We’ve written before about the major role sleep plays in looking and feeling your best. Research consistently finds that getting plenty of high-quality sleep is essential for minimizing wrinkles and eye puffiness, improving your complexion and hair, and generally looking healthy and radiant.
When it comes to achieving adequate beauty sleep, what you sleep on is key. Your mattress can be the difference between tossing and turning for hours or sleeping soundly all night long. In fact, 93 percent of people agree that mattresses play a huge role in determining the quality of their sleep.
Most mattresses should be replaced approximately every eight to 10 years. But if you frequently suffer from poor-quality sleep, that may be a sign it’s time to purchase a new mattress even sooner. Whenever you decide to buy, here are five steps for choosing a mattress that will help you achieve beauty-inducing sleep.
Determine your budget.
There’s no way around it: Mattresses are a big-ticket item. Given the impact they can have on your quality of life and overall wellbeing, the investment is arguably worth it—but it’s still a major cost, and some options may be off limits to many of us because mattresses can rack up a price tag that’s well into the many thousands of dollars. (The good news is higher prices don’t necessarily equate to better mattresses.)
Given all this, the first order of business when you set out to buy a new mattress is to determine how much you are willing and able to spend. This number will have a major impact on the options available to you as you undertake your mattress hunt.
Narrow in on a mattress type and size.
The next order of business is to research the different types and sizes of mattresses and decide which sounds like the best fit for you.
Most of us are familiar with the standard sizes of twin, double, queen, and king. What works for you will be determined by your own size and preferred sleeping position, the size of your bedroom, whether you sleep with a partner, and so on.
When it comes to mattress types, there are several varieties on the market today. These include:
- Adjustable beds, which can be manually adjusted to various angles
- Air mattresses, which are filled with air chambers and covered by a layer of foam (These are different from inflatable varieties)
- Innerspring mattresses, which contain coiled springs
- Latex mattresses, which are made from natural or synthetic rubber
- Memory foam mattresses
Mattresses also come in a variety of firmness levels, from soft to firm, and a variety of materials, from natural and organic options to synthetic varieties. Each of these mattress types has its own pros and cons, so do your research to understand how each type might relate to your own sleeping preferences and needs.
If you’re not sure where to start, consult your doctor or chiropractor about what type might work best for you. It may also be helpful to think about what you do and don’t like about your current mattress to help guide your decision making as you look for a new one. It’s also invaluable to turn to mattress reviews, which can give you insights into the experiences of people with similar body types, sleep styles, and comfort preferences to your own.
Take it for a “test sleep.”
Research can help point you in the right direction, but you can’t choose the perfect mattress for you without testing it out in person. Whether this happens in a store or during a trial period, the process is the same: Test the mattress as if you were actually sleeping on it. In the case of a trial period, you can do just that. In the case of shopping in a store, you’ll need to pretend.
Do so by taking off your shoes and lying down on the mattress in your normal sleep position. Stay there (you might consider shifting positions a few times) for at least 15 to 20 minutes and observe whether you continue to feel comfortable and supported—your personal comfort is the most important factor when choosing a mattress. It’s also helpful to ask a friend or relative to help you determine whether the mattress supports your spine in a neutral position when you’re lying on your side. Don’t let yourself be pressured by a salesperson; this is a major purchase, and you should be afforded the space and time to give it the consideration it deserves.
Understand the return policies and warranty.
Before committing to a purchase, it’s essential to understand the return policies (including any hidden fees or conditions) and warranty terms. The ideal situation includes:
- Delivery services and optional disposal services for your old mattress
- A full refund offer sans re-stocking or shipping fees (or credit for another new mattress)
- A return period (often referred to as a “comfort guarantee”) of at least several weeks or ideally more in the realm of 100 days
- A warranty of a minimum of 10 years full replacement or non-prorated warranty
Don’t lay down a credit card until you’re confident of and comfortable with the purchasing terms.
Give it time.
Once you’ve gone through all of the steps above, it’s time to bring your new mattress home. If your first night’s sleep isn’t stellar, don’t panic. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to a new mattress (which is why it’s so important to make sure the retailer offers a generous return policy). Give your body time to adjust before making a final decision.
After a few weeks, start tracking how easily you fall asleep, whether you stay asleep through the night, and how you feel mentally and physically upon waking. These indicators will let you know whether you’ve found the right mattress or it’s necessary to keep looking.
Your mattress plays a major role in determining your sleep quality, which has a huge effect on your physical and mental wellbeing. Treat the decision with the gravity it deserves by adopting these strategies for hunting down the right mattress for you.