The Mattress Warehouse Ultimate Guide To Buying A Bed
For most of us, a bed is the most important piece of furniture in a household. Buying a new bed is an event not to be taken lightly because if you get it wrong, you’re stuck with it for a long time.
Choosing the right mattress and base is the difference between a good night’s sleep and a bad one. Waking up fresh and restful, or waking up in a bad mood and in agony. You need to treat buying a new bed – particularly a new mattress – the same way you would a new car.
There are a few things you can do that will guarantee you make the right choice and have long-term satisfaction with your purchase.
Do your research
Everyone is different, and there is a mattress to suit your individual needs. Read up on the kinds of mattresses on the market that are ergonomically designed for various physical and medical needs, and what you personally need.
Mattress technology and design are so advanced these days, and you have a wide choice available to you that promise different features. It can be overwhelming, and a pushy bed salesman can push you in the wrong direction. Go into the process equipped with the right knowledge to make the right decision.
Test drive your mattress
The idea that you can dial a bed company and order a bed over the phone is hard to understand, particularly if you’re buying a bed for the first time or buying one many years after you bought your current bed. Bed technology has improved dramatically. Make time to test drive the choice of mattresses in your budget.
Don’t be shy! Take your time in the shop; lie down, toss and turn, bounce up and down. Don’t just sit on the edge of the bed; nestle in for a good 10 minutes or more. Get a good feel for the mattress. Try out a pricier bed because you might want to stretch your budget and splash out on a more expensive one once you’ve spent some time lying on it.
Take your partner to the bed shop with you as you both must be happy with the bed you buy. He might want a hard bed; you like a soft bed. Find a compromise?
Understand the terminology
Don’t let a salesperson bamboozle you with bed lingo that sounds awesome but means nothing. They’ll gush on about orthopedic benefits and medically-approved features when they don’t exist. Manufacturers can put a fancy label on the bed because marketing campaigns the industry is not strictly regulated.
Do your research online first and go to a bed shop with an idea of three or four brands you’d like to test drive. Forget the fancy terminology, trust your instincts.
Ask about the return policy
Before you make a final decision, ask about the shop’s return policy and if it includes a money-back guarantee or exchange. You should have at least 7-days grace to sleep in the bed at home and be able to return or exchange it if you’re not happy. Reputable bed companies offer a return/exchange policy; avoid buying a bed from the budget shops if possible.
Check the warranty
A good mattress should come with a 10-year warranty. This should be either a full-replacement warranty or non-prorated warranty. It covers manufacturing defaults, not damage caused by yourself or your children.
Treat your bed well, and it should serve you well if you’ve chosen the right bed for your needs.
Choose a bed shop that specializes in mattresses
Avoid going the budget route and buying a bed from a shop that sells its own brand. Unless you have tried a bed that is not one of the mainstream brands, play it safe and choose a well-known brand from a reputable bed shop that stocks beds backed by years of technological research and development.
Don’t buy a cheap bed
Your health and wellness rely on a good night’s sleep. Money saved now will cost you dearly in the long run. Rather, keep an eye out for specials on well-known brands or try to negotiate savings on the delivery charge. Save up for a good bed because it’s an investment in your future health.
When you head to a bed shop to buy a new bed, remember these common mistakes and try to avoid making them yourself.
- Choose the same make of bed you bought 20 years ago
The modern mattress has changed dramatically through research and development, and advanced sleep technology. The old well-known brands have stood the test of time, but there is a wide choice of modern mattresses which outperform them. Test drive new makes and find out more about their incredible innovative features.
- Don’t properly test drive a bed
Many people sit on the edge of a mattress in a bed shop, bounce up and down and decide without properly test driving a mattress. Don’t be shy to lie on the bed – take as long as you like. Send the salesperson away if you feel self-conscious and settle into the mattress for a good 10 minutes.
Only go bed shopping when you have enough time set aside and aren’t in a rush. The selection of makes and brands is mind-boggling, so you want to set aside at least an hour to spend test driving them.
- Buy what a friend bought
You are shaped differently, you have different sleep habits and different needs. Don’t put blind faith in what your friend bought because you don’t have time to do your research.
