A good mattress can go a long way to ensuring you get a good night’s sleep.
Finding a mattress you find comfortable and suits your budget can be tricky.
Five minutes of feeling things out on a bustling show floor won’t help you figure out which brands and models are comfortable and long lasting.
We can help you work out what type and size of mattress is best for you, and even how to save 50% or more on your next purchase.
Looking for mattresses?
We’ve tested to find you the best.
How to choose a comfortable mattress
Comfort is subjective, but understanding mattress firmness and the differences in mattress type will help you narrow the field when it comes to testing a mattress instore.
How firm should my mattress be?
It all comes down to your preferred sleeping position:
- Firm: If you sleep on your stomach, a firm mattress will keep your spine aligned.
- Medium: If you sleep on your back, it’ll provide support for your spine, back and neck while keeping you comfortable.
- Soft: Great for sleeping on your side because it’ll support and contour your body’s curves.
But be warned: we’ve found that most retailers’ firmness claims don’t match the bed being sold. We do body support and stability tests when we test mattresses, so check out our mattress reviews to see what we found.
If you’re a side sleeper, a soft mattress will support your body’s curves.
What type of mattress is best?
It really depends on your personal preference. For example, you may find a spring mattress supports your spine while a foam finish feels a bit too solid.
We explain the pros and cons, and price range, for the different types of mattresses.
There are two types of coil mattresses:
- Continuous coil mattresses are made from a single piece of wire looped into springs.
- Open-coil mattresses are made of single springs fixed together by one wire.
- $400 to $10,000*
- They’re usually lighter than other options.
- Typically cheaper.
- Can wear out quickly.
- Because the springs move as one unit the mattress is less responsive to your body.
- Any tossing and turning is likely to disturb a partner.
- Springs can rust.
* Typical retail for a queen-sized mattress.
Topped with a layer of temperature-sensitive viscoelastic material, aka memory foam.
- Absorbs your weight as you sink in, taking pressure off your joints and increasing circulation.
- Can mould to the shape of your body.
- No risk of rust (if foam only).
- Can make you feel "encased".
- Can feel too solid and dense (not springy). Not likely to please someone wanting a softer, more cushioned night’s sleep.
- Can get warm easily due to limited air circulation.
- Can be cumbersome to move due to their weight and heft.
* Typical retail for a queen-sized mattress.
A blend of natural and synthetic latex that moulds to body shape.
- Durable and breathable.
- Better for people with allergies.
- Doesn’t gather dust mites.
- Has a solid feel, so they’re not likely to please someone wanting a softer, more cushioned night’s sleep.
- Can be cumbersome to move due to their weight and heft.
- Cheaper versions can get lumpy after a time.
* Typical retail for a queen-sized mattress.
Has up to 3000 springs sewn into individual fabric pockets.
- Good air circulation.
- Firmness can be set by tweaking spring tension (by manufacturer).
- Good support by distributing your body weight evenly.
- Can support two people of two different body weights well because the springs are separate.
- Can be heavy to turn, as they’re filled with natural materials, such as lambswool.
- Natural materials can exacerbate allergies.
- Springs can rust.
* Typical retail for a queen-sized mattress.
These combine elements of memory foam and spring mattresses. They have the same pros and cons.
What size mattress do I need?
Retailers and manufacturers recommend buying the largest bed your room can accommodate, and the length of the mattress should be at least 10–15 centimetres longer than the tallest person sleeping on it.
|Size||Measurements (W x L)|
|Single||92 x 187cm|
|Single extra long||92 x 203cm|
|King single||106 x 203cm|
|Double||137 x 187cm|
|Queen||153 x 203cm|
|King||183 x 203cm|
How to test a mattress instore
- Take your time: Most people need seven to nine hours sleep a night. A couple of minutes on your back won’t come close to replicating this experience. Lie down for as long as you need – though you probably shouldn’t spend the night.
- Move about: Roll over, sit up, get in and out of the bed. Ease of movement contributes to comfort. It will take more effort if the mattress is too soft, and will feel uncomfortable on your hips and shoulders if it’s too firm.
- Sleep on slats (or a base): Make sure the bed base in the shop is similar to the one you have at home. If you have fixed slats or a hard surface, a soft mattress will feel very different on top of that, rather than the ensemble base it’s resting on in the shop.
- Bring your partner: If you share a bed with someone regularly or every night, bring them along and ask them to lie in the bed and move around. Be aware of how the bed moves on your side when your partner moves.
