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Q. What’s the best mattress?
A. The answer is a matter of individual taste. What’s best for me may not be best for you. When it comes to mattresses, there is no one-size-fits-all. After all, we’re all built differently and have different comfort and support preferences, so why would the same mattress be “best” for all of us?
To determine the mattress that’s best for you, we recommend using the process of elimination to weed out the ones you don’t like. Come into one of our outlet stores and use the “rest test” to narrow down your choices. As you lie down on the mattresses, pay attention to three of the mattress’s most important features: comfort, support and space. The mattress that best fulfills the combination of these needs is the “best” mattress for you. If you sleep with a partner, bring that person with you to test out the mattresses. After all, you will need to reconcile what you like best with what your partner likes best.
Q. How can you best shop for mattresses?
A. You need to understand your needs before you start shopping. We recommend that you think about your lifestyle. How has it changed since you last bought a mattress and how might these changes affect your purchase? And what about your body? Has it changed and how has this affected your needs for support or your comfort preferences? Finally, think about space needs and if you have a partner, take your partner with you to shop for a new mattress. It’s important to find something to meet both your support needs and comfort preferences. Armed with this information, come into one of our outlet stores, where someone who will answer your questions with information. Then, take a “rest test” to compare the feel of different mattresses by lying down on them. You will quickly find some mattresses you like and others that do not meet your personal comfort preferences and support needs. Through this process of elimination, you can determine which mattresses you like best.
Q. How often should mattresses be replaced? How long do they last?
How can you tell when a mattress is “used up?”
A. Your body should tell you when it’s time for a new one – but are you paying attention? If you regularly wake up feeling stiff and sore or if you aren’t sleeping as well as you did a year ago, it may be time to replace what you’re sleeping on. At least twice a year, check for visible signs of wear and tear and ask yourself if you’re sleeping better or worse than you did a year ago and if a new mattress might improve your sleep. This regular sleep check-up will help ensure your mattress is still doing its job.
With most products, it’s fairly obvious when a replacement is needed. If it no longer works or has signs of wear and tear that impair its ability, you know its time for a new one. However, realizing that it is time for a new mattress and foundation isn’t always so obvious. Similar to your favorite old chair or worn pair of shoes, your mattress can still feel comfortable long after it has lost its ability to provide your body with the proper support and comfort it needs. Because sleep is so critical to our ability to function and feel our best, it is important to evaluate your sleep set on a regular basis.
Mattresses wear out on different timetables. This is due to numerous factors such as how the mattress was used (guest room, master bedroom, doubled as a trampoline for the kids), whether it was cared for properly and/or the quality of the mattress itself. Other important considerations are how personal comfort levels or a person’s lifestyle and body may have changed over the years. We encourage you to think about these things and ask yourself the following questions:
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, then it’s time to consider purchasing a new mattress. And because people tend to overlook their mattresses and don’t think about them, we recommend that you “check” your mattress using these four questions on a regular basis – at least twice a year – to make sure mattress wear and tear isn’t sneaking up on you and disrupting your sleep.
Signs You May Need a New Mattress and Foundation (box spring):
*How long a mattress will last depends on several factors, such as amount of use and original quality, but in general, a mattress set that has been in use 5-7 years is no longer providing you with the best comfort and support. Keep in mind that people’s bodies change over time, and the need for good comfort and support only increases with age. That’s why it’s a good idea to compare the mattress and foundation you are sleeping on now to newer models every few years.
Q. What should people look for in a new mattress?
A. Four keys to keep in mind are support, comfort, space and matching sets. The mattress that’s right for you will keep your spine in proper alignment – how your spine is when it’s in good standing posture – supporting your body and cradling it along its curves. The right mattress will also be comfortable for your body. Keep in mind that your comfort preferences are likely to change as you age. Make sure the mattress provides enough space for easy, free movement. Couples should sleep on a queen or king-size mattress. And keep in mind that a mattress and foundation are designed to work together. Buy them as a set and get the most out of your investment in yourself. An old foundation won’t provide your new mattress with the proper amount of support. Mattress makers are also going to new heights, literally, when it comes to building top quality mattresses, adding in so many extra comfort layers that they can be 14, 15 or 16 inches thick, sometimes more. New technologies are also giving consumers a choice between mattresses that perform best with regular turning and single-sided designs that don’t need to be turned.