- Choose a firm mattress because you have a bad back
It’s not true that you need to sleep on a hard bed if you have a bad back. The experts recommend choosing a medium-firm mattress if you have back problems and live with back pain. Do your research on the pros and cons of innerspring, memory foam and natural latex mattresses and narrow down your options based on what is suitable for comfort and support.
- Choose price
Do not skimp on the price of a mattress and go for the cheaper option – your health and wellness depend on a good night’s sleep. You’ll also find yourself back in the bed shopper a few years later because cheap beds don’t last long, start sagging and need to be replaced. Quality modern beds do not sell for nothing so if you are getting a new bed for a low price; there’s something wrong with it.
- Try too many mattresses
Do your homework first and go to a bed shop with a good idea of what you need so you don’t become overwhelmed by choice. Rule out what you can by narrowing your choice down to how soft or firm, and innerspring or memory foam, etc. Stick to brands that are tried and trusted and backed by years of advanced sleep technology.
- Buy a popular brand name
Some of the large, well-known brands are popular mainly because of clever marketing and not necessarily because of what’s inside their mattresses. Again, do your homework and pick brands that have a reputation for innovation and using advanced sleep technology in their designs and developments.
- Buy only for comfort
Cheap mattresses can be very comfortable but it’s low-cost comfort, and you should avoid them. Support and comfort are important; they go hand in hand. A mattress should be durable with good quality material that is fire retardant, and made to provide maximum support as well as comfort, and built to last up to 8 to 10 years without sagging or collapsing.
- Buy what the salesperson recommends
A sales rep in a bed shop may be genuine with good intentions to find the right bed for you, or he/she may be trying to flog a bed that he needs to move – either for a better sales commission/markup or to get rid of old stock.
Go into a bed shop armed with enough knowledge of features and benefits of different types of mattresses – how they are made, pros and cons of the foam and material used, and what your personal needs are.
- Buy from a bed shop that doesn’t offer a return or exchange policy
The bed’s delivered, you sleep on it for a few nights and realise it’s too soft or too hard, and you’ve made a mistake. Make sure you have bought a new bed from a reputable bed shop that offers either a return policy or exchange policy. You don’t want to be stuck with a bed that’s not right for you and your partner.
Remember, the warranty only covers manufacturing faults. It does not cover damage caused by yourself or family.
Make sure you’ve done your homework and are armed with the facts before entering a bed shop. Don’t let a bed salesman bamboozle you with clever lingo or pressurize you to buy a bed he needs to get off the shop floor. Show him who’s boss and make the right decision!
- What size bed is right?
Measure the space in your bedroom where you plan to put your bed. You don’t want to buy a King-size bed, and it doesn’t fit when you get it home. Are you sleeping alone or sharing a bed? Do you want your space or are you happy to spoon in a small bed? Is your partner tall, do you need extra length on the bed?
- How much can you spend on a new bed?
Don’t go cheap when buying a new bed. Your health and mental state rely on a good night’s sleep. Go to a bed shop with a budget in mind, but if you find a bed that is right for you and it’s out of your price range – come back later when you have saved more money. It’ll be well worth it in the long run.
Try out beds with a bigger price tag and decide where you are willing to compromise. Well-known, big selling brands often come with bigger price tags. A lesser-known brand may have the right features – you just need to know what to look out for.
- What do you need from a bed?
You need support and comfort but why? Do you suffer from back pain? Is your partner a restless sleeper? Understand how a modern mattress is constructed so you can make the right decision regarding firmness and responsiveness.
- Ask a friend
Find out what make of bed your friends have bought to narrow down the choice of brands, particularly if you’ve spent a night in a bed that you loved. But, remember everyone is different and what they chose might not suit your shape and weight.
- How deep will you go?
Mattress makers add layers of foam and padding to create the perfect bed which makes the modern mattress deeper. These are called pillow-top mattresses. A deeper new bed might mean your linen won’t fit properly, particularly if you use fitted sheets.
- How hard do you like it?