- Don’t shop tired: All the mattresses will feel great if you’re already sleepy!
- Ask the salesperson to leave: While they may be friendly and helpful, few of us are able to really relax when someone is hovering around.
- Ask questions about the display model: The mattress you test in store could have been on display for two days, two weeks or even two months, with hundreds of customers potentially trying them out over that period. This will affect sag, firmness, support and so on.
- Ask if there’s a comfort guarantee:Most manufacturers don’t offer a guarantee on comfort, so you probably can’t return it if it doesn’t feel right. That said, there are a few brands that do, so it always pays to ask. Jump to Can I return a mattress? for more info.
Take your time when buying a mattress in store, and don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson to leave you to it.
How to get the best deal on a mattress
Retailers leave a significant amount of wiggle room in the price. In fact, you’re getting ripped off if you settle for RRP.
We shaved at least half and even two-thirds off the asking price while shopping for most of the mattresses in our recent tests by using the following tricks:
- Wait for a sale: They take place regularly and can bring the price down by as much as 50%.
- Head in store: Deals are generally better instore than online.
- Haggle: We rarely encountered a salesperson who wasn’t willing to shave a few hundred dollars off the asking price, even during a sale.
- Buy in bulk: Our discounts improved when we bought at least two beds at once, which may be handy if you’re refurnishing a house.
- Consider exclusive ranges: Retailers such as Snooze, Forty Winks and Fantastic stock exclusive brands. We found that salespeople are much more inclined to sell these over third-party brands. Snooze, for example, offered us a much better discount on their exclusive Madison range when we expressed interest in buying a Sealy.
Retailers leave a significant amount of wiggle room in the price. In fact, you’re getting ripped off if you settle for RRP.
How to haggle
Haggling can be tricky, particularly if you’re not overly confident. But you don’t need to be a smooth-talking, wheeling and dealing sort to take advantage of potential savings.
After a little back-and-forward with salespeople, we asked this question:
- "What’s the best you can do?"
That’s it – or some sort of variant.
Remember, you’re there to buy, they’re there to sell. You’re not establishing a lifelong friendship, and they’re not going to throw you out for asking.
Mattress mark-ups are so high, you don’t need to do much when it comes to saving money, which is why this question works.
Should I buy a mattress in store or online?
Bed in a box is an online only mattress industry. Manufacturers cut out the middleman by selling directly to the consumer, and they deliver compressed mattresses to your door in a box, hence the name. Once opened, the mattresses slowly expand into the full size (single, double, queen etc).
- As well as being a cheaper, and much more convenient, almost all brands let you assess the mattress after purchasing.
- If you don’t like it, you can return it for a refund, making the purchase more or less risk free.
However, this does not mean online shopping is always the best option.
Buying your mattress instore
- Can try before you buy.
- Opportunity to haggle.
- Lots of options from multiple brands in one place.
- Point of return if faulty.
- Many types available.
- Generally no trial period (some exceptions such as Forty Winks).
- Can’t change your mind once it’s used.
- Shady sales practices (e.g. tested firmness doesn’t match advertised firmness).
- Sales situations can be high pressure.
- Need to take it home or pay extra for delivery.
Buying your mattress online
- Delivered to your door.
- Trial period (e.g. Koala allows 120 days, no questions asked returns).
- Can change your mind.
- No pressure to buy.
- Sold at set price. No ability to haggle.
- You need to buy the mattress before trying it.
- Forced to trust manufacturer claims regarding firmness, comfort etc.
- Can be harder to return (than a traditional retailer).
- Mostly limited to foam mattresses (small number of spring mattresses available)
Bed in a box brands however, offer home trial periods that range from 30, to more than 100 nights. If you’re unhappy with your purchase, you can exchange the mattress for a different model (if available), or a full refund.
- It takes a few nights, minimum, to adjust to a new mattress.
- You aren’t forced to speculate and make a snap decision that you may later regret.
- You may come to like a bed that initially felt uncomfortable. This is another reason why our out of the box comfort results are not the defining scores in our test.
- It significantly reduces the financial risks involved.
See our mattress reviews to find out how long the different retailers give you to try the mattress at home and still return it.
Can I return a mattress?
Making a warranty claim on your mattress
This can be tricky, because arguments regarding comfort, faults and so on can be considered subjective, or part of ‘normal wear and tear’.
And while most mattresses have a 10-year warranty period, the small print is often overflowing with restrictions and conditions.
