Mattress buyer guide. Part 1

  • When to buy a new mattress
  • How much to spend on a mattress
  • Firmness and comfort

When to buy a new mattress

How do you know when it is time to replace your current mattress? There is not one easy answer to that question. Here are some things to consider.

If you wake up with aches and pains, numbness or stiffness that goes away as the day progresses, it is time to shop for a new mattress.

If your mattress shows signs of overuse, if it sags or has lumps, or if it is more than 8 years old, it should be replaced with a new one.

If you wake up as tired, or more tired, than when you went to bed, it might be your mattress. Getting a less restful sleep, even if you don’t wake with aches and pains, is a sign that your mattress is worn out.

If you had a better night’s sleep in your friend’s guest room or at a hotel, it is probably because you need a new mattress.

How much to spend on a mattress

Budgeting for a mattress purchase can seem complicated. Mattresses range in price from $200 at the local discount mart to $30,000 (yes, that’s thirty thousand) for a specialized luxury model. A mattress can affect your health and well-being, so don’t hesitate to spend for it.

Most people spend between $500 and $1800 for a new mattress. A reasonable starting budget is around $1000. A mattress that is less than $500 will probably not last long enough to make it worth buying. One recommended budgeting tip is to multiply one of your day’s pay by eight day’s work. So, if you make $125 a day, multiply that by eight, for a mattress budget of, no surprise, $1000.

Remember, your mattress is a long term investment; it should last you for at least seven years. Here are a couple additional tips

  • Look for sales; most stores hold seasonal sales and salespeople are willing to negotiate
  • Ask for a lower price or for “throw-ins,” like mattress protectors or pillows
  • Most online mattress sales sites do not have sales or negotiable prices
  • You will get what you pay for, but just because it is expensive doesn’t mean it is better
  • Skip paying for extended warranties–they only cover manufacturer defects, which you will discover within the first year

Firmness and comfort

For the best results, pick the firmest mattress that is still comfortable for you. Firmness is not about support. Any mattress you buy should support your body and keep your spine in the same alignment as if you were standing. Firmness is about the comfort of the mattress. It’s about how the mattress feels when you lay down on it.

Firmness on a scale of 1 to 10

Many mattress manufacturers will identify the firmness of their mattresses on a scale of one to ten, with one being the softest and ten the firmest.

Soft: A soft mattress will fall at 1-3 on the scale. It is recommended that side sleepers use a mattress in the soft level of firmness.

Medium soft: The medium soft mattress ranges between 4 and 5 on the scale. These mattresses are preferred by sleepers who change positions throughout the night.

Medium firm: A medium firm mattress is at – 5-7 on the scale. Back sleepers should choose a medium firm mattress.

Firm: The firmest mattresses are at 8-10 on the scale. People who sleep on their stomachs prefer the firm mattress. It is also recommended that heavier people choose the firmest mattress to help keep their backs stable.

Most sleepers prefer a firmness level of 4-7. Mattress manufacturers sometimes call this the “universal” firmness level. Again, the labels do not always reflect the actual firmness.

It should be noted that the softest mattresses tend to contour most easily to the shape of the sleeper. A level 1 mattress is rarely recommended, and you would likely have to special order it. Also to be noted, a mattress with the firmness level of 10 is equivalent to sleeping on the floor.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top