Q. What should people do to prepare for buying a new mattress?
A. Assess your needs before you start shopping. Think about your lifestyle. How has it changed since you last bought a mattress and how might these changes affect your purchase? And what about your body? Has it changed and how has this affected your need for support or your comfort preferences? Finally, think about space needs and take your partner with you (if you have one) when you shop for your mattress. You need to find something to meet both your support needs and comfort preferences.
Q. What is the best way to try a mattress?
A. The best way to try a mattress is to take the “SLEEP Test”:
Select a mattress
Lie down in your sleep position
Evaluate the level of comfort and support
Educate yourself about each selection
Partners should try each mattress together
Don’t be embarrassed. You don’t think twice about test driving a car, and you shouldn’t think twice about “SLEEP Testing” a mattress. Lie down on the mattress for several minutes and assess how well it provides support and how comfortable it is for you. The only way to tell if a mattress is right for you is to lie down on it.
You should remove your shoes and lay down on several different models in various positions, especially the one you usually sleep in. Pay special attention to the support at the lower back, postural alignment (as if you were standing) and level of comfort at the shoulders and hips. Those few extra minutes of focusing on the “feel” of different mattress choices can save a lot of time later. Remember, too, that you’ll spend nearly a third of every day on this new mattress – consider this an investment in a good night’s sleep and a good start to every day. What’s more, consumer research shows that nearly 90% of the people who buy a mattress are very satisfied with their choice afterwards, many reporting that a better mattress translates into better sleep.
Q. How much money should be spent on a mattress?
A. Your rest – the amount and quality of your sleep – is a critical factor in your overall well-being. It can affect how you feel physically and mentally as well as your productivity. Accordingly, we urge you to invest in your rest, and spend enough on a mattress to ensure that your individual comfort and support needs are being met. Be sure not to shortchange yourself out of a good, quality night’s sleep and buy the best mattress you can afford. The average person spends one-third of his or her life in bed. This equals 220,000 hours over the course of a lifetime! And the mattress is the most used piece of furniture in the home.
When comparing, remember that a “bargain” mattress and foundation are no bargain when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Considering that you’ll probably be using your bed more than any other product you own – including your car, TV, computer or cell phone – the mattress you sleep on is one of the best cost-per-day values on the market today. Buy the best you can afford.
Q. What Should You Look for When Buying a Mattress?
A. Most important is your comfort and support, but you should also consider how long you plan to use it and what size you need:
COMFORT. Gone are the days when a mattress had to be hard-as-a-board to be good for you. A too-hard mattress may only succeed in putting your shoulders and hips to sleep. You’ll sleep best when your bed helps you feel cradled in comfort, cozy and secure. Today’s top quality mattress/foundation ensembles are built for superior comfort. Luxurious new cushioning materials and extra-soft surface treatments create a plusher, more comfortable feel.
SUPPORT. Correct support is the essential ingredient for a healthy body. A good mattress and foundation will gently support your body at all points and keep your spine in the same shape as a person with good standing posture. Pay special attention to your shoulders, hips, and lower back—the heaviest parts. If there’s too little support, you can develop back pain. But if the mattress is too hard for you, you can experience uncomfortable pressure. A word about “firm.” Don’t rely on product labels to tell you which mattress will give you the right support. One manufacturer’s “firm” may feel harder than another’s “extra firm.” The only way to find out if the support is right is to lie down and try.
DURABILITY. It’s the quality of the materials used and how they’re put together that determine how long a mattress and foundation will provide the comfort and support you bought them for. The best assurance of good performance over a good many years is to buy the highest quality sleep set you can afford. A word about the warranty. Don’t look to the warranty to tell you how long to keep your mattress and foundation. It’s there to protect you against product defects, not against the gradual loss of comfort and support. A sleep set may still be usable after 15 or 20 years, but it’s not giving you the good night’s sleep you deserve.
SPACE. Cramped quarters can turn sleeping into a nightly wrestling match. A healthy sleeper moves anywhere from 40-60 times a night, including some dozen full body turns. You need freedom of motion while you sleep and to help you relax while getting to sleep.
Q. Does softer mean less support?
A. Not with a new mattress. Innovations in coil constructions and a new generation of foams have made it possible for mattresses to offer a wide range of surface softness options without sacrificing the deep-down support that your body needs.