Take SleepMaker for example. While their warranty covers manufacturing faults, theywon’t protect against:
- a reasonable level of dipping (25–35mm)
- comfort concern as a result of product selection
- heat issues.
These are just some of the terms, but they illustrate the grey areas consumers can find themselves in.
As our investigation into spring mattresses found, advertised and tested firmness rarely match up, and it’s likely that your purchase may not be as comfortable as you expect.
However, this wouldn’t fall under a warranty claim in SleepMaker’s case. These terms aren’t exclusive to SleepMaker. In fact, they’re one of the more upfront brands when it comes to outlining their claims procedure.
Most mattresses have a 10-year warranty period, but the small print is often overflowing with restrictions and conditions
Returning your mattress (traditional retailer)
The onus largely falls on you, the buyer, to make the right purchase if you’re buying from a retailer, even when the industry practices are questionable.
Because mattresses are used in the same manner as clothes, headphones etc., getting a refund under general consumer protections can be difficult.
These generally cover unfit for purpose, which isunlikely to include:
- size (mattress not fitting your base)
- reasonable sagging after extensive use
- damage due to misuse or mishandling
- smell and general wear and tear (i.e. stains).
If you truly feel that you’ve been sold a faulty product, be persistent. You can make a return.
One of the mattresses we bought from our test arrived with rust around the frame. This is reasonable grounds for a return.
Returning your mattress (bed in a box)
Almost all bed in a box brands offer a free trial period. You can return the mattress for a refund within this time, if you don’t like it. Returned beds are typically donated to charity.
However, you must adhere to these general terms to be eligible:
- Duration: Make sure you apply for a refund/return within the allocated period.
- Minimum use period: Brands also specify a minimum usage period before you’re eligible for a return, so you can take time to properly assess the mattress.
- Damage: You won’t be able to return a mattress if it’s damaged, sunk, stained, torn etc. It’s worth treating your mattress like fine china, keeping it well away from food, drink and so on, and making sure you’re clean as a whistle when it’s time for bed.
- Protection: Almost all brands specify that you must use a mattress protector during the free trial period.
Check the "free trial" page on the company’s website to find the specific terms
The so-called free trial period may incur a return fee depending on where you live, and how the manufacturer handles returns.
Occasionally, you’ll encounter brands that charge an exchange fee, on top of the pickup costs.
How to Pick Your Perfect Mattress
Ready for a new mattress? Here’s how to find the one that suits you best.
Getting a good night’s sleep depends on a lot of different factors — comfort, stress level, room temperature вЂ“ but to get it right, you’ve got to start with the basics and your mattress is the first building block to a restful slumber.
If you’re in the market for a new mattress and have recently taken a stroll down the aisle of a bedding store, you know that there is a dizzying array from which to choose. How do you know which mattress is best for you?
To start, says Arya Nick Shamie, MD, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center, the mattress needs to support your body in a neutral position, one in which your spine has a nice curvature and your buttocks, heels, shoulders, and head are supported in proper alignment
"If the mattress is too firm, it will push on those main pressure points and take you out of alignment," Shamie tells WebMD. "If it’s too soft, those pressure points won’t be properly supported, so your whole body flops back." Both of these scenarios can lead to an achy morning.
Generally speaking, one type or brand of bed isn’t better than another, says Michael Breus, PhD, a WebMD sleep expert and author ofBeauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep.But he does find that a firmer bed seems to be better for people with lower back pain.
In fact, researchers in Spain studied people with long-term back pain and found that on a 10-point hard-to-soft scale people who slept on a medium-to-firm mattress (5.6 on the scale) had less back pain than those who slept on a softer mattress.
Is It Time for a New Mattress?
How do you know if the bed you’re sleeping on is the right one?
"If you wake up in the morning and have some low back pain and can stretch and get rid of it in 15 or 30 minutes, that means you’re on an inappropriate mattress for you," Breus says.
The right mattress, on the other hand, is one on which you feel no pressure, almost like you’re floating in air, Breus says.
If you’re looking for a new mattress, experts suggest testing it in the store and laying down on each mattress in the position in which you normally sleep. Breus suggests spending at least 10 to 15 minutes on the bed. And, bring your own pillow! The more you can replicate the way you’ll be sleeping on the mattress once you get it home, the better your chances of picking the right one.
