You and your family spend one third of your life asleep. So sleep in comfort, and wake up refreshed, by investing in a good mattress. Though the prices may seem steep, consider that you’ll actually be using it for about 45,000 hours (or 10 to 15 years) before you need to replace it. So spend as much as you can afford. A cheap, ‘bargain’ mattress will only lead to restless sleep and achy backs when you wake up in the morning. Here are tips for getting the best mattress (and the best sleep!) for your money.
Size of the mattress
The size of the mattress depends on how big you are, whether or not you share the bed with someone, and how much you stretch or move when you sleep.
As a general rule, your mattress should be at least six inches longer than the person sleeping in it. This allows stretching, plus room for a big pillow. So, if you are 6 feet tall then you need at least a 75 inch long mattress. There are also 80 inch mattresses.
Widths tend to be standard: 39 inches for twin beds, 54 inches for double beds, 60 inches for queen beds. King beds are the equivalent of 2 twin beds. Who wouldn’t love a bed that big? However, do consider the size of your room too: king beds need an area of at least 12 by 15 feet so that you have space to at least make the bed.
Soft vs. Hard mattress
Some people (especially those with back problems) like a firm and hard mattress; others want something softer. This is really a matter of personal preference. Mattress manufacturers have designed beds to meet both ends of the spectrum.
If you want a firm mattress, look for one that has back boards built into the foundation, heavy gauge coils and extra strong perimeter wire.
If you want a softer mattress, look for softer inner spring mattresses, cushions of extra soft urethane foam and polyester covers (kind of like those used in pillow back chairs). You may want to request 16 gauge spring units or anything that has soft materials that are quilted on to the mattress surface.
Innerspring vs. Foam mattress
If you are looking for an innerspring mattress ask about the coil count. A double bed should have 310, queen bed should have 400, and king bed should have 480.
Another important consideration is the coil convolutions, or how many ‘turns’ it has. In general, the higher the number the better it can carry the weight. For example, a 7 turn mattress is much more comfortable and durable than a 5 turn model. You also should ask if the coils are coated to prevent rust and squeaking.
Padding is also very crucial in an innerspring mattress. The thicker the padding, the better cushioning you get.
As for a foam mattress, you can choose between latex or polyurethane. Latex is more expensive, but also more durable and comfortable. If you are buying one made of polyutherane, ask for high resiliency solid core foam, not shredded foam. Also check the density and the weight of the material: if it sinks too much, don’t get it, no matter how much it costs. You’ll end up replacing it in just a few years.
Mattresses are usually covered with cotton or polyester blends. Look at the fabric: it should be closely woven. Check the edges to make sure that seams are reinforced. The best kinds have machine stitched tape; cheaper ones will simply be rolled. This detail affects whether or not the mattress will sag even if you sit down on just the edge.
Trying out the mattress
Go to the store and try different mattresses. Just take off your shoes and lie down. Roll, as you would if you were asleep. If you are going to share the mattress with somebody, both of you should go and lie down together, to get an idea of the space. You’ll also be able to check if the mattress sags under your weight. For shared beds, it’s best to get one with mattress coils that have independent spring actions, so the lighter person won’t roll towards the middle.
Of course, getting a good mattress is just the first step to creating a comfortable bedroom. Read our tips on buying and caring for beddings. Or, look at ways to create a stylish and eco friendly bedroom.\
Photo from furniturehomedesign.com