Some like it hard, others like it soft. Remember, if there are two of you sharing a bed – you’ll have to negotiate on how firm your new mattress will be. If you can’t compromise, it might be better to buy two ¾ beds and put them together. Ask the bed salesman for the option of a mattress with adjustable firmness, where one side is firm, and the other side is softer.
- Do you need to buy a new base?
You might be able to get away with only buying a new mattress if you aren’t changing the size of your bed. A good bed frame should last you longer than a mattress if it’s made well. The problem is a new mattress will stand out against an old bed frame that looks tatty after a few years. Buy a base cover if this is the case and use the saving to buy a more expensive mattress.
The technology behind manufacturing the perfect bed has developed dramatically in recent years. They call it advanced sleep technology. The days of sleeping on lumpy foam mattresses and coil beds with springs poking in your back are well over. Thankfully!
This is why it’s important to do thorough research before buying a bed, particularly if it’s been a good five to ten years since you last bought a bed. The science of sleep technology is geared to help customers with chronic ailments like back pain, insomnia, and other sleep disorders. Over and above that, the aim is for a sleeper to have a restful sleep and to wake up feeling well-rested and energized.
This means that the terminology has become more complex and you can get quite overwhelmed by the choice out there. Here’s a look at how the ordinary mattresses have evolved through technological advances in modern mattress manufacturing, and the lingo that goes with it.
There are two layers in a modern mattress: a core layer which is made up of a coil system that offers you support; and the upholstery layer made up of thick fabric called ticking which provides comfort.
THE CORE LAYER
The greatest advances in bed design revolve around the coil system. The coil system is still part of the main design of the core layer, but it’s been vamped up dramatically through advances in sleep technology.
Coil-on-coil is a type of luxury innerspring used in the construction of a mattress. The second layer of coil lies on top of the bottom layer; the bottom layer has higher coil count than the upper layer which provides added support and comfort.
You get two types: pocketed coils which are individually wrapped coils encased within the foam, and wrapped coils which are coils wrapped in material and embedded in the foam.
The whole mattress is wrapped in a thin piece of material called a fire sock. This is fire retardant material designed to melt if the mattress catches on fire and smothers the flames. It’s made up of a combination of fiber, sand and wood pulp.
THE UPHOLSTERY LAYER
Foam mattresses were historically designed to increase blood circulation and provide relief at pressure points. You get three types of foam: polyurethane, memory and latex foam.
Polyurethane foam is used in most mattresses and is ideal as it’s able to resist body impressions, in other words, places that collapse at heavy points of a body. You get different degrees of polyurethane foam that offer different degrees of firmness and resistance.
Memory foam mattresses also contain polyurethane foam as well as other chemicals that make it denser to offer better support. Memory foam possesses what is called an “open cell structure” that reacts to weight and shape of a body. The beauty of memory foam is it’s designed to mold around the shape of a sleeping body. The benefit of this is it reduces friction on pressure points.
Latex foam is either made up of natural, blended or synthetic components. Latex is sap that is tapped from a species of tree and processed to become rubber. It has mechanical properties that make it stronger, more flexible and resistant to wear and tear.
Advanced technology has brought out graphite latex. Graphite is a component that is added to mattresses to help keep it normal room temperature, and it’s also a good fire retardant. Avena foam is a patented foam with the same properties of latex foam, but it gives a mattress extra bounce.
KNOW THE LINGO
Mattress manufacturers have new lingo when it comes describing the support and comfort of a modern bed. This is what it all means:
You get convoluted support foam that is advanced support foam which is processed through a machine of rotating metal teeth to create a column-type system within the foam. It’s designed to improve cooling, breathability and deep compression support.
You get indentation deflection force (IDF) and Indentation load deflection (ILD). Both are a scoring system that rates the firmness of the foam; the lower the score, the softer the mattress. A high score means the foam is very hard.
A hybrid mattress uses a variety of the foam mentioned above, with the aim of maximizing support and comfort and minimizing problems that mattresses from the old days caused – such as collapsing or sinking which causes back pain and restless sleep.
A pillow top is a term used for the padded layer that is fixed to the top cover of a mattress. It provides added support and all the comfort you need from a good bed. This newish trend of securing a pillow top on a bed means that you don’t have to turn your mattress as you did in the old days. In fact, you can’t turn over a modern mattress.