Innerspring mattresses are still by far the most widely used. They support you with coil springs, and in most built today, each coil is individually enclosed. This helps the bed weather years of use and prevents the coils from popping out of the mattress. On top of the coils are a wide variety of materials added for comfort, from pillow to latex to memory foam. It’s all a matter of preference.
Salespeople may try to sell you on the idea that more coils mean more comfort, but that’s not necessarily true, Breus and Shamie say.
"You don’t really need a coil count above 390," Breus says. Beyond that, the difference in feel is so small it would be difficult to notice.
Pros:There are plenty of innerspring mattresses on the market from which to choose. They range in firmness, the fluffiness of the pillow top, and in price to fit nearly every preference and pocket book.
Cons:There’s no direct relationship in most cases between price and comfort, but Shamie suggests steering clear of the cheapest innerspring mattress. If there aren’t enough springs and cushion to offer you proper support, he says, you’ll likely wake up with an aching back.
Conditions:For someone who is very overweight, spring mattresses may offer a firmer support, making them easier to get in and out of, Breus says. Firmer versions are good for people with back pain. But spring-based mattresses can be comfortable for almost anyone.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam mattresses are growing in popularity. They are made of layers of different densities of foam that respond to weight and temperature, and are known for comfort because they contour to the specific shape of your body. Memory foam toppers are also available.
Pros:By molding to the shape of your body as your weight shifts through the night, memory foam reduces pressure points, and relieves pain. Memory foam also absorbs movement, so if you sleep with a partner, you’re not likely to be disturbed by his tossing and turning.
Cons:One of the biggest complaints with memory foam mattresses is that because these mattresses are temperature sensitive, softening and molding with your body heat, they can make you feel extremely hot during the night. Breus also says memory foam mattresses have been known to emit an unpleasant chemical smell.
Conditions:"If you have a hard time getting comfortable, if you have chronic fatigue, or some type of muscle pain, then a memory foam mattress would work well for you, assuming you don’t have temperature issues," Breus says.
Latex mattresses are made from either natural or synthetic rubber, and are known for providing a very firm, bouncy support that is uniform throughout the bed.
Pros:"Quite frankly, I think one of the best materials is latex," Breus says. He likes it for being very firm and supportive, but also for providing comfort similar to memory foam. Unlike the memory foam mattresses, however, Breus says latex pushes back, ultimately providing more support.
Cons:If you don’t like the feel of a firm mattress, latex is probably not the right choice for you.
Conditions: Either a latex mattress or latex mattress topper is great for relieving back pain because they offer the best combination of comfort and support, Breus says.
We’re not talking about the blow-up mattresses you put your holiday guests on for a few days. Higher-end air beds look like a standard innerspring mattress, but use air-filled chambers instead of coils, and are covered by a foam layer on top.
Shamie notes that air beds have long been used for patients with spinal cord injuries who are lying in bed for a long time. They can be adjusted so they don’t continue to press on the same areas of the body, which helps to avoid skin breakdown in patients who can’t move.
Pros:"Couples who have dramatic differences in their individual preference for comfort and firmness levels might do very well with an air mattress," Breus says. The reason is that the firmness of each side of the bed can be altered. If you like it firmer than your partner, these beds can be adjusted for that.
Like latex and memory foam, you can also find air toppers for your mattress.
Cons:Shamie says people sometimes fail to make their air bed firm enough and wake up with back aches. Less sophisticated air mattresses also pop up on one side when you sit on the opposite end. For that reason Breus says, you want multiple chambers so that doesn’t occur.
Conditions:These beds are particularly useful when sleeping partners have different needs. If one of you has a bad back, one side can be made firmer than the other to provide greater support.
These beds are able to bend and elevate at varying angles. As a result, the mattress has to be flexible. Different types of mattresses can be used on an adjustable bed вЂ“ memory foam, latex, or air, for example. Spring mattresses are more difficult to use, however, because the springs don’t handle the bending well.
Pros:For people who have difficulty getting in and out of bed or who like to watch television in bed, Shamie says, adjustables can make life easier by moving you closer to where you need to be.
Conditions:If you suffer from sleep apnea, sleeping flat can make the condition worse by cutting off airways and causing the tongue to fall into the back of the throat, Shamie says. People who experience acid reflux can also benefit by sleeping in a bed that elevates their upper body.
Shamie also suggests adjustable beds for people with hip or back pain who have a hard time moving from a lying position to sitting up or standing.
When you have guests staying for a night or two, sofa beds come in handy. The mattresses in these beds tend to be very thin so they are flexible enough to fold and collapse into the couch. It’s a great convenience to have a sofa bed, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who raves about their comfort.