Q. What Types of Mattresses are out There?
A. There are a wide variety of choices:
INNERSPRING. The most widely purchased type of bedding uses the support of tempered steel coils in a variety of configurations. Layers of upholstery provide insulation and cushioning between your body and the spring unit. The result of this basic approach, coupled with state-of-the-art technology, is a full range of comfort choices. Quality tip: You can’t judge the quality of a mattress solely on the number of coils it contains. A high coil count doesn’t automatically mean it’s a better product. It’s a combination of top quality innerspring system and superior upholstery materials that makes the difference. The number of coils does not directly correlate to how firm the mattress feels.
FOAM. Solid foam mattresses also offer a wide choice of “feels”. They can be made of a solid core or of several layers of different types of foam laminated together. Advanced technology in polyurethane foams, refinements to traditional latex foams and the new viscoelastic (“memory”) foams have added to the choice of comfort, support and performance.
Pillow top mattresses are among the most popular designs in sleeping luxury, offering an extra layer of soft cushioning that looks much like a comforter attached to the mattress surface. A wide selection of luxury materials are now used in mattress construction, including everything from natural fibers like cotton and wool to 21st century technologies such as foams that mold to the body. Mattresses made with these visco-elastic (“memory”) foams are also among today’s most popular designs.
FOUNDATION. A good foundation (box spring) is as important as a good mattress. Don’t put a new mattress on an old foundation. A mattress and foundation are engineered to work together as a set, and the foundation takes a lot of the nightly wear and tear and contributes to the bed’s overall comfort and support. Putting a new mattress on an old foundation, pairing it with a foundation it wasn’t designed to work with or adding a board between the mattress and foundation will impede comfort and reduce the useful life of your new mattress. A “platform” bed with a proper support slat or decking system will also work just as well with your new mattress as a good foundation box.
FUTONS. Futons are a popular alternative for those who need a sofa by day and a mattress by night. The mattresses must be very flexible, so they are typically made of cotton, synthetic fibers and foam in various combinations. Some also have specially-designed inner spring units. The futon is designed to support sitting as well as sleeping.
Don’t Forget The Pillow. Just as your bed should provide good support for your body, your pillow should give you the right cushioning to position your head and neck properly. It should hold your head in the same relation to your shoulders and spine as if you were standing with correct upright posture. If you sleep on your side, you may want a fairly firm pillow to give your head and neck extra support. If you sleep on your back, try a medium-firm pillow to cradle your head with more “give”. And if you sleep on your stomach (although some physicians caution against this position), choose a soft pillow to lessen the strain on your neck.
Q. What are the “body impressions”? Is it normal for my mattress to
A. Many of today’s top-quality mattresses use technologically advanced foams and fibers that are designed to be softer and more comfortable while ensuring your body has the support you need for good health. By cradling your body, these materials relieve pressure and are so comfortable that you’ll probably toss and turn less in the night. For that reason, in the first few weeks you sleep on a new mattress that offers these extra comfort layers, you will likely notice some body impressions on the mattress surface. These impressions are normal and shouldn’t be considered a sign that something is wrong with your new mattress. Unless your mattress care instructions indicate otherwise, you may want to rotate your mattress from end-to-end and from top-to-bottom. After a few weeks, the impressions will begin to smooth out and, over time, disappear.
Q. Will my sheets fit my new mattress?
A. Mattresses have gotten more comfortable over the past decade, and in many cases, they have also gotten thicker as more layers of surface cushioning have been added. Mattress shoppers are often concerned that they won’t be able to find sheets to fit these plush, extra-thick models. But fortunately, bed linens have adapted to these state-of- the-art mattresses and foundations. Sheets, comforters and mattress pads for these new, thicker mattresses are readily available, and often noted on packaging as compatible with “extra deep” mattresses or featuring “deep pocket” construction. In fact, bed linens today are offered in a wide range of sizes, from standard to extra deep, with specialty sizes designed for futons, day beds, flotation beds and even dorm mattresses. Whatever your choice, rest assured there are linens made to fit just right.
Q. What should I do to take care of a new mattress?
A. Consider your new mattress and foundation as “sleep equipment” that needs to be cared for in order to assure the best hygiene and performance. It’s important to follow mattress care instructions from the maker of your mattress as products vary greatly. However in general it’s important to know about the following:
Q. Why is sleep important?
A. Sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. Like eating right and exercising, sleeping well is essential to feeling your best during the day. It affects how you feel, your relationships, your productivity and your quality of life. While you sleep, your brain goes to work, consolidating the day’s learning into memory and reenergizing the body.
