How to Choose a Mattress

How to Choose a Mattress

A mattress is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make—after all, you spend approximately a third of your life in bed. The number of choices can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to lose sleep over it! Here are some helpful shopping tips:

  1. Size matters. If you’re sharing a bed, you should buy at least a queen-size mattress. A healthy person moves 40 to 60 times a night and makes lots of full-body turns. For sound sleep, you need freedom of motion.
  2. Test-drive different models. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes you can easily slip off so you can lie down. Compare a variety of support levels and styles within your budget. Finding a bed that feels right is a personal choice.
  3. Look under the hood. Ask the salesperson to show you illustrated or actual “cutaways” of the interior of the different mattresses and foundations. The mechanics of innersprings and foams vary widely, which can greatly affect comfort.
  4. Find a reputable dealer. Furniture stores, department stores and sleep specialty shops all sell mattresses. Ask friends and family for referrals. If you don’t feel your salesperson is knowledgeable or helpful, take your business elsewhere.
  5. Go for the best value, not the lowest price. To ensure long-term performance, buy the highest-quality sleep set you can afford. View it as a 7- to 10-year investment in your health and wellbeing.
  6. Get the details. If you choose to buy a mattress online, you won’t have the chance to try it out, so read the reviews, carefully check return and shipping policies—and be certain there’s customer support should a problem arise.
  7. Be sure it contains certified foam. A growing number of consumers want to be sure the flexible polyurethane foam used in their bedding (and upholstered furniture, too) is CertiPUR-US® certified. Certified foam is your assurance that the foam meets rigorous standards for content, emissions and durability and is analyzed by independent, accredited testing laboratories. Certified foams are screened for relevant chemicals, including flame retardants, that are classified as carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins and are harmful to human health. Certified foams are made without formaldehyde; ozone depleters; mercury, lead and other heavy metals; or phthalates regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. It also means the foam has low VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million). Check the CertiPUR-US directory of participating companies and brands offering pillows, mattresses and upholstered furniture using certified foam before you make a purchase.

For more information about mattress shopping (and advice on how to get a better night’s sleep), visit the Better Sleep Council.

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