SUPPORT AND COMFORT
These are the two words you’ll read most often when you research buying a new bed. The support which are the features designed to keep your spine in perfect alignment and reduce friction on pressure points on a sleeping body. The comfort which is bed lingo for how a mattress wraps around a body and adjusts to its shape and holds its shape.
A good mattress with a high degree of “hug” allows a person to sink into the mattress and settle in at a deeper level. If there is limited “hug” or “sinkage,” a sleeper ‘floats’ on the top of the surface level and doesn’t benefit from the support of the core layer.
Mattress people also talk about responsiveness. This is how quickly a mattress adjusts to changes in pressure. It’s important as responsiveness because it means a mattress will quickly adjust to accommodate pressure points when a sleeper changes position. Slow response time is a problem because it usually results in a restless night for sleepers if it takes too long to settle into a comfortable position when they turn at night.
When you test drives a new mattress, we always feel for the right bounce. This is the way a mattress responds to pressure and transfers energy back in the direction the pressure was applied. It’s similar to responsiveness but response time mainly refers to adjusting to changes in position. You don’t want a mattress with too much bounce because you literally will be bouncing around in bed. Memory foam has a lower degree of bounce which is good because it absorbs energy and pressure instead of returning it immediately.
Motion transfer is a fancy term for how much energy is transferred from one part of the mattress to another. This is important for couples sharing a bed. A mattress with low motion transfer minimizes the movement of one sleeper which means the other sleeper is not disturbed. If you have a partner who is a restless sleeper, motion transfer is really important when choosing a bed.
Lastly, bed gurus talk about deep compression support. This is how a mattress performs when placed under heavy pressure. Mattresses with deep compression support are thicker and designed with extra layers in different compartments of the core layer. Obviously, deep compression support is needed for heavier people.
These are the beds we remember growing up with. Remember jumping on your bed as a kid and hearing those creaky coils? They are made from a basic pocket-coil system wrapped in fabric. They’re cheaper to make than the new modern beds which is why they’re still on the market; they cost a lot less than a memory foam mattress.
If your bed is past its sell-by date and you can feel the coil sticking into you; then you probably have a spring-coil mattress.
Spring mattresses don’t adjust to body heat and contour a shape due to its design, which is why some bed manufacturers add a layer of memory foam on top of the mattress for extra comfort.
Without the added memory foam, a spring mattress doesn’t reduce friction on pressure points like shoulders and hips. This is because spring mattresses push back against your body with the same force your body weight applies to the mattress. These pressure points lead to poor blood circulation, restless sleep, and stiff joints.
Spring mattresses are durable and can last a good 8 to 10 years. However, the experts say that a spring mattress loses close to 20% of its firmness and support in the first year and will start sagging after two years.
The bottom line is spring mattresses are dated, and advances in sleep technology have dramatically impacted on the choice of mattresses out there. They’re a cheaper option but not a long-term investment like the modern mattresses of today made with space-engineered memory foam.
Memory foam was invented by NASA engineers and was an expensive option in the early days. It’s now the foam of choice for those able to stretch their budget for a new bed. It is designed from layers of foam to create a firm mattress that absorbs or hugs the contours of your body.
NASA originally referred to it as “slow spring back foam” because memory foam has an open-cell solid structure that matches pressure against it, yet slowly springs back to its original shape. The original purpose of memory foam was to improve the safety of spacecraft cushions.
The special space-engineered foam is made up mainly of polyurethane foam with chemicals added to increase its viscosity and density. This refers to how thick it is and how compact it is. The high-density memory foam softens in reaction to body heat; the foam molds itself to a warm body in minutes.
Memory foam mattresses are engineered to distribute body weight evenly for perfect balance and support, reducing friction on pressure points on your body. It holds its shape for a long time and won’t sag in places. In fact, the manufacturers are so confident of the foam that many offer a 20-year warranty.
Memory foam mattresses are made up of basic chemical composition, but the density and thickness of the layers differ in different makes. A high-density mattress has a longer lifespan because it has better compression ratings; in other words, it doesn’t lose its tension under heavy and regular use and is less likely to sag.
