7 Questions to ask yourself when shopping for a new mattress

Mattress comparison shopping: the stuff dreams are made of, right? Finding the right mattress is a dream come true, but getting stuck with the wrong one would be a nightmare. Ask yourself these question to make sure your new mattress is a perfect match.

Although it can feel overwhelming to sift through all of the various brands and styles on the market, it’s actually good news for you that there are so many options to choose from! 

Everyone has different sleep needs and preferences. In order to figure out which type of mattress will work best for you, try asking yourself these 7 questions:

  1. Do you prefer to shop in-store or online?

Start here before going any further. If you prefer traditional mattress shopping, your selection will be limited by which retailers you visit, and mattress stores also tend to have huge price markups and pushy sales reps. However, the ability to try before you buy is a major plus. 

If you’d rather buy online and get your mattress delivered to your door, you’ll want to look into brands like Purple, Casper, Tuft & Needle, Saatva, Leesa, Aviya, Avocado, Allswell, or Nectar. Many brands, like Purple, also offer a 100-day trial period, free shipping, and free returns (but not all of them – make sure to check). Interestingly, some brands also enforce a minimum trial period of 21 or 30 days, to ensure you’ve had enough time to let your body adjust. Be aware, in most cases, ‘returning” the mattress actually means dropping it off at a donation center, so you may need to borrow your friend’s truck.

Some brands, like Saatva, also have white-glove delivery service included, which means they’ll carry it straight into the room you need it in. This can be a handy bonus if you know you’ll need help lifting the mattress, or if you just prefer the experience to be as hassle-free as possible.

  1. What budget works for you, $500 or $5,000?

Generally speaking, anything under $500 will probably see a drop in quality of materials and construction. Consider that it might actually be cheaper in the long run to spend more now to get a higher quality mattress that will last longer. Shopping in the $1,000+ range also opens up a wider variety of options.

However, a more expensive price tag doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a better mattress. Determine what your max budget is, but don’t be afraid to shop at the bottom of your range.

Another tip: always try asking for a discount, price match, or free add-ons (like pillows, toppers, etc.). You can usually haggle a bit, both in person and online chatting with customer service reps. 

  1. How firm do you want your mattress to be?

Many mattress brands will rate the firmness of their mattress using a rough scale from 1-10. Usually the 3-5 range can be considered soft, 5-7 average, and 7-8 firm. However, keep in mind that the feeling of “firmness” is still pretty subjective.

Some people think that a firmer mattress will always offer better support, but there is a difference between a soft mattress and one that isn’t supportive enough. “Firmness” is your experience of how soft the mattress does or doesn’t feel underneath you when you lie on it. How plush does it feel? Do you sink in a bit, or not at all? 

On the other hand, a mattress that is supportive will leave your back and neck feeling good when you wake up in the morning. An unsupportive mattress will leave you waking up feeling uncomfortable or in pain.

Back sleepers will usually want a firmer mattress, to support their back. Side sleepers might prefer a softer mattress, to allow pressure points like shoulders and hips to sink into the padding. Stomach sleepers will want to make sure their back is straight while lying down, without their stomach sinking in and causing back strain – likely an average firmness level will work. 

  1. How much do you weigh?

Your weight is also important to consider when choosing a firmness level. Generally speaking, the heavier you are, the firmer the mattress you’ll need to be comfortable and properly supported. 

Lighter sleepers (150lbs or less): Opt for 0.5-1 degrees (on the scale of 1-10 mentioned above) less firm than what you think you need.

Average sleepers (150-200lbs): You’re right in the sweet spot for what most mattress makers use as a baseline.

Heavier sleepers (200lbs or more): Heavier sleepers put more pressure on the mattress, so consider going slightly firmer than what you think you need.

  1. Do you prefer a spring, foam, or hybrid style?

Spring (or coil) mattresses can offer a nice traditional bouncy feeling and possibly better airflow/cooling. Foam mattresses can give a cozy feeling of being contoured or hugged, and can also offer great options for an easy shipping and unboxing experience. Hybrid mattresses contain both foam layers and spring coils, and can offer a happy medium between the two options.

  1. Do you sleep with a partner?

If you sleep with a partner at night, make sure to consider whether you have similar or different sleeping needs. If they’re very different, try meeting in the middle with an average firmness or hybrid mattress to get the best of both worlds. Alternatively, you can opt for one of the options on the market that allow different settings for each side of the bed, such as SleepNumber. 

  1. Do you have preferences on what materials the mattress is made from? 

For example, if you have a latex allergy, then avoiding a latex foam mattress is probably the best move. If you are looking for a mattress made from organic, natural materials only, then look for an eco-friendly mattress brand like Avocado.

In conclusion

Whether you’re buying online or in-store, and whether your budget is $500 or $5,000, there are plenty of options to choose from. Narrow down the choices using these seven questions as a guide, and you’re sure to find a mattress that will have you sleeping like a log!

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