Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Shop for a New Mattress

We only do it once a decade, some even less often, some more, is there a trick to shopping for your next mattress?  We believe there are no real "tricks", just an approach that will maximize your comfort, and minimize the discomfort.  We are in the mattress industry, and most people see mattress sales people as slightly above car salesmen.  And, we admit, it is good to be cautious.

The first tip is to be methodical.  The first thing to do is to consider all types of mattresses.  Buying the same technology over and over again, and being disappointed, is not good.  So first, find out what your options are.  Take inventory on just what your perfect mattress would do.  For some, they want back pain to go away.  Others don't sleep particularly well, tossing and turning night after night.  Still other have no complaints except they just don't like buying a new mattress.  Let's look at each one.

If you have sleep issues, pain in particular, what type of mattress will work best for you.  Spring bed manufacturers say get a hard bed.  And that is true of spring beds, not always true of other technologies.  Perhaps even a friend or family member has told you the same.  We have found that pain comes from two places.  The first is the normal wear and tear on our bodies.  The second is sleeping on the wrong bed.  From a personal perspective, after sleeping for years on a very firm bed, after laying on beds in the show room and choosing the one that felt the hardest, did not work for us.  The key is to find a bed that will support your normal waking posture.  If the surface does not do that, you will get pain.  This is the easiest pain to 'cure' by replacing your mattress with one that works better.  We would wake with pain most mornings.  Throughout the day, that pain would subside, only to come back as we slept.  Our 'cure' came from getting the right mattress.  Almost immediately our bodies became less of an enemy, and in the years since that time, our sleep has improved and the pain is for the most part gone.

The second form of pain is medical.  Things like arthritis, or fibromyalgia can impede your sleep and cause pain.  No mattress can cure that.  But the proper mattress might just reduce that pain.  Some 80 percent of people will experience back pain in their lives.  The key is to discover why.  Injuries can be the cause, as can simple muscle strain.  We spend 1/3 of our lives in bed, the bed should promote a healthy back.  A little factoid at this point, up until several years ago, doctors did not have to take sleep science to receive their degree.  Some medical practitioners are not equipped to deal with the subject.  Times are changing, and hopefully so will our pain.  In the mean time, why not try to figure a little out on our own?

The second tip is to read real reviews on different beds.  Look at ratings like that that the BBB publishes.  Or web sites like Sleep Like the Dead.  They will show you who to trust.  But that still does not answer the main question:  what bed is best for me?

Second, after your research period is complete, it is time to go to the store.  Please schedule enough time to complete this task.  We see people all the time that just want to buy something so they can go home and do a "fun" activity.  This is the wrong approach, and you will pay for it for years!  Plan to spend about an hour, perhaps more in each store you visit.  Pick specialized stores, that is those who feature particular technologies.  A store that features too many differing technologies cannot be as well versed in how to use them as a specialist store.  Also, try to pick a store that is local, because local stores rely more on your business than chains.  Department stores as an example don't make their living off mattresses, they sell primarily on price, and while price is important, it should not be the only consideration.  If a local store fails you, they are injured much worse than a giant chain.  Your negativity towards them can literally bankrupt them.

When you go into a store, know what you are looking for.  Talk to the clerk, tell them what you need as ask their suggestions.  This is critical, but be mindful that sometimes they will show you what they make the most from, if that happens, politely leave.  An example is once, we were on a competitive shop, we really wanted to see how a store (a major chain) positioned Tempurpedic.  Tempurpedic beds were right inside the door, and before the clerk arrived we were looking at the tags and sitting on the bed.  To me, that would show interest in Tempurpedic, not so this clerk.  Apparently Simmons was offering better spiffs, so he walked us away from the bed we had an interest in to show us the Simmons beds, he did show us beds with memory foam in the topper.  We even mentioned that we heard good things about Tempurpedic, and after a long wait he did agree to show us the Tempurpedic products, but he did not understand them.  If a sales person does not approach you at all, unless they are busy, quietly leave.  Mattress shopping should not be self service.  Buying from a club, or any store, with no help, except to tie it to the top of your car, is a disservice to your investment and your back.

Fourth, don't be in a hurry.  All mattress stores have sales all the time.  In fact, most smaller stores will match the chains price, and if you come back after the sale may even sell you the bed you want at the sale price.  There is a mall store air bed company that flashes head lines, graphics or anything else shouting that this is the best sale of the season, and they are correct, their sale generally does not change.  On the end date of the current sale, another sale starts, and that sale is rarely different on price.  There maybe different model focus, or they may be closing out a particular model ( although, only consider closeouts on normal inventory, not beds that were made to be special).  And you can always offer a price.  Keep in mind that stores need to pay the rent, and utilities, and pay employees, but making a couple hundred dollars often will make the difference in their ability to pay the rent!  Offer to pay with cash or check and ask for a discount.  Credit card companies get a piece of every sale, and that factors into the price.  Also keep in mind, that they won't sell at a loss.

We do like to keep these blogs a manageable length, so we will continue this topic a while longer.  Please check back to see more tips.  We believe that these are a good start.  Next we will dive into the different technologies, and what they may offer to you for better sleep.  Until then...

Sleep Well!

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