One criticism of memory foam mattresses in the early days is they tended to retain heat and sleepers would wake up hot and sweaty. The gel memory foam was invented, and the problem went away. Gel Visco or gel memory foam consists of gel particles fused with Visco foam to reduce trapped body heat, speed up spring back time and help the mattress feel softer.
One of the key benefits of a memory foam mattress is it only needs to be rotated every six months. Memory foam mattresses distribute body weight evenly which means there is less pressure on different points of your body. In fact, memory foam reduces the pressure by up to 80% compared to spring mattresses.
There is also no motion transfer in a memory foam mattress, meaning there is almost no jiggle or bounce when someone sits on the bed or changes position. The beauty of this is you don’t get woken by your partner if they’re a bit restless in bed or get up to go to the loo in the middle of the night.
Lastly, memory foam mattresses are hypoallergenic. Dust mines can only live on the surface and not inside the mattress because it’s a solid block of foam. On the flip side, memory foam also traps heat. If the room and body are warm, you can wake up feeling hot and sweaty. It’s one of the main complaints about memory foam mattresses.
All these make memory foam mattresses ideal for support and comfort, but it means they are pricey. It’s worth it in the long run though. You’ll save yourself time and effort at least, as memory foam mattresses require less maintenance as they don’t need to be flipped over or rotated.
A major downfall of memory foam mattresses is they may cause respiratory irritation if you are allergic to certain chemical compounds. They are also more flammable than spring mattresses, although this has been overcome by the invention of the ‘fire sock.’ This is a flame retardant fabric that is wrapped around the mattress and acts to smother a burning flame, either caused by a candle or cigarette.
A good quality memory foam mattress spreads your body weight evenly which means you won’t toss or turn all night trying to find a comfortable position or waking up when your partner turns over. You’re guaranteed a better night’s sleep on a memory foam mattress.
When it’s time to graduate your toddler from a cot to a bed, it’s important that you do some research before you rush out and buy a new bed. You need to consider the weight and age of your child, and what type of mattress is suitable for them.
Pediatric sleep experts recommend an innerspring mattress for young children who are lightweight. A decent spring mattress with a pillow-top is ideal as it offers enough support for their spines but don’t cost a fortune. You can graduate your child with a memory foam or latex mattress when they get bigger.
Support is important to choose a good quality spring mattress and avoid using a slim foam mattress. This is because a child’s spine is rapidly developing and growing between the ages of 18 and 36 months and needs to spinal support during this growth period.
The child’s spine and neck must be in a neutral position as this minimizes stress on pressure points and allows the spine to grow without restrictions. The experts say a toddler’s spine can grow as much as 1.5cm during the night, which mainly comes from the intervertebral discs in between their vertebrae filling up with water. So, the mattress has to be soft enough to be comfortable but firm enough to prevent the child from sinking deep into it.
Apart from it being an unnecessary cost at such an early age, the sleep experts point out that memory foam and latex mattresses pose a danger to small children. This is because the body-contouring properties of memory foam and latex can restrict a child’s movement in bed, purely because they’re small and lightweight.
A sleeper sinks slightly deeper into a memory foam mattress while the foam surrounding the body remains firm. This makes it difficult for a small child to turn easily on a memory foam mattress. The soft, contouring foam can restrict movement in a child which is dangerous if a child has turned over onto its stomach. Sleep experts say it’s better to buy an innerspring mattress for a child with a pillow-top for comfort and graduate them to memory foam or latex mattress when they are older.
Bunk beds are not recommended for small children, based on the number of injuries that doctors see because of kids either falling or jumping off the top bunk.
An important factor to consider when buying a new bed for a young child is cleanliness. Most modern beds are treated for dust mites before they’re sold, but over time these pesky creatures build up in the folds of the fabric. They come to feed off body fluid and skin flakes left behind after a good night’s sleep.
