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5 Things You Should Know Before You Mattress Shop [+1 Bonus!]

by Ann Ferguson

If your mattress has more lumps than the soft cushion, you know it's time to upgrade your sleep. And we all know that mattress shopping is a big undertaking--you can't compromise on good sleep!

But how can you know what mattress is the best for you? You need to do your research! With enough mattress research, you can shop confidently to find the best mattress for your sleep.

So, before you enter a store, check out the basics of what you should know before you shop!

1. Measure Beforehand

Close-up of hands holding up a measuring tape

There first thing you should do before anything else is take the time to measure your current mattress, the size of your room, and all the doorways and hallways between the front door and your bedroom. Measuring your hallways and doorways beforehand will help you determine what mattress sizes are suitable for your space, so it’s easier to manuever. But as you measure, leave about two feet of space around your mattress, so you have enough room to walk around or add furniture (like nightstands!).

With accurate measurements, you'll ensure the mattress that suits you and your budget will actually fit in your home!

2. Research Mattress Types

Woman and salesperson discussing mattress types

It pays off to do a little bit of research on mattress types before stepping foot into a store. So, getting an idea of what you need before you enter a store is essential.

  • Innerspring Mattresses come with different coils that will support you differently and offer a lot of bounce. The more coils the mattress has, the more support it has and the longer it will last!
  • Pocket Coil Mattresses are like innerspring, except each spring works independently of the other, improving the motion isolation of regular innerspring.
  • Memory Foam Mattresses conform to your body shape, relieve pressure on your hips and shoulders, and have excellent motion isolation properties, but tend to trap in heat (look for open-cell foams for a softer feel and better airflow!).
  • Gel Memory Foam Mattresses are like memory foam, except they have gel beads that redirect heat away from the body and keep it from building in the mattress.
  • Latex Mattresses are made from natural or synthetic latex and offer incredible pressure relief, heat resistance, pressure relief, excellent motion isolation, and hypoallergenic properties.
  • Hybrid Mattresses blend the benefits of coils and foam to bring bounce, airflow, and pressure relief.

Knowing what bed base you have is also important to selecting the best mattress type. For example, platform beds can only have memory foam, latex, or hybrid mattresses, since they don’t use a box spring. So, be sure to keep that in mind!

3. Ask the Right Questions

Person asking salesperson a question

One thing you should always do when mattress shopping is asking the right questions. Sure, it requires one-on-one time with a salesperson, but we promise the conversation will be worth a mattress that better serves your sleep. Some questions to keep in mind include the following:

  • How long has a particular mattress been on the showroom floor? If you like how it feels, but it's been in the showroom a while, it might be more broken in than a new one.
  • How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? The salesperson can use this information to help you find a better mattress.
  • Do you wake up with back pain? You need a mattress that focuses on spinal support!
  • Does the mattress feel too soft or too firm? Consider if it has the cushion you want.
  • Does the mattress have a sturdy edge? It'll make getting in and out of bed easier.
  • Does the retailer offer a test period, comfort guarantee, delivery, or return policy?
  • Will the retailer haul away your old mattress, so you don't have to worry about disposal?

All these questions are essential to helping you discover the right mattress. And don't forget to keep your body type, sleep position, budget, and sleep issues in an account as you shop!

4. Look for Support

There's more to good sleep than a soft and comfy mattress — you need adequate support for your body! Good support is crucial, especially for those pressure points like your shoulders, hips, and lower back. While mattress comfort is important, mattress support for your body shape is the key to a good night's sleep.

A good mattress will distribute your weight evenly, so the bulk of your body doesn't sit at your pressure points. And if you have back pain, you'll need a mattress that aligns your spine correctly (don't forget to have the right pillows, too!).

Pro Tip: A supportive mattress will feel firmer, but you can find a mattress with more comfort and pressure-relieving features. Or you can add more comfort with a mattress topper!

5. Construction Matters

When mattress shopping, pay attention to what goes into the mattress too! This can help narrow down what mattress you need, like if it has good airflow, so you don't get too hot or how long the materials will last.

  • Memory foam is typically built with polyurethane foams to conform to your body but tends to trap heat (gel memory foam helps disperse heat!).
  • Latex is naturally aerated, but the construction process (Dunlop or Talalay) will tell you more. These will last longer than memory foam!
  • Hybrid combines open coil systems and aerated foams and will last a long time.

It's also good to look up customer reviews of mattress brands and models you're interested in. That way, you can better understand how the mattress performs over time and if others have been satisfied with their purchase.

BONUS: How to Test A Mattress

Family testing a mattress in store

The critical element to compiling your mattress research is testing each mattress properly! Yes, you'll feel a little bit like Goldilocks, but that's what it's going to take to find the "just right" feel!

  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Spend 15 to 30 minutes on each mattress to understand the feel better. Certain foams and other materials will take some time to adjust to your body.
  • Lay on each mattress in your preferred sleeping position.
  • Try getting in and out of the mattress multiple times (don't forget to roll around, too!).
  • If you need to adjust your position to get comfortable after 30 minutes, move on to the next one!

The ultimate test will be when you take the mattress home and sleep on it for a while. So, be sure to ask for a trial period. You'll need a minimum of two weeks for your body to adjust to the mattress; if it hasn't by the end of two weeks, the mattress isn't a good fit.

Pro Tip: If you sleep with a partner, bring them when you shop so you'll have a better chance of finding a mattress that works for both of you!

Good Nights Ahead!

There you have it; now you have the best mattress research to start your new-mattress journey! And if you're ready to start mattress shopping, Crane's Mattress has what you need in our mattress selection!

And if you have any questions, give us a call or stop by! We'll help steer you in the right direction!