mattress thrown in garbage

The Myths of Mattress Shopping


If you’re in the market for a new mattress, we’re here to dispel a few common myths you may come across and give you the facts you need when you’re out shopping.

By: Lauren Johnson

If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, you are not alone. One out of every four people suffer from some degree of insomnia and 50 to 70 million people complain of sleep related problems such as errors at work and low energy, according to a Harvard University sleep study. There are numerous factors to blame, such as the distractions related to the rise in technology, stress and unhealthy sleeping conditions like aging mattresses.

Most mattresses begin to lose firmness as springs become less effective and need to be replaced about every five to seven years. If you’re in the market for a new mattress, we’re here to dispel a few common myths you may come across and give you the facts you need.

Myth #1:
Replacing a mattress is only necessary if the mattress appears worn or shows visible signs of deterioration.

If your mattress is older than seven years or you need a different type due to a health condition or comfort issue, replace it. Don’t wait until issues develop, particularly as you become older and need the support. We spend about one-third of our lifetime sleeping and spending that time on a thoughtfully purchased mattress is essential for your health and well-being.


Myth #2:
You do not need to research a mattress purchase.

Research and development has sent a wide range of styles to the marketplace for your choosing including spring, coil, water, pillow top and adjustable. Many are now made with sustainable eco-friendly materials. Do your own research to avoid relying on a sales person who may be inexperienced or unaware of the answers to common concerns. The Consumer Reports website is an informative online resource.


Myth #3:
Purchasing a deluxe, luxurious mattress with a pillow top is the best choice and all other models offer a suboptimal sleep experience

A firm lightly padded mattress can benefit your health and be equally as comfortable. In some cases, a soft mattress can make it difficult for you to turn or not give you enough skeletal support. A medium-firm mattress supports all areas of the body evenly. A sleep test, which is lying on a mattress for at least 15 minutes, can help you get a feel for your best kind of mattress. Most mattress stores understand that a brief sleep test, however, cannot mimic a full night’s rest. Look for a 30-day return or exchange policy.


Myth #4:
It is necessary to purchase a box spring at the same time as a mattress.

According to The Better Sleep Council an estimated 80 percent of people upgrade only their mattress and keep an older box spring and reported a positive sleep experience. If a box spring is gently used and supports the new mattress, it would be fine to use for a successive mattress purchase or two. A box spring has a very simple structure and unlike the more complicated coils of a mattress, does not lose its firmness or usefulness as quickly.

Ensure the mattress you buy is one you are happy with and resist the temptation to shop online. To avoid the hassle of a return or exchange or, worse yet, absorbing the cost of a failed purchase. Take your time and remember to bring a spouse or partner if you share your sleeping arrangements.

About the Author:
Lauren Johnson is a homemaker who volunteers for the Susan G. Komen foundation. She hopes her efforts will help her loved ones do everything they can to prevent breast cancer.

Photo: Alan Stanton