Mattress Buying Guide
Other Things To Consider in Mattresses
As you have gathered so far, there is much to learn when considering the purchase of a new mattress. Here are some other areas of consideration just to top off your education before you hit your shopping venue.
Your sleeping position is important. You may or may not have given this much thought. For many of us, it's just how we sleep. We climb into bed, find a comfortable position and that's that. For others, we struggle to find just the right sleeping position as we toss and turn throughout the night.
The position you sleep in determines what part of your body will interface with the sleeping surface as well as the amount of stress the body undergoes during sleep. The three basic sleep positions are back, stomach and side. Most people will use more than one position during a typical night's sleep. Back sleepers need a mattress that offers support filling in the gaps in the contour of the back while at the same time being comfortable to the individual user preference. Stomach sleepers need a firmer support surface to prevent spinal distortion that often results in back pain. The size and type of pillow used can also play a significant role in obtaining the right combination of comfort and support. Side sleepers typically face the greatest amount of weight on the smallest areas of the body thereby creating pressure points. Pressure points reduce circulation and can be a cause of the tossing and turning that occurs as we sleep. A side sleeper will probably want a plusher feel that minimizes pressure points. When considering purchasing a new mattress, don't forget to consider your partner's preferred sleeping position.
Coil count is yet one more thing that you need to know about when considering a new mattress. Coils are the springs that give the mattress its primary support. In general, the more coils you have the more support. But that is not all you need to know. If fewer stronger/thicker coils are used, would that offer the same support as more thinner coils? The answer is - it depends on your personal preference. Most mattresses are built with coils from 12 gauge to 15 gauge. To understand gauge, think the larger the number the thinner the coil. You don't need to ask for a specific count and gauge when you first enter a sleep shop. But it will be something you will want to ask for once you have narrowed down your preferences of mattresses. Then once you know what feels best for you, you will have a coil count and gauge number that will help you shop further.
Turning your Mattresses
There is quite a variety of thought from various manufacturers on when to turn your mattress. Different companies will have different schedules, but a safe middle ground is to try to rotate the mattress every 3 months and to turn or flip the mattress on that same schedule. Some thicker mattresses are being marketed as "never rotate" beds. If they are innerspring, latex or foam, this is miss-information and just another marketing scheme. These mattresses need to be rotated to reduce the inevitable wear patterns, which develop on all mattresses.
How long should my mattress last?
A mattress set should generally last for 7 to 10 years of nightly use. Premium mattresses slept on nightly will provide reasonable levels of comfort and support for about 10-12 years. After that, gravity begins to take its toll, and mattresses lose a significant amount of both comfort and support. In order to get the most out of your mattress, try to avoid putting a new mattress on a saggy, broken down base. Another simple way to extend the life of your mattress is to not sit on the edge. But if you do sit on the edge of your bed to put your shoes on, try to avoid sitting on the same spot every time. This helps the mattress keep its shape and structure allowing the mattress to maintain its support.
Most shoppers don't even think about water retention when considering the purchase of a mattress. Why would you? Well, we sweat at night. A healthy sleeper exudes about 0.5 liters of liquid a night. During illness this can be up to a full liter. Mattresses that do not absorb moisture well are not only hygienically unsightly but become unsuitable. After ten or so years, a mattress has had up to 3000 liters of perspiration and is saturated with salts.
When considering this, think about handing down mattresses. It is not justifiable for parents to give their old mattresses to their children. Children's bone structure is not yet fixed and therefore shapeable and more easily damaged. Old mattresses no longer offer the correct support required for these young bodies. Your kids really do need a good mattress purchased for them.