Q. Is it true that napping can be bad for you?<
br/> A. There’s nothing wrong with taking a short nap to help refresh you during the day. But if you find you’re napping all the time, it could be a sign that you aren’t getting as much sleep as you should. Or that you’re not getting the deep, restful sleep you need at night.
Q. Does the mattress affect how a person sleeps?
A. Yes. The mattress has the potential either to encourage sleep or rob you of sleep. Whether your mattress is a sleep friend or a sleep foe can determine how refreshed you feel in the morning. If you’re tossing and turning more at night or if you’re waking up feeling stiff or sore after a night’s sleep, it could be a sign that your current mattress is no longer the best for you. Your body appreciates a comfortable, supportive mattress and will let you know if it’s not up to the task.
Q. How much sleep does the average person need?
A. The average person needs 7-8 hours a night, but it differs for every person. Some people may need as much as 10 hours a night and others need much less. If you sleep longer on the weekends than during the week, you probably aren’t getting the sleep you need every night.
Q. What are some ways to get a better night’s sleep?
A. A few key things should help. Try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day – even on the weekends. This will help keep your biological clock in sync. Develop a sleep ritual by doing the same things each night just before bed. Parents often establish a routine for their kids, but it can help adults, too. A routine cues the body to settle down for the night. Another hint: Unwind early in the evening so that worries and distractions don’t keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. Finally, create a restful sleep environment – sleep in a cool, quiet, dark room on a comfortable, supportive mattress and foundation – to get your best night’s rest. If you’re sleeping as much as you need, but still find that you’re sleepy during the day, you should consult your doctor to see if you might have a medical condition interfering with your sleep.
Q. What’s the right amount of sleep?
A. It differs for every person. Some people may need as much as 10 hours a night and others need much less. The average person needs 7-8 hours a night. If you find yourself sleepy during the day, you probably need more sleep at night. Or if you sleep longer on the weekends than during the week, you probably need more sleep during the week.
Q. What can shift workers or people who work at night do to sleep
A. Anyone who sleeps during the day needs to make sure their room is dark – use heavy window coverings to block out the light. This is important for everyone, but particularly for people who sleep when it’s bright outside. Also, make sure your room is cool, between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 18 degrees Celsius). Sleep on a comfortable, supportive mattress and foundation that offers you enough space to move around comfortably. And sleep in a room that’s quiet. The sleep environment is a very controllable part of good sleep – whether you’re sleeping during the day or at night. You can adjust the temperature, replace an uncomfortable or worn-out mattress, block out noise with earplugs or a white noise machine and keep light from your bedroom with dark blinds or eye shades.
Q. Is there a problem with falling asleep on the sofa watching
television, not falling asleep in bed?
A. If you regularly fall asleep on your sofa, you may not be getting as much sleep as you need at night in your bed. Or maybe your sofa is more comfortable than your bed! In either case, you should make sure to practice good sleep habits – from sleeping on a comfortable, supportive mattress to not drinking alcohol too close to bedtime. And try to get more sleep – it may change how you feel during the day.
Q. What if there’s no time for sleep? What can people do to sleep
A. Sleep needs to be a health priority. It affects every aspect of your day-to-day living. If you can’t say “yes” to sleep, make sure to make the most out of the sleep you get. Exercise regularly – people who exercise a few times a week sleep better than people who don’t. Also, avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco products late in the day. All can interfere with sleep. You need to create a restful sleep environment so the sleep you get is restorative and uninterrupted. Sleep in a dark room, on a comfortable, supportive mattress. Keep the room cool and quiet. And if you find yourself too stressed to sleep, make a list of all the things you need to do. Once you’ve made your to-do list, give yourself permission to relax and sleep. You’ll need the energy to tackle your tasks in the morning.
Q. Can people make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping in
A. No. If you sleep more on the weekends than during the week – and many of us do – this indicates that you have a “sleep debt.” A sleep debt accumulates when you don’t get enough sleep. The only way to reduce the debt is to sleep as much as your body needs every night. Make sure you’re getting the right quality of sleep as well. Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room on a comfortable, supportive mattress to get your best night’s sleep.