It’s easy to fault stress or sleeping next to your cellphone as the reason you’re not getting a enough quality sleep, but sleep’s most important accessory — your mattress — may be the real culprit. With prices declining and technological advances at an all-time high, now might be the time to invest.
To get a better idea of what to look for, we spoke with Scott Paladini, the founder of Bear Mattress, a startup that is quickly becoming a favorite among athletes for its ability to integrate recovery into memory foam. Their mattresses are made with clinically-proven Celliant technology (which helps regulate body temperature through increased circulation of the blood) and graphite-gel memory foam to help cool up to seven times more than traditional foam. Read on to make Paladini’s suggestions your go-to checklist for mattress shopping.
Consider a new mattress every eight years
If your current mattress is more than eight years old, it’s probably time for a new one. Mattresses tend to break down, and those lumps and unsupportive springs are going to give you back and health problems. As your mattress ages, the sleep surface becomes uneven, causing your spine to bend, which leads to malalignment. This causes achy muscles and joints, and a lot of lower back pain.
Sleeping on a lumpy or sagging mattress is also simply uncomfortable, and that lack of comfort can cause insomnia and tossing and turning. Old mattress also hold a lot of dust, which can cause allergies. Plus, mattress technology has improved and prices have come down — you wouldn’t still be using your eight-year-old cell phone, so don’t do it with your mattress.
Have a budget and stick to it
Mattresses range in price from a few hundred bucks to tens of thousands of dollars. Make sure you stay within your budget and focus on the things that matter: comfort, support, durability, and size. Spending more money doesn’t mean you get a better mattress. In fact, a lot of the money you spend in a traditional mattress store is going toward retail markup. That’s why going to an online retailer is so great; they cut out the middleman and offer the customer the lowest price possible.
Of course, just like any other product, not all mattresses are created equal. It’s important to invest in a mattress that comes with a good warranty, and to seek out a company with great customer service. There are a bunch of great options under $1,000 if you buy online. If you’re on a budget, we recommend setting aside at least $800 for a queen-size mattress. It may seem like a lot of money, but remember, you’re going to have it for a while.
Do your research before making a purchase
Innersprings, memory foam or latex? There are lots of choices, but remember, comfort is subjective and each person’s body adapts and feels different on a mattress. The Better Sleep Council is a good independent resource to help start your search. But a good rule of thumb is that unless you like the very firm sleep surface you get with traditional innerspring mattresses, go for foam.
Memory foam conforms better to the body than latex, so it’s great for people with back problems. When opting for foam, make sure you get a good amount of density too. Beds using a medium-density memory foam (four to five pounds-per-square-foot) offer durability, comfort, and support.
Two people sleeping on a full-sized mattress only have as much personal sleeping space as a baby in a crib. It is recommended that bed partners buy a mattress no smaller than a queen size. If you’re shopping for two people, consider buying memory foam as it can reduce motion transfer so you don’t disturb each other.
Look for materials that work for your body and lifestyle
Sleep is a critical element of living a healthy, active life, so look for mattresses with materials that promote better sleep. For example, graphite-gel memory foam makes for a cooler, more supportive night’s sleep versus standard memory foam. Look for textiles that will work with your body, such as Celliant responsive technology, which is clinically proven to increase oxygen levels, reduce pain, and help you fall asleep faster.
Buy a bed made with eco-friendly materials, such as mattresses that are Certi-Pur certified. Beds with this type of certification are made without heavy metals and have low VOC emissions, meaning they’re not going to compromise the air quality inside your home, and you won’t be sleeping on anything you don’t want, such as formaldehyde or phthalates.
Test it out and look for good return policies
When buying a bed you’ll want to test it out for at least 30 days to allow your body to adapt. Look for businesses that offer a solid return policy after your purchase. Online start-ups, like Bear Mattress, offer 100-night risk-free trials, free shipping, and free returns. This way you can really try out your new mattress without worrying that you bought the wrong one.