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couple on firm mattress

The 8 Most Important Tips for Buying the Perfect Mattress

By: Brian Croft 

January 3, 2023 - 8:26am

I am genuinely sorry that you are sleeping on a bed you hate and that there are no solid resources out there that help make sense of buying a new mattress.  You've come to the right place and like I said before, I just want you to be happy with the mattress you end up purchasing - regardless if you get one from me.  What we offer may or may not work for you and you might not live in Missouri - and since we don't stuff mattresses in small boxes, shipping costs might put us completely out of the market for your business.  This information is yours for the taking!  

I've dedicated the past 24 years of my life to the mattress industry.  I've worked for the largest mattress retailer in the country, the largest mattress component supplier in the world, and have grown my own business from a single mattress store and turned it into a regional chain, complete with our own manufacturing plant over the past ten years.  How I ended up in the mattress business when my education is in mechanical engineering is a long story, but one that provided me with a scientific perspective on what goes into helping someone find the best mattress.  

Let me get to the good stuff.

1. Understand there is no perfect mattress.  If there was one perfect mattress, I'd have that one amazing mattress and only that one amazing mattress in my stores. I could get away with a much smaller space - could you imagine how much that would save me in rent? Unfortunately the reality is that there isn't one best mattress.  The best mattress is the one that is best for you.

2. There are only a few factors that ever need to go into choosing the right mattress.  Comfort, support, and your sleep partner. That's it?  In essence, yeah.  It's not as complicated as everyone wants to make it. I'll spell out the specifics below, but I challenge you to tell me I'm wrong after you read the entire list.   

3. How a mattress feels in a store is important, but should not be the reason you buy it.  How a mattress feels in a store matters, but true comfort is based 100% on how the mattress supports your body.  Trust me - if your body is not supported correctly, you will not be comfortable throughout the night.  

4. Support needs to be the primary factor in choosing the right mattress. The kind of experience that comes with over 15,000 customers over the past 22 years hasn't been without many failures. I didn't know how to truly help people when I first started - and the information to learn from was even more limited than it is now.  My earliest customers taught me what not to do - as plenty of them hated my guts after I recommended a mattress that was ultimately not the right mattress for them. Working through mountains of customer service issues ultimately helped me realize that terrible spinal alignment is the root cause of 95% of people regretting their mattress purchase.  Whenever someone was not happy with a mattress they bought from me, I would invite them back into my store and immediately check their spinal alignment while they were resting on the mattress they purchased.  It was always off.  Either their body looked like it was in a hammock or their body was arching because the mattress was too firm for their hips and shoulders to sink appropriately into.  Sometimes a different pillow would fix the issue and let their shoulder drop into the mattress for better alignment, but most of the time they were on the wrong mattress altogether.  As soon as I made spinal alignment the primary focus of recommending the right mattress, customer service issues became a thing of the past.  When you are properly supported by your mattress, there is minimal discomfort that causes poor sleep. Lower back pain and pressure against your hips and shoulders are no longer potential problems when your body is properly supported. Also, when your body is properly supported, you will toss and turn less and therefore experience deep, renewable sleep.  You'll wake up feeling physically great and well rested.
 

mattress spinal alignment

5. Temperature control is an important part of overall comfort.  One of the most important aspects of getting great sleep is being able to sleep without getting too hot or too cold.  Some of you regularly experience sleeping hot, waking up drenched in sweat, and know all about the joys of a warm and clammy mattress.  The rest of you can't warm up even with your flannel pajamas, down comforter, and electric blanket. Then there is a special class of you that are hybrids - you start freezing cold and then end up as a raging inferno.  Lastly, there is a lucky bunch of you that sleeps with someone like this and their extreme temperature changes are messing up your sleep! Your mattress plays a significant role in how hot or cold you are throughout the night. The next tip tells you exactly how a mattress can ultimately keep you at the right temperature and prevent sweat or chills from disrupting your sleep.
 
6. Airflow is the best temperature and moisture regulator.  Our body temperature fluctuates throughout our sleep - by as much as a couple of degrees.  There are several materials that claim to regulate temperature, but no material is more efficient at regulating your body temperature than air. Simply put, your mattress needs to breathe to remove excess heat and moisture. This is why I strongly recommend pocketed coil innersprings versus an all foam or air bladder mattress.  Innersprings are comprised mostly of air, and as they move up and down they act like a bellow system, removing excess heat and moisture from your mattress. Most mattresses use some sort of fiber near the surface of the mattress for airflow.  Some of these are better than others.  Natural wool is undoubtedly the best, but isn't used much in the industry due to cost.  Wool has the ability to keep you dry and feel dry, even if it completely saturated - which is a really big deal if you sweat a lot.  Alternatives to wool are synthetic polyester fibers, like HydroPur.  Lastly, but not least importantly, the surface fabric of a mattress plays a big part in regulating temperature - even though your sheets will obviously cover it.  Inexpensive fabric is made with polyester, which doesn't breathe and therefore gets hot. The ultimate fabrics for temperature control are made with bamboo or tencel fibers.

7. Don't let your mattress be a breeding ground for allergens.  You don't have to suffer from allergies to appreciate this. Mattresses and pillows can gain weight over time from dust mites, dead skin, and trapped moisture - which is just gross. Nothing works better at keeping your mattress and pillow clean and hygienic like a waterproof, machine washable cover. I strongly recommend any mattresses that features antimicrobial silver or latex foam - both greatly reduce dust mites, allergens, and bacteria in a mattress.  It's really hard to sleep comfortably if you are stuffy from allergies or if you are sick from sleeping on a dirty mattress.

8. Make sure you partner doesn't hijack your sleep.  We have already covered that your partner's fluctuating body temperature can completely ruin your sleep, but co-sleeping can cause even bigger problems. For example, if a mattress doesn't support your partner correctly, you'll be tortured all night from your restless mattress mate.  At this point you know how to prevent these two problems from the tips above, but the most common problems sharing a mattress is rolling together and disruption when your partner gets in and out of bed. Rolling together happens because most couples are made up of individuals that are not the same shape or size.  The heavier of the two people sinks further into a mattress, which pulls the lighter person into them. Those of you that cuddle already know how uncomfortable this can be since the closer you sleep together, the bigger of an issue this becomes. The other big way your partner can disrupt your slumber is when they get in and out of the mattress. Maybe your partner has a tiny bladder or they get up before you do, and short of them being excessively loud, you shouldn't have to be up when they are if you don't want to be.  There are a couple design elements that are a huge help with these two big sleep hijackers.  2-3" of memory foam, pocketed coil innersprings, and old school button tufting all do the trick. You don't have to get all three options, any one of them will greatly reduce roll together and being able to feel your partner move at night.


So is that it?  Is this everything you need to buy a new mattress?  Look, I know you still have questions.  If you want to learn more, I'm happy to help.  Click the button below to schedule a professional fitting from myself or one of the best people on my team.  There are no strings attached - we are here to help, regardless if you buy from us.

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