How to Buy a New Mattress: How to Test a Mattress
One thing we have noticed here at the Seattle Mattress showroom is... Whether you are a customer who has just popped in to buy a new mattress on the spur of the moment because you just can’t stand your back pain anymore; or whether you’ve visited our showroom 2, 3, 4 or yes even 5 times and spent 1-3 hours with us each time: there is only a minor difference in the frequency of comfort exchanges between these two types of customers.
In other words, it doesn’t appear to us that spending literally days & weeks on end of tedious, painstaking research towards mattress shopping lessens the likelihood that you will need to exchange your mattress for reasons of comfort within the first weeks of buying that mattress.
That’s because, even if you’ve spent a minimum of ½ hour on your bed of choice several times over and really felt that it was the right bed for you – the story may change for you because of any number of unforeseen reasons that you were not able to determine in the limited confines of a store trial compared to time spent over several full nights of sleep on it.
Comfort exchanges are relatively common for us here at Seattle Mattress, although we’re also pretty good at helping you find the best mattress for you to begin with. We like to believe that is also one of the reasons why there is such a minimum of differences in comfort exchanges between these two types of customers for us. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t happen to choose the perfect bed the first time around, we’re here to help you find it one way or another.
Wear comfortable clothes when visiting the Seattle Mattress Showroom and drop your inhibitions - because the best way to decide on a new bed is to test them out for yourself! Lay down on several mattresses in the position(s) you usually sleep in at home - on your side, on your belly, on your back, etc. How does it feel when you roll over, do you like the bounce, etc? Lie down next to your partner and discuss your likes & dislikes. Take your time – maybe even bring a magazine – we’ll give you the time & space you need to really “test drive” the beds you are interested in - that’s why they are on the floor!
The salespeople on our floor can be an invaluable resource at helping you find the best mattress for your needs - if you are willing to give us your feedback. The more information you give us, the more we’ll be able to help you.
Go back and re-try mattresses you are drawn to and feel comfortable in again and again, eliminating them until you are able to narrow them down to 2 or 3 good options. Take note of how you initially feel when you lay down on them - sometimes a first impression is a good indicator. Does it make you feel all cozy as you lay down, or are you immediately turned off by something about it? What is it that is turning you on or off? That is good information to tell us, so we can help guide you toward your comfort zone.
If a bed feels comfortable initially and if you have the time, lay on it for 10-15 minutes and try as many sleeping positions as possible. Studies have shown that there is a good correlation between impressions formed in a 15 minute trial period and longer-term satisfaction.
Too Firm or Too Soft?
When you’re deciding if a bed is too firm, too soft, or just right, look at two major factors: the support — which is provided by the mattress core — and the comfort, provided by the padding.
The mattress core is the support layer for your body frame; while the comfort layer is what lies between you and the mattress core, and determines how firm or soft the mattress feels against your body. Orthopedic experts generally recommend you go for the firmest (most supportive, not “hardest”) mattress you find comfortable.
If a bed is too firm, you’ll get pressure points at the heaviest parts of your body. This reduces blood circulation in places like shoulder & hip joints, and signals your body to turn over in an effort to restore blood flow. Because of this, and because the mattress is too hard for your pressure points to sink into the mattress, your upper back takes the brunt of the stress as the muscles in your back and neck have to work harder to keep your spine straight. After a night of tossing and turning, you won’t feel refreshed or relaxed, and you might even feel a bit stiff from the all-night workout.
On the other hand, if a bed is too soft it will take more effort for you to move or roll over, and your spine won’t be properly supported or aligned, causing tension in your back, neck and/or hips as your muscles work to compensate for the lack of support.
While it can be difficult to tell the difference between the relative firmness and softness of the support and comfort layers, the key lies in the alignment of your spine: The mattress should support a natural sleep posture – your spine should be straight when you lie on your side - the ear, shoulder, hip and ankle should be in a natural, straight line to each other - and maintain a natural curve when you lie on your back. You should not be able to slip your hand easily between your lower back and the mattress. There should be at least some support there, according to your comfort preference.