Pros:Sofa beds are convenient, especially if you have limited space. But from a health perspective, Shamie and Breus don’t see any advantages.
Cons:A night or two on a sofa bed is OK. But "this is probably the worst kind of bed you can sleep on long-term," Shamie says. The mattresses used in most sofa beds are very thin and the springs quite weak. "It really leads to an uncomfortable situation," Shamie says.
If you’re really tight for space and need a bed that folds up, Shamie says that futons, while not the most supportive, are better for your back than the typical sofa bed.
Conditions:There are no conditions for which a sofa bed will be helpful, according to the experts. But if you have a bad back or hips, these beds will be especially uncomfortable.
When to Part With Your Old Mattress
Today’s mattresses are made to last a lifetime. But you probably shouldn’t plan on keeping yours for that long. Our bodies change over time, Breus says, so the mattress that was once a joy to sleep on may no longer feel comfortable a few years down the road.
In addition, mattresses collect dust mites, fungus, and other germs that can exacerbate allergies and impact your sleep patterns. After 10 to 15 years, it’s time to think about buying a new bed.
Ultimately, the experts say that the best bed for you is the one that feels most comfortable. And remember, Shamie says, "There’s no mattress that’s going to save your body when you get only five hours of sleep." In order to feel your best, you need to get enough restвЂ¦ no matter what type of mattress you’re sleeping on.
Arya Nick Shamie, MD, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery, Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center.
Breus, Michael, PhD, WebMD sleep expert and author ofBeauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep
Kovacs, FM.The Lancet, November 2003; vol 362: pp 1599-1604.
How to Choose The Safest Cot Mattress For Your Baby
Babies spend a huge amount of each day asleep in either their bassinet/cot or in their pram, so it’s important to consider the materials they are sleeping on when deciding how to choose the safest cot mattress for your baby.
Nowadays synthetic foams are commonly used in the production of all baby and also adult mattresses. Foam mattresses are produced using a concoction of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) including resins, various solvents and adhesives.
These synthetic materials off-gas constantly during their lifecycle and it is these VOC’s that young babies and children are exposed to in concentrated levels.
In recent years the health dangers of sleeping your baby on these mattresses have been studied and the results are anything but good, with strong links to SIDS, respiratory illness such as asthma and lung infections, autoimmune disorders and allergies.
As baby care seats and pram mattresses are also now produced with these toxic chemicals, young babies are literally receiving around the clock exposure to these VOC’s.
Environmental Engineer, Brandon Boor with his team at the University of Texas conducted a study on VOC’s levels emitted from the foam padding in crib mattresses and the results were alarming.
- New cot mattresses release 4 times higher levels of VOC’s than old mattresses do.
- A baby’s body heat significantly increases VOC’s emissions.
- The highest chemical emissions where measured in the area around babies immediate breathing zone (about 2.5 cm’s from the surface of the foam mattress).
Old cot mattresses are not safe either.
Scientific studies conducted by Dr Jim Sprott show that second-hand cot mattresses showed higher levels of fungus spores. This fungus combined with the VOC’s from the flame retardant chemicals increased the SIDS risk significantly.
The Safer Solution Is To Choose Certified Organic
Investing in a 100% certified organic cotton mattress and bedding for your child is the way to go. Before you buy, it is important to ensure the products have been officially certified ‘organic’ and are free of fire retardants and toxic dyes.
The brand my own family personally use and can highly recommend is Organature.
The difference between conventionally grown cotton and certified organic is important to understand. Certified Organic cotton crops are banned from using dangerous fungicides and pesticides and fungicides. Conventional cotton crops are heavily sprayed with toxic chemicals.
What to Avoid When Shopping for Baby’s Mattress
- Avoid the word ‘foam’, including Tempur Mattresses.
- Avoid the newer gel mattresses, as these are also highly synthetic.
- Made with ‘Natural Materials’ can be misleading advertising; e.g soy foam sounds natural but often contains petroleum.
- Latex mattresses – be aware that while some latex mattresses are made from natural rubber, others are created from synthetic rubber foams; e.g. Polyurethane foam.
- Do not buy any mattresses treated with fire retardant chemicals. Fire Retardant chemicals are linked to SIDS, cancer and a whole host of illnesses and allergies.
- Ask for full material and treatment disclosure from the mattress manufacturer.
