How does one choose a mattress?

My wife thinks our bed is a torture device.
We thought we had found a decent mattress, but after a month, she decided that it’s hurting her back. I don’t find it all the comfortable, either, but I’m not waking up in pain.

Is there any reasonable way to pick a mattress? They are damn expensive, but i’m not opposed to spending big bucks if we can be sure it will be a good one. Lying on one for 10 minutes in a store doesn’t seem to work very well…

Ikea is one of the few stores that has reasonably priced mattresses that test well in Consumers tests, but…they also allow you to try out a mattress at home for three months and exchange it for a different type if you want. The best way to find the perfect mattress is to try it out. Initially in the store, but being able to try it at home is most important. To my knowledge, IKEA is the only one with this 3 month try out guarantee.

Here’s their guide.

My Wife and I really like our Sleep Number. We can each dial in how firm we want it (I think you have to buy a king size to get separate ‘sides’). Anyway, she likes it much more firm. Our old mattress made me miserable.

My WAG on this issue (after dealing with sleep issues off and on for 25 years) is that your sleep habits change as you grow older, and people start flailing around looking for another mattress. Whatever they buy, it helps a little, but not much. People are willing to throw an ungodly amount of money at the possiblilty of getting a good nights sleep. I suspect the problem is not usually the mattress, but I am damned if I know what the problem is. One advantage to all the high end products is the ability to try it out for 90 days and reach your own conclusions. I did that with the Sleep Number bed. I returned it because while I thought it was a good mattress, it wasn’t offering me a better night’s sleep than much cheaper alternatives, but it is definitely worth a try.

I tend to prefer a regular mattress with a memory foam pillow top. If your significant other has drastically different requirements than you, you will need to spend more money (the Sleep Number or a custom job).

I second IKEA. The only way to know is to sleep on it, lying on it in the shop tells you exactly nothing. It’s annoying, but really it’s the only way. You probably want something firmer than you might think in the shop, and bear in mind you can always get a to layer to soften it without losing the support.

I have an IKEA mattress now, but actually the best mattress I ever had was a very hard one, foam all the way and with a top layer that was softer. I had it cut to size because my bed was an irregular size, which is usually expensive. I had it done at a dodgy market stall and it was perfect…

We bought a nice foam one a year or so ago and it totally cured both our back pains.

I spent a lot of time on-line looking at sites describing the different mattress types, and then we spent a day trying them. You might think ten minutes is not enough, but you can definitely tell the difference between mattresses in that time.
The Sleep Number one didn’t do it for us, but clearly lots of people like them. This is something you can’t take anyone’s advice on. Do you sleep on your back? On your side? Do you move in your sleep?

And budget will constrain you also - but compute the price per night and ask yourself if that is worth getting rid of back pain.

You can forget comparison research, as mattress companies intentionally make that nigh impossible.

We went to a local mom-and-pop mattress store that has been in business a long time. We had bought some cheap twin matresses there several years before and they proved to be a good value. The owner gave us honest info on each brand, insisted we lie on several to get an idea which type we preferred (pillow top with memory foam), and then lead us to the best value in that type. We have been well pleased.

I love to shop online, but for something like this you can’t beat a local, reputable business.

Mattresses are the last of the don’t-tell-the-consumer-squat industries.

If you go ionto one chain and find a “Serta Sleepless” and want to compare prices, forget it - the “Sleepless” name is one used only on mattresses sold to that chain.

If you get a salesperson who knows the product lines, tell them how you sleep - back, side, stomach sleepers may need different types of support.

Generally, the larger the number of coils, the more even and comfortable the support.

If you share a bed with somebody who needs a very different mattress: never heard of “sleep number”, but you might play with toppers - one side gets a different topper. Or decide if being able to “nudge in the night” is really worth a miserable sleep and go for separate beds.

I bought mine at mattress firm. They have a policy where you have to have the mattress a minimum of 30 days, but between days 31 and 100 you can exchange the mattress. So that was a good selling point for me. In retrospect I maybe should’ve gotten a softer mattress but the window is way past now. Ah well.

I have no idea how hassle free that policy is, but that is a store with a lot of variety of mattresses.

go to a mattress store. lay on a mattress.

is it too hard? too soft? just right?

I recently replaced my son’s mattress with a 12 inch thick memory foam mattress. It wasn’t the name brand , I can’t remember what the brand is, but it’s pure heaven to sleep on if you like firm and also “gives” in pressure point areas.He loves it… It isn’t the same kind of firm a regular mattress is, though. Just a nice kind of firm feel to it. It is what I plan on eventually replacing all our mattresses with. I think I also read somewhere they are less friendly toward harboring dust mites as a bonus, but I can’t be certain on that fact… just seem to remember it when I reading up on allergy related stuff.

No - a queen-size does this too (we have one).

We’ve had it for nearly 12 years and I’m growing to really dislike it, mainly because we’ve had trouble all along getting it “right” without completely bottoming out, or having the edge collapsing, or whatever. It’s to the point where I have to have a pillow on the outside edge; if I’m facing in (toward my husband) I have to jam the pillow behind me back, sort of wedged under me a little; if I’m facing the other way, I have the pillow there to rest my arm on. Otherwise, the inflated air bladder is too high and it truly feels like I’m going to be rolled off the edge of the bed.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I’m going to start another thread asking for specific comments on folks’ current mattresses.

When it comes to products like this I always look in Consumer Reports first:

Even if I can’t always find the exact model of what they tested in a product, at least it helps me decide on a brand and what features are important. Hope this helps!

Broomstick can probably hook you up.

I sleep on futon, as in two thin pads of cotton and wool batting spread over thin wooden slats, NOT an American-style couch/bed combo with a thick lumpy cotton mattress. The slat base is necessary to provide some airflow underneath, since we have a hardwood floor and not tatami in that room.

I haven’t slept on a standard bed in about 20 years. I had a high-end air mattress for a while after I moved out of the house. As a student, portability and cheapness won out. Disadvantages: noisy (especially when <ahem> entertaining company) and required a quilted base layer to prevent lying in sweat. Pretty soon after graduation, I moved to Japan, where I’ve been living for over a decade. Western-style beds are becoming more common now, but futon were still the majority when I first came, and I personally think they’re best for sleeping. Tatami are more comfortable than floor slats or platform beds for the underlying sleeping surface.

I never wake up with a bad back or tweaked neck except for when I go back to the US to visit relatives and have to sleep on a too-soft mattress with too many pillows. I absolutely think a futon or something like it is the best surface for sleeping on. If you want a more conventional look, a platform bed is ideal. If I ever manage to get enough capital together to move my family back to the US, I will either be bringing our futon with us, or will find a suitable replacement from an American source.

I always got used beds.

Finally bought a new one.

Serta perfect sleeper, the firmest one they had. $500 w/box n frame out the door.

I went to town on them tags as soon as the installers left.

I saved the trophies…in case the feds come knockin’.

Oh, and I got a plastic lined cover…my cats like new things too. :rolleyes: