several times. We had picked out the coil mattress with which we would go and we picked out the foam mattress based on price and comfort. Going back and forth between the two it became clear that the Temperpedic was the bed for us and actually the bed the technician thought it would be the best for us right from the beginning though never stated it overtly since she didn’t want to influence us with her own preferences.
If you are wondering about Bob’s Discount Furniture’s copy of the Temperpedic I’ll share with you that we went there as well. It’s $1,000 less and just as comfortable. There are many on the market that compete with Temperpedic making me wonder why this company is raising their prices $300 very soon. Bob’s mattress is made overseas. The Temperpedic, which originated in Sweden, is made in the United States which appeals to me.
Many beds now come with attached pillow tops. I find these very comfortable. Temperpedic’s least expensive pillow topper mattress was around $3200. We were going to buy one without a pillow topper for $1500. Bob-O-Pedic’s Celestial Firm Top sells for $1500. In other words we could get one perhaps not quite as amazing at Temperpedic’s pillow topper but close to it and at the same price as a Temperpedic that didn’t have a pillow topper. This is a personal choice but no matter what bed I tried I liked having the pillow topper.
You definitely want a mattress cover which will run you about $60. Stains on the mattress will void the warranty.
My final thoughts
You will have choices depending on the brand. Kingsdown uses numbers and colors to determine their beds. You may find soft, medium, firm or very firm in the latex line and words like plush in many cases or in the case of the Beautyrest names such as the one we were looking at called Kinard.
I learned that the foam mattresses provide less movement so if you have a partner and are a light sleeper you may wake up less often if he or she rolls around or gets out of bed. I learned that a foam mattress should have a density of at least 5.3 pounds per cubic feet.
I learned that foam mattresses are made with either viscoelastic (The “best” and most expensive.) or polyurethane which it seems may not hold up as well as viscoelastic. Note that a viscoelastic memory-foam mattress can be affected by cold weather, making it feel firmer. The mattress will feel softer once it warms from body contact. I asked Annette in Jordan’s if my hot flashes would impact the foam or if the mattress would trigger them. She said she is asked that a lot and her answer was no to both. My body heat wouldn’t ruin the mattress and it would take a long time in heat for the foam to see any permanent effects of warm weather. Latex foam isn’t as affected by room temperature.
The most important lesson I can share is to find a knowledgeable technician who has as much time to spend with you as you need (2 hours!) and can give you pointers that make sense. For example although my husband thought he liked firm beds we realized that the bed we were sleeping in all summer which is very firm caused him to wake up with a sore hip. At the time we thought nothing of it. Now we are convinced that a softer mattress may very well eliminate some of that soreness.
Update and the most important information I have to share: Something was bothering me last night about both technicians saying that mattresses now had to be flame retardant. They both seemed happy about it. This was combined with a conversation with my mom about the general safety factors of items made overseas and my curiosity about really what foam was. I learned a lot! The bottom line however is that latex is an organic (made from a tree) product and some manufacturers used organic material surrounding the latex. The fact the latex is not in any way treated with – Boric Acid – that’s right – the stuff you kill cockroaches with – sold me on latex. It may not have been as comfortable as viscoelastic but it is what I will be buying.
Good luck and if you have any tips to share or a mattress you love leave a comment.