- Never buy plastic coated cot mattresses. These coatings are used to protect the mattresses from stains and moisture but are usually made from toxic PVC plastic. PVC contains Phthalates, which off-gas carcinogenic dioxins. Polyester coatings should also be avoided as they contain unhealthy petrochemicals.
- If you choose to buy a conventional, synthetic cot and bassinet mattress (rather than choosing certified organic) then you should seriously consider The Mattress Wrapping Campaign protocol by Professor Jim Sprott. Over 200,000 mattresses have been wrapped according to his protocol and not one infant has died of SIDS.
- Assistant Professor Ying Xu recommends you air any non-organic mattresses for 6 months before use!
Finally never overheat your baby’s room and ensure the room has good airflow.
About the Author:
Nicole Grochis a loving mother, cruelty-free hair and makeup artist and founder of LivingSafe. After welcoming her first child 2007, she realised there was a serious lack of information about the safety of the materials and ingredients in baby products, toys, baby skincare and even baby foods. Since then, Nicole has spent years researching and writing about safe, healthy and eco-friendly alternatives for mums and bubs.
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How to Select a Latex Mattress
Your mattress is the most important healthcare product in your household. Your mattress is a source of relief and comfort and a good night’s sleep has a refreshing and re-energising effect. Use this guide to help you select the right mattress. Feel free to request a quote and ask any questions. We will happily advise you and make a recommendation on the best mattress for you.
SELECT YOUR MATTRESS SIZE
Space is a critical component of a good night’s sleep. Go as big as your budget and bedroom size will allow. Select a mattress size that gives you enough room for easy, free movement. Couples should have a queen or king size mattress to ensure both individuals have enough space to feel comfortable.
SELECT YOUR SUPPORT & COMFORT PREFERENCE
SOFT, MEDIUM OR FIRM?
When people say they prefer a firm mattress, often what they mean is a supportive mattress. Firmness refers to the surface feel or comfort preference of a mattress. Latex Mattress Australia offers a full range of densities (or firmness) to suit every preference. The density depends on your weight and preferred comfort level.
People weighing less than 90 kilograms, or lighter weight people, including children and the elderly, will need a medium density mattress. A medium density latex mattress will offer the same support as a firm density latex mattress, when correctly matched to bodyweight. Also, the cover of the mattress will have an impact on the surface softness and feel of the mattress.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Consider what is most important to you.
Comfort:The most important thing to consider is your own comfort level. To find a mattress you’re comfortable with you need to consider several other factors, like the size, firmness and type of materials used in the mattress.
Support:You want to ensure the mattress is the correct density for you, allowing the mattress to conform to your body. Every time you move, twist or turn in your sleep, your mattress should quickly respond by adjusting itself to your new position. Hence, your body remains in a constant state of relaxation and comfort, eliminating pressure points and providing correct spinal alignment.
Chemical free sleeping environment:Our mattresses are manufactured without using any chemicals whatsoever and made using 100% natural rubber and are free from any harmful or toxic substances, to provide you with the healthiest sleep option.
Durability & guarantee:Look for a good guarantee. The guarantee, of course, is the most important aspect of a mattress brand’s customer support system. The longer the guarantee, the better. Often the guarantee will portray the quality of the mattress. Latex Mattress Australia offers an unrivalled 21 year guarantee on our latex mattresses, for your complete peace of mind.
How To Choose The Right Mattress
A while ago we explained how important it is to spend your money where you spend your time, and considering we spend at least a third of our lives asleep or in bed, skimping on your mattress or sleeping surface can be detrimental to your health.At the same time, not everyone has the budget for the top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art mattress. We asked some chiropractors and orthopedists what they suggest you look for when shopping for a mattress. Here’s what they said.
Do Your Research And Go In With A Budget
The first thing you should do before you even head out to shop for mattresses is know how much you’re willing to spend. Going into any major purchase with a budget and spending cap in mind will help you avoid spending too much and will also help you buy the best mattress you can afford while avoiding the extra fluff and accessories that mattress stores are notorious for trying to load you up with. Keep those add-ons and accessories in mind when you head to the store. As soon as you select a mattress, the salesperson will try and sell you mattress covers, extended warranties, bedframes and other accessories that you may or may not actually need.
Mattress stores are notorious for making it difficult to comparison shop, so don’t expect to be able to go from store to store and see the same mattress there for different prices. You’re better off paying attention to mattress brand and mattress type when you go shopping. Don’t put too much stock in model names or "line" names. One store may have a line from a prominent manufacturer under one name, and another store will have a line from the same manufacturer under another name, and in reality the mattresses are the same and simply marketed differently for different retailers.
