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Buyer's guide: How to buy a mattress
Photo by Stacey Brandford Image by: <em>Photo by Stacey Brandford</em>
Home & Garden
Buyer's guide: How to buy a mattress
The most common types of mattresses:
1. Inflatable air mattresses are lightweight mattresses that can be inflated to your desired firmness using a pump that is attached to the bed. Some people consider these pumps to be noisy.
2. Latex mattresses are available in several styles, including 100 per cent natural latex, latex over foam, foam over latex and 100 per cent natural and synthetic latex blend. Mattresses that are 100 per cent latex are considered better performers than blended latex models when it comes to longevity and resistance to compression. However, they are also pricier. Latex mattresses are available in various densities and levels of firmness. High-density and medium- to firm-density mattresses translate to good durability and comfort. Latex mattresses are heavy and tend to sleep hot.
3. Memory foam mattresses are made of polyurethane and additional ingredients. This type of mattress is a popular choice for people who suffer from back and neck pain. The memory foam conforms to your body shape and springs back to its original shape when you get up. It has good motion isolation properties, but sleeps hot. Latex mattresses are a hypoallergenic alternative to memory foam.
4. Innerspring mattresses are the type of mattress that most people are familiar with and are the most widely sold. Some variations of this mattress have special layers of cushioning and various steel coil configurations that offer a variety of comfort and durability options. Changing positions is easier on an innerspring mattress than it is on a latex or foam mattress, but motion isolation can be poor.
5. Organic mattresses, such as those made by Canadian manufacturer Natura, are made with certified organic materials, including 100 per cent organic wool, organic cotton and 100 per cent natural rubber latex – all of which are renewable and biodegradable resources. These natural materials are grown, processed and manufactured without toxic chemicals.
Good to know before you buy:
Here is a checklist of things you should do before you buy a new mattress.
• Establish your needs.
• Know your budget. Mattress prices vary tremendously, but most (other than the cheapest – that is, from $200 to $600), will be durable.
• Visit retailers' and manufacturers' websites and print out the details of the mattress models that you're interested in. Keep in mind that you should shop by type of mattress rather than brand. Most major retailers carry the same types of mattresses under various brand names.
• Record the measurements of your bedroom, hallways and doors, and take them with you to the store to ensure that the mattress you choose will get to where it is going easily and fit properly into the space.
• Shop at a reputable retailer and ask for advice and recommendations based on your needs.
• Don't be afraid to "test drive" and compare mattresses in the store. Couples should test the mattress together for motion isolation and comfort levels.
• Ask to see a cross-section of the mattress to see what you're getting.
• Make notes of the retailer, mattress type, brand and prices so you can easily go back to the one you like best.
6 mattress must-haves:
The mattress you choose should meet the following six criteria.
1. Comfort: A comfortable mattress relieves pressure and pain, and promotes relaxation and a good night's sleep. Low-end innerspring mattresses transmit more motion from one person in the bed to the other than high-end innerspring and foam/latex mattresses do. Some foam/latex mattresses make changing positions difficult because of the way they conform to the body.
2. Size: Bigger is better, especially for couples.
3. Support: There's a mattress for every sleep style, whether you sleep on your back, stomach or side.
4. Durability: Purchase your new mattress with the foundation that is designed to complement it. Rotate and flip it as recommended to avoid sagging and compaction.
5. Price: A good mattress is a smart investment in your health, so buy the best one your budget will allow. A good mattress should last seven to 10 years.
6. Warranty: Most mattresses cannot be returned, but can be exchanged after a specified "adjustment period" made by the retailer or brand. Read your warranty carefully and remember that it typically takes a couple of weeks to adjust to your new mattress.
The following retailers sell all of the types of mattresses outlined above under various brand names.
• Ikea (Sultan), ikea.com/ca
• Sears Canada (Sears-O-Pedic MD, Tempur-Pedic, Sealy, Serta and Simmons), sears.ca
• Sealy Canada, sealycanada.com
• Simmons Canada, simmonscanada.com
• Natura, naturaworld.com
• Serta Canada, sertacanada.com
• Tempur-Pedic, tempurpedic.ca
For additional information on sleep wellness, visit the websites of the
For more information on mattress types, comparisons and pricing, visit the websites of
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