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Mattresses Buying Guide

Choosing a new mattress  isn't just like picking out any other piece of home furniture .  The right mattress will determine the quality of your sleep and thus, the quality of your everyday life. If you choose the wrong model, you could end up with back pain, high stress, irritability and even a weakened immune system.  So how do we find the perfect mattress for our bodies and our sleeping  habits?  It's all about informed, careful shopping.  There are many different types of mattresses out there--from springs , to foam  and Tempur-Pedic --so you should test them all out.  Give each model a good 15 minutes before deciding, and don't let your budget do all the talking.  Although opting for a cheaper model may be appealing at first, chances are that these bad boys aren't as sturdy or as comfortable as their slightly more expensive counterparts.  So think of this as an important household  investment; after all, you spend nearly one-third of your life asleep!

Choosing a New Mattress

  • "When is it time for a new one?"
    • I've had my mattress for more than seven years.
    • I wake up groggy and tired with body aches for no particular reason.
    • My mattress sags and is just plain uncomfortable.
    • My mattress looks lumpy and out of shape.
  • "What size is best for me?"
    • Remember that it has to fit in your existing bed frame .
    • Individuals can get by with a single or twins, and these models are often most preferred in tight living spaces.  But if you need some extra room to roll around and spread your limbs, a double may be more comfy.  Just keep in mind that the bigger you go, the more expensive they get.  And a word to the wise:  If you are 6 feet (183 cm) tall or taller, a twin bed will probably leave your feet dangling off the edge.
    • Couples can get by with doubles, but the preference is king.  Keep in mind, however, the space that you have in your master bedroom .  Too large a bed can make it difficult to move about the room and may make it feel stuffy.  A double can be just as comfortable when topped with fluffy covers and soft pillows.
    • Bed Sizes (W x L)
    • Keep in mind that what is called a King in the UK is called a Queen in the US.
  • "How firm is too firm?"
    • A soft, fluffy mattress can feel great when you first lie down, but it may not be best for a full night's sleep.  Too soft of a bed can put your hips and shoulders out of alignment, leaving you feeling achy and stiff.
    • Firmness offers your body the support it needs all night long, but you don't want to opt for something super-hard unless you have severe back problems.  Instead, find something that is firm while still able to conform to the contours of your body. 
  • "Will warranties really secure my investment?"
    • It's true what they say--always keep that tag on the bed; otherwise, the warranty is void.
    • Most warranties for brand name mattresses are for 10 or more years.
    • The more expensive the mattress, the longer the warranty tends to be.
    • Warranties are often pro-rated, which means that if a 10 year warranty mattress fails in the eighth year, you'll get 20% of the purchase price applied to your next mattress.
    • Try buying a bed with a 30-day trial period that lets you return the mattress within the month if you're not satisfied.

Mattress Components

  • Spring Mattress 
    • Gauge -- Coils are measured by their thickness, or gauge. The thicker the wire, the lower the gauge and the firmer the mattress.
      • Quality mattresses usually run between a 12.75 (firm) and a 15 (softer) gauge.
      • Firm, orthopaedic mattresses  often have a gauge of 12 or below.
    • A traditional spring mattress has quality upholstery surrounding the springs to both insulate and cushion.  A pillow top  also provides an extra layer of cushion, but this option cannot be flipped to prevent sagging.
  • Foam Mattress  
    • These widely vary in quality, longevity, and price.
    • Latex  is a good foam option. that is strong, comfortable, fireproof and hypo-allergenic.
    • Reflex Foam  is another high quality foam that is extremely elastic and supportive.
    • Viscoelastic/Memory Foam  conforms to the shape of your body while sleeping, offer unmatched support.  It returns to a flat position once you get out of bed.
  • Air Mattress 
    • Instead of springs or foam, there are little pockets of air inside your mattress that keep your body afloat. 
    • You can adjust the amount of air in the pockets to alter the firmness of your bed.
    • You can even have two separate sets of pockets so that each side of the bed to adjust for couples. 
    • These will cost £600-£1300, depending on the size.

Major Manufacturers

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