If you’re trying to stick to a budget, check out your local mattress stores’ catalogues or websites to see what’s on sale. Make notes of model names and numbers that are in your price range, and when you get to the store, ask to see those specific models. In some cases, mattress stores only stock a few of the models on sale (so you don’t find out they’re out of stock until you’re in the store), so find out early if they have what you’re looking for.
Understand What Type Of Mattress Is Right For You
Mattress manufacturers and retailers have dozens of names for different types of mattresses, but there are only really a few basic types:
- Tempur-Pedic/Memory Foam- Tempur-Pedic mattresses are actually a brand name, but many people use them to describe any mattress type that uses "memory foam" or another type of foam that moulds to the shape of your body while you sleep, and offers even support all over your body. You essentially sink into it, and the mattress applies even pressure to your body at all points. Tempur-Pedic and memory foam mattresses tend to get warm over the course of the night, so if you need a cool sleeping surface under you, they may not be right for you.
- Sleep Number Beds- Sleep number beds use inflatable air pressure chambers inside of the mattress that you can customise to suit the level of firmness you want in your sleeping surface. You can, at any time, make the mattress firmer or softer, and depending on the model you get, you can tilt the bed up into a reclining position, or you can get sleep number beds that have different chambers on either side of the bed, so you and your spouse or partner can enjoy different levels of firmness. "Sleep Number Bed" is a trademark of Select Comfort, which makes most of the beds that fit this description. They tend to be fairly pricey.
- Firm vs Plush- Firm and plush, as their names imply, indicate the firmness or softness of the mattress in question. You’ll see some mattresses described as "extra firm, firm, plush, ultra plush" to denote how hard or soft the mattress actually is. In some cases, to get to the "ultra plush" end of the scale, manufacturers add thick pillowtops and cushions to the tops of a standard matress to make it feel softer. You can also find mattress types in between like "cushion firm" or "pillowtop" or a firm mattress that has extra padding on the sides and top or a pillowtop on it that makes the mattress softer when you lay in it but still is firm enough to provide support while you sleep.
Try Everything That Interests You, Start On The High End And Work Your Way Down
If you have a mattress salesperson who’s trying to get you on and off a floor model quickly, run — don’t walk — to the exits. You won’t be able to judge whether a mattress is comfortable if you only get to lay down on it for 30 seconds. Get the sales person to bring you a test pillow so you can try the mattress in the same position you sleep, and rest on it for a good few minutes. Give yourself time to relax and settle into the mattress before you make a decision about whether it’s too firm or soft or just doesn’t feel right.
One great way to find a mattress that you’ll like is to start with the high-end mattresses in the store and work your way down from there. You may be leading your salesperson on a little bit, but the point is that you get to experience the super high-end top-of-the-line mattresses first to get a feel for how comfortable they are, and then you start to step down in features and padding until you start to test mattresses that are less comfortable than you’d like. Then you’ll know where the balance is, and you can make a decision based on comfort and budget.
What Our Experts Said
A number of the chiropractors and orthopaedists that I spoke to for this story had specific brand suggestions for people looking for the most comfort and a mattress designed with health in mind. Massachusetts chiropractor Dr Benjamin Ryan tells his patients that if you can afford it, the Sleep Number bed by Select Comfort is the way to go, especially if you and the person sleeping next to you prefer different levels of firmness in your sleeping surface. He suggests spending a little less money to get a model without a fancy control or pillowtop, and then going out and buying a pillowtop from your local bed and bath store if you want a little more softness. He explained to me that he went to a department store for a memory foam layer and added it to his mattress when he decided it was too firm. He rightly notes that you can always make a firm mattress a little softer by putting something on top of it — you can’t make a soft mattress firmer.
Chiropractor Dr William Bleam, on the other hand, suggest you look into Tempur-Pedic mattresses. He warned that Tempur-Pedic mattresses can be "warmer" than others and retain heat overnight. He explained he’s a proud owner of a Tempur-Pedic mattress, but notes that if you’re on a budget and don’t want to spend the money on the brand name, there are a number of more affordable "memory foam" mattresses that offer the same style of sleeping and comfort. It’s also worth noting that "form to fit" style mattresses can be difficult to get in and out of, and definitely aren’t for everyone, but they do offer even support while sleeping (as opposed to "innercoil" mattresses, which Dr Bleam recommends against), and can be perfect for people who fall asleep in one position and stay in it for most of the night.
