The following information is adapted
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
- 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.
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
- 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
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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.