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Shopping Tips:
Beds

Are you tossing and turning night after night? Are you not getting the deep, restful sleep you need because you can't seem to get comfortable? If so, then it may be time to buy a new sleep set. Remember, the average person spends roughly 1/3 of their life sleeping. So getting a quality sleep set is one of the most important investments you can make. So consider your bed set usage. Then, learn how to shop for the bed set that's best for you.

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The following information is adapted from The Better Sleep Guide, a free brochure from by the Better Sleep Council's "Consumer Information Series."

Mattress Life Span
The life span of a mattress depends on a combination of variables that affects the length of time that a sleep set will provide optimum support and comfort. Some of these variables include:

  • Quality. A poor-quality mattress can deteriorate quickly, while high-quality sets can be expected to provide comfort and support for a number of years. As with other products, you usually get what you pay for. · Frequency of Use. All things being equal, a sleep set in the master bedroom that is used on a nightly, continuous basis will lose comfort more quickly than one in a guest room.
  • Weight. An adult who is heavy will wear out a mattress more quickly than someone who is lightweight. And because two people weigh more than one, an adult who sleeps alone will put less wear and tear on their mattress than a couple who sleep together.
  • Care. Proper care can extend the life of a mattress. Be sure turn your mattress over, end-to-end and side-to-side EVERY TWO WEEKS for the first six months. After this period, turn it every two or three months.

Match Your Mattress with Your Life Stage
As we age, our comfort and support preferences change as well. Changes in lifestyle, such as getting married, or physical conditions, such as an injury, also require changes in your mattress. If you have children, make sure their mattresses continue to provide comfort and support as they grow.

Conduct a "Rest Test"
Mattress comfort is a matter of personal preference. To find the one that best suits you, go to a local mattress retailer and compare the comfort and support of new sleep sets in the store with your old sleep set at home. Try several different ones. Take off you shoes and lie down on the mattress. If you sleep with a partner, be sure both of you try out the new mattresses. It's important to decide on a sleep set that meets both of your needs.

Mattress Construction
A mattress is made of three basic elements:

  • The foundation acts as a giant shock absorber, taking the normal wear and tear of nightly use. Foundations also lend added support, durability and, in the case of adjustable beds, flexibility.
  • The mattress core construction varies with the type of mattress. Whether the mattress is made of springs, air, foam, or water, this middle "core" provides support for the sleeper.
  • The upholstery layers wrapped around the core provide surface comfort. A variety of foams and fibers are used to improve cushioning properties and enhance the support of the mattress core.

Sleep Set Advances
Because of technological advances and medical developments, today's mattress sets are not the same as those made 10 years ago. Industry research and development has improved mattress and foundation engineering to provide optimum comfort and support. A new sleep set that incorporates these advances can lead to a better night's sleep.

Six Shopping Musts

  1. Support. A quality mattress and foundation will gently support your body at all points and keep your spine in the same body position as good standing posture. When selecting a mattress, keep in mind that your body should be able to relax, with your spine supported in its natural curve. Otherwise, your muscles work all night and you'll wake up stiff and sore.
  2. Comfort. Mattresses don't have to be as hard as a board to be good for you, though some people may prefer a firmer feel. Today's mattresses are built with luxurious new cushioning materials and surface treatments, creating a feel that is more plush.
  3. Durability and Warranty. Durability refers to how long support and comfort will last. Like all products, mattresses and foundations gradually wear out. That's why you should reevaluate your sleep set annually. The warranty protects you against product defects and workmanship mistakes, not gradual loss of comfort and support.
  4. Space. Select a new mattress that gives you enough room for easy, free movement, especially if you're sleeping with a partner. Couples should select a queen- or king-size mattress to ensure that both people have enough space.
  5. Matching Sleep Sets. Matching mattresses and foundations are designed to work together. Mismatching sets, putting a new mattress on an old foundation or adding a board between the mattress and foundation can impede comfort and reduce the life of the mattress.
  6. Value. Buy quality products made with all new materials. Shopping for the best value, not the lowest price, is often a smart way to shop.
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