Dr Jon Donshik, an orthopaedic surgeon based in Aventura, Florida, dismissed the notion of brand loyalty entirely. He explained that while brand name mattresses are definitely the standard, he tells his patients to go with what "feels right" and not to blow the bank on a mattress unless you’ve tried it in the store for a good long test and you’ve fallen in love with it. He explained that expensive mattresses may feel better, but they won’t instantly cure back pain, which can be caused by a number of factors, so be careful with your money.
Whatever mattress you choose, our experts agree that you should try the best and work your way to a level that meets your needs for comfort and support but also fits in your budget. That said, don’t set your budget unreasonably low — you’re going to spend a lot of time in bed, you at least want to be comfortable, and an uncomfortable night’s sleep can lend itself to other problems during your waking hours.
Don’t Be Afraid To Haggle
You’ve tested several mattresses, and you’re ready to pick one. Now it comes down to price. Some mattress stores offer no-haggle pricing, and they’ll try and get more money out of you on accessories and warranties, but if you’re shopping in any of the major chains, the price is almost always flexible. Don’t be afraid to ask for a price, and then propose something different, or let the salesperson know that you really like this model but you’re not willing to spend X-amount of dollars on it. You won’t get a yes every time, but you may be able to negotiate an acceptable price on a mattress that you initially thought was out of your price range.
Take Advantage Of Your In-Home Trial, And Lock In A Good Warranty
Before you seal the deal, make sure that the mattress comes with delivery and disposal of your old mattress (often something you can negotiate in for free), a solid warranty and your retailer has an in-home trial period. Most reputable retailers will give you 30 to 60 days to try out the mattress in your home, and if you hate it, they’ll refund your money or exchange you for another mattress. Make the most of that period of time, and pay close attention to how you’re sleeping and how you feel when you’re awake.
You won’t be able to tell much from the first couple of days, but once you get used to it, Virginia-based chiropractor Dr Eugene Su says you should start feeling better overall. If you have more energy and getting up in the morning is easier than it used to be, you may be on to something good. He also warns against falling in behind a specific brand, model or type, and encourages his patients to try different types of mattresses to see what they find most comfortable. If you have the mattress at home already, he suggest you pay attention to a few specific things:
- When you wake up, do you have less energy, or more?
- After you’ve been up for a while, do you have any unusual soreness, or aches and pains, specifically in your back or sides?
- When you do get up and get ready, what’s your mood like? Are you ready to take on the day, or do you find you’re suddenly really grumpy in the mornings (compared to your usual self, of course?)
- Are you tossing and turning, or frequently waking up to shift position during the night?
Dr Su notes that all of these symptoms are also warning signs that it’s about time to replace your mattress, but if you’re trying out a new mattress at home for the first month and you see these signs getting worse and not better, it may be time to call the mattress store and trade for a different model.
If you’ve had your mattress for a few months and you still notice you’re uncomfortable, or the mattress is suddenly uneven, don’t hesitate to call the manufacturer and make a warranty claim. A warranty claim will net you the same mattress you already have, most likely, but if the problem is a defect, you’ll be happy you have it. Make sure an extended warranty or protection plan is worth it before buying. A good manufacturer’s warranty will serve you better than a retailer’s replacement plan in many cases, and instead of spending the extra money, consider an extended warranty fund with the money you would have spent on a protection plan in case issues come up.
With luck, these tips will help you walk into the mattress store informed and ready to test and buy the right mattress for you. Don’t forget to test several, and some mattress stores have sleep tests you can take to determine how firm or soft your mattress should be. They’ll help you get started, but trust yourself, you’ll know when the mattress you’re lying on is something you can see yourself resting on all night.
Do you have any additional mattress buying tips? Let’s hear them in the comments below.
Dr William Bleam III, DC, is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic based at Morrison Chiropractic in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Dr Jon Donshik, MD, MBA, is an Orthopaedic Surgeon based in Aventura, Florida.
Dr Benjamin Ryan, DC, is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic based at the New Life Chiropractic and Wellness Center in Georgetown, Massachusetts.
Dr Eugene Su, DC, is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic based at the Beyond Wellness Center in Virginia.
All four gentlemen volunteered their expertise and opinions for this post, and we thank them for their help.
This story has been updated since its original publication.