You’ve decided that you want or need a new mattress. Terrific! There is nothing in the world more exhilarating or healthier than a rejuvenating, productive night’s sleep. Using our mattress shopping guide we will guide you through the process of selecting and purchasing the best mattress for YOU!

Someone enjoying a mattress they purchased using our mattress shopping guide

Mattress Buying Guide – Step-by-Step

  • Do your homework.
  • Plan a visit to the store.
  • Select the right mattress.
  • Online shopping.

Mattress Shopping Guide First Step – Do Your Homework. Be Prepared Before The Selection Process Begins.

What size mattress do you need?  

  • Is the mattress for a single person, a couple, or a family (including children and pets)?
  • Are you replacing your existing mattress at the same size, or looking to expand or downsize?
  • What size is your room? Consider and take measurements of the overall room width and length, the door and closet openings, access to windows and heaters, and the existing or newly intended furniture. Do you want two night stands?

Take the following measurements:

  • How high from the floor you want your mattress to be.
  • How high from the floor are the slats that your current foundation or box spring rests on.

What foundation do you want or may need?

  • What kind of bed do you have or are planning to have? Is it a standard or platform bed?
  • What is a comfortable height for your mattress?
  • Do you want an adjustable base?
  • Are you satisfied with a standard flat box support?

Think about your budget.

  • Are you flexible with pricing base on quality and desire?
  • Do you have physical limitations and ailments that take priority over the price?
  • Do you have limited funds?
  • Is this a primary or guest bedroom?

Mattress Shopping Guide Second Step – Plan Your Visit To A Mattress Store.

  • Wear comfortable and appropriate clothing. You will be getting on and off of mattresses, lying down in a public space, and possibly having your legs raised. Loose fitting pants and top will best mimic sleeping clothes, and not have you be concerned about modesty.
  • Prepare to spend about an hour or more. There is a process. It begins with a comfort test where you decide on your perfect mattress “type”. Once you narrow down your selections to 2 or 3 mattresses, you should lie in each for a minimum of ten minutes to make sure this is your best choice.
  • Bring your sleeping partner so that the best compromise can be made if you don’t have the same sleeping requirements.
  • When choosing for others, be frugal and considerate. A guest room should have a mattress suitable for all body weights, types and preferences. Children are not equipped to make a viable choice. Choose based on the sleeping position and weight of the child.
  • Take our Mattress Quiz and bring your results. (You can print out or download to your phone).

You now have your notes, and measurements, and have allowed ample time for this experience. Please do not link this in with a list of chores or errands. Do not be tired, and do not be hungry. This is a major choice and investment in your health and well-being.

Mattress Buying Guide Third Step – Go Shopping and Choose Your Mattress.

  • Consult with a mattress professional in a reputable mattress shop. State your requirements, your preferred sleeping positions, and the preferred “feel” of a mattress. Reveal any physical limitations or incapacities. Be honest about any disorders such as snoring, sleep apnea, acid reflux, etc. Share your personal preferences, such as reading, watching TV, or working on a laptop in bed. All these factors are considered in coming to a mattress and support choice.
  • Start lying on mattresses. Mattress type does not matter – whether innerspring (plush, firm, pillowtop) or memory foam. Manufacturer does not matter. The goal is two-fold: to insure proper body support and to feel comfort. The mattress should fit the contours of the individual body and physical requirements.

When Lying on Your Back

There should be no gap under the three major areas that require support:  the lumber, between the shoulder blades, and behind the knees. The mattress should be snug against and conform to the body, providing proper “push-back” in the negative areas mentioned. The stomach should be flat, and the hips and torso should not sink down lower than the feet, which would indicate a too soft mattress. The spine is not flat, and the perfect mattress should conform to each individual silhouette, resulting in symmetry between body and product.

When Lying on Your Side

The back and hips are the biggest muscle groups of the body, supporting its weight. When lying on your side, body weight is rested on the ankles, knees, hips and ribs — which have no muscle — and on the shoulder. These are pressure points. The small shoulder muscle is absorbing the weight of the entire body. If not properly supported, by being recessed into the mattress, the pressure on this muscle will decrease blood circulation causing a pinched nerve resulting in numbness and tingling in the finger tips.  It will also cause mis-alignment, resulting in neck and back pain. The goal here is to have the spine aligned in a perfectly straight line, from neck to tail bone. A curved spine is the result of a too soft or too firm mattress.

When Lying on Your Stomach

The center portion of the body is the heaviest, and in turn, requires the most support. Mattress selection should err on the firmer side. If the hips sink too far down into the mattress, an inverse “hammock” effect is the result. The feet and shoulders should never be higher than the hips. This position causes tremendous pressure on the lower back.

Extras – Additional Thoughts and Considerations.

  • If not properly supported and comfortable, the body will send a message to the brain every 15-20 minutes stating this discomfort, begging for a shift in position. This happens over and over again and begins the Flipping Olympics which can turn into a Night of Horrors, tossing and turning all night, waking feeling like you have not slept at all, more tired than when you retired to bed the previous night.
  • As we age, our muscle mass decreases, and our bones become more brittle. A softer mattress is required. An objection of sleeping on a mattress that the body has gotten used to, does not mean that it is the best one for the individual. Humans are creatures of habit. Our bodies change over time, and with it comes different physical requirements. The mind may not want to accept this, but it is a necessity for proper fit.
  • Here is a reliable exercise to test for proper firmness or softness of a mattress. Lying on your back, raise your arm above your head, and asking the mattress consultant to push your arm down, provide resistance. If your arm easily goes down, the mattress is too soft. Try this again on a firmer mattress. If the consultant has a difficult time pushing your arm down, this is the better choice for you. When the spine is properly supported, you will have more strength.. When the spine is not aligned, the arm is easily pushed down.
  • Another exercise is the two coins on the floor test. Stand with one arm lifted straight out at shoulder height. Ask the mattress consultant to push your arm down while you provide resistance. Then place two coins (on top of each other) on the floor and stand with one heel on the stacked coins. Again, extend your arm and resist as it is pushed down. You will see that this time, there is much less resistance, and the arm goes down with little effort. This illustrates how being just slightly out of spinal alignment affects our entire body.
  • Before finalizing your purchase, use our list of questions to compare.