Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a (mattress) match.
There’s no denying that shopping for a new mattress is more about function than fun. But considering we spend about a third of our lives in bed, it’s definitely worth investing the time (and money) into choosing the right one.
So how do you know where to start when there are so many different factors to consider? Here are five questions to ask yourself to help narrow down your search.
Let’s face it, no one gets excited about dropping hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars on a new mattress. And even though they play an integral role in the bedroom, mattresses are a decidedly un-sexy purchase.
That said, sometimes you have to be a responsible adult and invest in practical pieces for your home. As a general rule, most mattresses last somewhere between five to 10 years. So, if the mattress you inherited from your parents a decade ago is dust filled and starting to sag, chances are it’s time to upgrade.
Sleep Country might have burned their ‘Why Buy a Mattress Anywhere Else’ jingle into your brain over the years, but these days there are a wide variety of options when it comes to shopping for bedding of all sorts. As with all major purchases, some people would rather browse in person while others will prefer to shop online.
Shopping for a new mattress in store can be an exhausting process…and not just because of all the laying down. The thought of visiting multiple brick-and-mortar bedding shops with high-pressure salespeople and an overwhelming amount of inventory is enough to make anyone lose sleep. On the flip side, nothing compares to trying out a new bed in person.
If you do plan to shop for your new mattress IRL, take some time to test-drive a variety of options. Sleep experts recommend reclining for at least 10 minutes in order to get a good feel for the mattress. Sure, it might feel a little awkward to get horizontal in public, but now’s the time to channel your inner Goldilocks and distinguish the ‘too firm’ from the ‘too soft’ until you find one that’s juuuuust right.
Listened to a podcast in the last two years? Then there’s no doubt you’ve heard all about the mattress-in-a-box behemoth Casper and its Canadian counterpart Endy. These Millennial mattress brands and their contemporaries are changing the game when it comes to mattress shopping. With slick branding, easy-to-use online ordering and shipping directly to your door in a box that seemingly defies the laws of physics, it’s tempting to forgo in-instore shopping entirely. And with many companies offering money-back guarantees and free returns, you can always change your mind if your new mattress just isn’t the right fit.
While there are many types of mattresses, most fall into one of two distinct categories, each with their own pros and cons:
This traditional mattress style is built with a series of springy metal coils at the core that are topped with a comfortable layer of foam or fibre. While the shape, number and style of coils can range, all innerspring mattresses provide a bouncy feel with varying degrees of firmness.
- Pros: Classic innerspring mattresses tend to be a more affordable option and are relatively light and easy to move, making them a great choice for students and those shopping on a budget.
- Cons: Innerspring mattresses are less durable, which means they may get squeaky and wear out faster over time. Additionally, as the inner coils have spaces between them, these types of mattresses are less resistant to dust mites and other allergens.
Memory foam was first developed in the 1970s by NASA scientists and has since become widely used by the mattress industry. This highly responsive foam contours to your body and is much denser and more absorbent than its spring-based counterpart.
- Pros: The spongy space-age material helps maintain proper alignment along your spine, eases pressure points and provides support around your shoulders, hips and lower back. Memory foam mattresses also last longer than innerspring mattresses and don’t need to be turned or flipped quite as often in order to prevent sagging.
- Cons: While some people love the absorbent quality of memory foam, others complain that the cushioning has a quicksand effect that results in a sinking feeling. The dense material also retains body heat, which can lead to a seriously sweaty night’s sleep. If you do run hot, try a gel foam that’s more breathable that regular memory foam and provides enhanced airflow, allowing body heat to escape and thus keeping you cooler throughout the night.
TIP: Not sure which camp you fall into? Many mattress brands have developed hybrid styles that combine an innerspring core with a memory foam cushioning on top in order to offer the best of both worlds.
Deciding what mattress is right for you is hard enough, so what happens when you have a partner with an entirely different sleep style? Duelling bedfellows should avoid innerspring mattresses and opt for memory foam that absorbs and isolates movement so you’re less likely to be disturbed by a restless partner tossing and turning throughout the night.
If you’re totally incompatible when it comes to your mattress needs, consider a customizable modular mattress. These high-tech designs feature adjustable layers of padding that allow you to customize the level of firmness and breathability on either side of the bed to create two distinct sleep zones that’ll appease both you and your partner.
Finally – and perhaps most importantly – consider how much you want to spend. Mattresses can range anywhere from $300 for an entry-level Queen innerspring mattress from IKEA to more than $50,000 for a luxurious custom-designed number from legendary Swedish bed manufacturer Hastens. Chances are you don’t NEED to splurge on a hand-made mattress padded with cashmere and eucalyptus leaves and can instead shoot for something mid-range.
Innerspring mattresses are more budget friendly – running about $500 to $1,000 depending on the size, coil count, and the brand. Memory foam varieties and mattresses made with sophisticated materials and temperature-regulating technologies are more of a splurge coming in anywhere from $900 to $1,500.
If you’re budget conscious, be sure to shop around online before making any purchases and try to take advantage of seasonal sales. If you’re browsing in store, don’t be afraid to negotiate with sales staff to score a better price.
If you’re still unsure about whether you need a firm spring mattress or a sink-into-me-softly memory foam, try taking an online quiz from a big-name brand like Serta or Helix to help determine the best mattress for you based on your body type, sleep position and overall preferences.
And whatever mattress you decide on, consider investing in a machine washable cover to protect your investment from general wear and tear. Not only will you extend the life of your mattress by using a topper, you’ll also protect it (and you) from dirt, dust and moisture over the years.
Good luck and sweet dreams!