The past two weeks I've been shopping for a new mattress for our bed. We bought a bed 11 1/2 years ago when we got married. For the past four or five, it has been too soft. As my husband's shoulders have become increasingly more painful, we both realized that it's time to get a new mattress. My husband lives with chronic pain, so if I can do something to help, I always want to. So began the search for a new mattress...
I went to three chains around us. Sleepy's, Mattress Discounters, and Boscov's (a department store). At Sleepy's and Boscov's, the salespeople couldn't tell me much about the mattresses or the differences between them. It was up to me to figure things out. The third store was where I learned a lot.
I met a salesman who's been selling mattresses for 30 years. He explained so much to me. So, I'll try and explain it clearly here.
Point #1: Sleep number beds are like the waterbeds from 20 years ago. With waterbeds, the water was always trying to find a way out and it often eventually did. With sleep number beds, air is under pressure in the beds. That air is constantly trying to find a way out. And eventually, it does. The salesman explained to me that after a few years, people find themselves waking up in the night to pump their beds back up.
Point #2: Sixteen years ago, mattresses were flippable. You could use both sides of the mattress. Then about 12 years ago, one of the manufacturers used the results of a survey (which said that 40% of people never flipped their mattresses) and began making 2 or 3 nonflippable mattresses. They sold well. So, they started making more and pretty soon all manufacturers followed suit. Now, they've reengineered the coils so that you really couldn't flip them even if you wanted to. Of the three stores I went to, only Boscov's carried 3 mattresses that were flippable.
Point #3: More springs. That sounds great, doesn't it? Sure. But, the salesman explained to me that in order to do that, the springs had to be smaller and of a smaller gauge wire. So, is it a better deal after all? Maybe, maybe not. It isn't certain. What is for sure is simply a selling point if people want more springs.
Point #4: Warranties. The total warranty period is a combination of 2 things. 1. a full warranty for the first so many years. Then, 2. a prorated warranty for the remainder of the period. What's covered? Pretty much if the mattress turns out to sag in the middle after a few years because of defects.
Point #5: Mattresses are made for our society at large. So, decide what mattress you like based on how it feels, not the label. A person's weight will affect how they sleep on a mattress. This was the point that made me know that I needed my husband to try out the mattresses too. He had wanted me to just pick one out. But, he weighs 70 lbs more than me, so of course the mattress will feel different to me than to him.
Point #6: Foam is the new thing. For years, it was only tempurpedic who made foam mattresses. Now, there's another option. icomfort from Sealy has 2 choices. 1 is a completely foam mattress (which is supposed to have a cooling layer in it) and 2 is a coil mattress with a foam topper. The mattresses vary by the thickness of the foam and the effect on how you sleep. icomfort prices are a bit negotiable, but tempurpedic's prices are firm. They should be the same wherever you go.
Point #7: The price of a mattress at most mattress shops is like buying a used car. The price the salesman gives you is based on the % commission he would like to earn on the sale. They have a book that says, If you want x% commission, then sell the mattress for y price---for all mattresses (except Tempurpedics) in the store.
In the end, I heard from several friends that a good mattress made all of the difference in the world for them and that a good mattress is worth it's price. I couldn't bring myself to pay the price for a foam queen mattress though without my husband trying it out first. So, we went out Saturday night. My husband is like many men. He asked me 1) we only have to go to 1 store, right? 2) we aren't going to be at the store all night are we?
In the end, we tried the icomforts and the tempurpedics. The Tempurpedics felt more firm to him, so we settled on the second to the bottom one, which was comfortable and in our price range. Tuesday it will arrive and we are looking forward to it. I really hope it will help him sleep and not wake up in pain every morning. I'm secretly hoping that I will be able to sleep through the night too (since I haven't in almost 10 years).
So, that's what I learned about mattresses this week!