mattress shopping tips

(TACT) Do you ever wake up feeling like you didn't sleep at all? Is your back pain getting worse with every passing day?

If you have lower back pain, you're not alone. Back pain is the most common cause of disability and the leading cause of people calling in sick to work. 

If you're tired of taking expensive pain medication and you want to avoid surgery, you should know that your back pain might have a simple fix. Improving your condition could be as easy as buying a new mattress. 

In this article, we'll give you valuable mattress shopping tips. We'll also give you some tips on finding a mattress online.  

1. Get the Right Size

The very first step in buying a new mattress is to figure out what size you really need. In general, you should get a queen or king for two adults. 

Otherwise, you're stuck sharing a small space. The average full size mattress is only 53 inches across.

If you have two people on a full size bed, each person will only have about two feet of room to lay in. That's about the width of a crib mattress

On the other hand, a king size bed is 76 inches across. That's like having two twin beds next to each other, giving each person room to stretch out while they sleep.

If you're not sure which size to buy for your teenager, you should know that there is an option called twin XL. It's longer than a regular twin by about a foot. 

You'll have to buy special sheets for that size bed, but it's a good bet for fast-growing teens. Lots of colleges have twin XL beds as well.   

2. Test Before You Buy

The next step to buying a mattress is to go to a mattress store and test out a few styles.  

You should always go to a store that specializes in mattresses because you'll be able to negotiate the price with the salespeople and have a wider selection. 

Take your time when you're testing mattresses. Ideally, you'll have time to lay down on at least three mattresses for 10 to 15 minutes each.  

That may seem like a long time, but mattresses are a big investment. A new mattress can cost up to $1,000 or more, depending on where you buy it.  

Check out The Mattress Nerd Review of Tuft & Needle beds. They let you test their beds for 100 days before you make your buying decision.  

If you're concerned about germs in the mattress store, don't worry. Stores disinfect their beds regularly.

Just bring a towel or flat sheet and lay down on top of it instead of laying directly on the sample bed.  

3. Find the Perfect Firmness

Wondering what to look for in a mattress? You want to find one that's big enough and that is priced fairly, but you also need to find the right degree of firmness. 

 If you have low back pain or another chronic condition, talk to your doctor or physical therapist. You can also ask the mattress salesperson what they recommend.  

Keep in mind that every mattress company has its own firmness scale. There is no universal measuring system, and one company's "firm" could be another's "medium."

Some mattresses have supportive inner springs, while others are made entirely of foam. Foam tends to retain warmth and moisture, so you might want to skip it if you tend to overheat.  

Inner springs work well with firmer mattresses but can wear out with continued use. Memory foam, on the other hand, springs back after you get out of bed.

This is another good reason to test out mattresses before you buy them. 

4. Invest in a Good Foundation

Once you've found a good mattress, it's time to consider the foundation. Your mattress store may give you a metal mattress frame for free, but you have other options. 

If you need storage, you might want to consider buying a captain's bed. These are wooden bed frames that have pull-out drawers on each side. It's the equivalent of having another dresser. 

If you like a sleeker, more modern look, you might like a simple wooden foundation. This type of platform is usually low to the ground, so skip it if you have trouble getting up in the morning. 

Even if you do use the metal frame, you can make it more stable by adding a sheet of plywood. This extends the life of your mattress by spreading out your weight and stabilizing the frame. 

Talk to your salesperson about the types of frames you can buy, and see if you can try a few before you make your decision. 

5. Review the Return Policy

Before you buy a mattress, make sure that you have a look at the return policy. Whether you're buying online or in a store, make sure that you have at least a 30-day window to do returns. 

Also, take your time and review the warranty that comes with your mattress. You may have to pay for a protection plan, and it may come with a list of requirements.  

For example, if you have a stain on your mattress it could void your warranty. You may have to buy a waterproof mattress cover to protect the mattress itself.

Surprisingly, removing that little tag that's attached to the mattress will also void your warranty.

 If you end up ordering online, make sure that the return policy covers damage from shipping. You don't want to get stuck with a damaged mattress that can't be returned.  

6. Shop at the Right Time

So when is the best time to shop for mattresses?

There are a few ways to find great mattress deals. First, shop in the month of May. New mattresses roll out in June of each year, so stores want to get rid of their existing stock.  

Other good times of year to buy mattresses are on Black Friday and the day after Christmas. You should be able to find great deals on those days.

Buying a mattress is just like buying a new car: go at the end of the month when the salespeople are trying hard to meet their monthly quotas.  

If you don't feel comfortable bargaining, bring someone with you who can discuss price with the sales staff. You might be surprised to find out how flexible mattress prices can be.

Another way to get a great discount on a mattress is to buy floor models. They're used but only slightly worn, and you could save hundreds of dollars.  

Talk to your salesperson and don't be afraid to haggle a bit on the price. Even if you can get $100 off, it's still a good deal. That will cover the cost of your extended warranty. 

7. Maintain Your Investment

Now that you know how to shop for a mattress, let's talk about how to maintain it. Many people don't know that they should rotate their mattresses every three months. 

If you have a memory foam bed or pillow top bed, don't flip it over but do rotate it regularly.  

Kids love to jump on beds, but they don't realize that they're ruining the inner springs. For active kids, invest in a memory foam bed that will retain its shape. 

But skip the bunk beds. Studies show that most bunk bed accidents happen with kids under the age of 10. 

To extend the life of your beds, try not to perch on the edge of your mattress. If you're watching TV, try to sit back against the wall or headboard.

You can even vacuum your mattress once in a while. If you keep a cover on it, you won't get much dirt, but it's always a good idea to disinfect your mattress every two months or so.

 If you're sharing the bed with your spouse, you might want to switch sides once in a while. This will even out the wear and tear on your mattress.  

Mattress Shopping Tips for Online Shoppers

You may be able to score fantastic discounts just by ordering online. Once you've found a bed that you like, go ahead and look it up online. 

You can always call your mattress store and ask them to beat the price that you've found online or in another store. 

 Want more mattress shopping tips? See if your mattress store offers inflatable mattresses. This is a new product that allows you to control how much air is in the top part of your bed. 

If you and your spouse have different preferences for firmness, you might love these air mattresses. They let you control your firmness and could help your spouse with their snoring.  

In addition to buying a mattress, take the time to wind down at night. Turn off your electronic devices, have a nice bath or shower, and breathe deeply in your new bed!

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