CECNA Learning Center

For Your Valentine, Give the Gift of Sleep

Roses are red but eyes aren’t supposed to be. If your special someone isn’t getting enough sleep, it can put a damper on your Valentine’s Day and all the other mornings when one or both of you wake up grumpy.

What’s the solution? Meditation, melatonin, exercise and a nightcap may not be the ideal answer but one thing that everyone needs for a good night’s sleep is the right mattress.

Throwing out what you have come to think of as a perfectly good mattress may sound wasteful but mattresses have a lifespan of seven to ten years, so if you haven’t replaced yours in awhile, this may be the time.

You spend a third of your life in bed so it’s important that the experience is restful and enjoyable. Soft lighting, a cool room and heavy drapes to keep out light and noise are all important but the mattress is, well, the foundation so it’s not something you want to skimp on.

What should a mattress cost?

While you can always go lower, $1,000 or so is roughly the baseline for a good mattress. Larger ones cost more, smaller ones cost less.

Standard mattress sizes are:

  • King 76 x 80 inches
  • California King 72 x 84 inches
  • Queen 60 x 80 inches
  • Full (or double) 53 x 75 inches
  • Twin 38 x 75 inches

Keep in mind that some newer mattresses don’t require a box spring. They’ll sit happily on top of a frame with slats.

Be sure to nail down sizes before you head to the store or your laptop. Measure the length and width of your existing mattress and also its height (or depth, if you prefer). While measuring, pick up one corner and see what’s underneath – boxspring or just slats. Take a quick photo if in doubt, so you can show it to the salesperson.

Shopping for a mattress has been compared to shopping for a car. There is a dizzying array of choices and perhaps a pushy salesperson, but basically all mattresses are either innerspring or foam. Beyond that and the size, options include pillow tops and other add-ons of dubious value.

Experts at Consumer Reports agree that $1,000 or is enough to get a good quality queen-sized mattress. ConsumerAffairs lists more than 38,000 reviews from verified customers for 47 mattress brands. It’s a good place to do your initial research. Check Yelp to get a reading on your local stores.

Mattress shopping has changed

Like everything else, the mattress business has been disrupted by big box retailers, discount clubs and online shopping. You can still go to the Mattress Firm if you want but there are more options than ever.

And yes, before you ask, the answer is you can buy a mattress from Amazon. Their site has a large selection in all shapes and sizes. Of course, you can’t try them out the way you can in a store.

Ordering from Amazon is easy but before you press the button, it might be good to consider delivery and set-up. When you buy from a retailer, the store delivers the mattress, wrestles it into your house, sets it up and hauls away the old one. If you don’t like it, they’ll come and take it back. Presumably online sellers will too but it’s worth nailing that down before ordering.

While Mattress Firm seems to be second only to Starbucks in number of locations, don’t pass up the smaller, mom-and-pop stores. We recently went mattress shopping in Palm Springs, California, and followed enthusiastic Yelp reviews to Mattress4U, a small local store where the owner’s daughter took care of us.

Google Maps had the store’s address wrong and it was a challenge locating it but once we arrived, we found an adequate but not mind-boggling selection and a salesperson who shooed us away from more expensive models and into a California King for a little over $1,000.  It was less stressful than previous visits to major chain outlets, where upselling is more the order of the day.

Don’t be shy about bargaining. Margins are healthy in the mattress business and nearly all stores will shave a few dollars if it means getting the sale. Don’t try that with Amazon.

Take care of your mattress

Take care of your mattress and it will take care of you, might be the guiding principle here. Here’s the advice we received from several expert sources:

  • Don’t jump on it We know you wouldn’t do this but don’t let your kids do it either. It damages the innersprings.
  • Keep it dry Don’t come out of the shower and throw your wet towels on the bed. It can cause mildew.
  • Rotate it Newer mattresses should be roated (head to foot) once or twice year. Don’t flip it, just rotate it.
  • Wash your sheets Body oils and so forth age a mattress, so bedclothes should be washed once a week or so.
  • Use a mattress protector It helps keep everything clean and dry.

You may also want a mattress topper or pad. They can make a firm mattress a little softer without annoying your back.

Nearly all warranties contain clauses that the warranty is voided if the mattress is dirty, so there’s another reason to practive good mattress hygiene.

There are other ways to keep your special person happy but some of them are above our pay grade so we’ll stop while we’re ahead. 

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