Memory foam and latex mattresses are ideal because dust mites live on the top of the dense material. But if you’ve opted to buy an innerspring mattress, don’t worry. You can buy two good quality mattress protectors that protect a child against allergies and moisture buildup. Don’t resort to using a chemical spray on a bare mattress. Inhaling a cocktail of chemicals which also rub into their skin is definitely not good for small children.
On a weekly basis, strip the bed and air it for at least two hours before putting new linen on it. Run a good quality vacuum cleaner over the mattress, but only if you’re sure it’s not going to put more dust mites back on the bed than it’s going to remove.
The general consensus is you should buy a new less-expensive mattress for your child every three years until they are old enough to graduate to a modern bed with all the benefits of advanced sleep technology. If you do opt for a latex foam mattress and pillows, go for natural latex for the sake of your child’s health.
When is it time to buy a new bed?
The Sleep Council recommends you change your mattress every 7 to 8 years. You can stretch it out a bit longer but watch out for signs that your bed is ready for the dump.
- You are not sleeping well; your bed might still feel comfortable, but you’re waking up feeling tired, achy and irritable. A bed that is too soft or way past time to be chucked out will cause long-term damage to your spine, and you’ll end up with back pains that will plague you in your old age.
- You toss and turn all night, or your partner does – which means you can’t get comfortable. It also means you’re waking up during the night because your mattress is not responding well when you change position.
- There are lumps in the mattress; these could be dislodged springs, or the foam is sagging in places from heavy usage in the same place. This means you probably have a mattress from the “golden years” before advanced sleep technology re-engineered the way mattresses are made. Time to enjoy the luxury of memory foam.
- It feels like you’re lying in a hammock; that’s when you get into one position in bed, and it’s a real effort to change positions because you’re lying in a hole. You should be able to comfortably change positions throughout the night without waking up from the effort.
- You need more space; it was quite romantic to cuddle up in a small bed when you were newly married, but you probably want more space now. If you’ve got kids, even more so because it’s probably you that’s pushed out of bed in the middle of the night because there’s no space in your double bed.
- Your bed is not stable; wobbling a bit or the leg castor keeps falling off. The frame is obviously damaged; it’s time for a more robust base. If your bed squeaks when you sit on it or change position, that’s another clear sign your bed base is damaged, and you need a new one.
- You much prefer sleeping at a friend’s house; you’ve probably been oblivious to the fact that your old mattress doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a modern bed, but when you sleep on a luxury bed made with all the features of advanced sleep technology – you’re going to start thinking that it’s time for a new bed.
- There are grubby stains that you can’t remove; do you get embarrassed if a friend walks in and sees your mattress without a fitted sheet on it. Those nasty stains won’t come out no matter how hard you clean your mattress. This means that bacteria could be building up in your mattress and the thought of that will soon send you off to a bed shop.
- Your bed is making you sick; if you find yourself suffering from hay fever and sinusitis, it could mean there is a buildup of dust mites in your mattress. Yuck, time for a new bed.
- Time to spoil yourself; you’ve worked hard for your money, and it’s time to treat yourself to the luxury of a modern mattress. There’s nothing more delicious than sinking into a luxurious new bed that hugs your body and doesn’t want to let you go.
- Are you tired of turning your heavy mattress over; modern mattresses don’t need to be turned – they can’t be turned. They’re made with a luxurious pillow-top which is a layer of added foam fitted to the top of the mattress.
- You’re putting on weight; sleep science has proven that people who don’t get a decent night’s sleep for at least 8 hours a night are prone to gaining weight. If you’re not overeating or bingeing on fast food, and you’re still gaining weight – analyze your sleep patterns and ask yourself if your bed is the problem.
Why is a good bed so important?
A good mattress should relieve pressure on your joints and your body. A modern mattress is designed to support your body in a neutral position; where your spine, buttocks, heels, shoulders, and head are in proper alignment.
You should wake up from a good night’s sleep feeling restful and energized. If you wake up with aching joints and feeling like you haven’t slept at night, it means your bed isn’t providing the support and comfort it should.
Investing in a good quality modern bed is critical for your health and mental state. Sleep deprivation has long-term repercussions; from moodiness to weight gain, back pain, sleep disorders and declining health.
What is an innerspring mattress?
Innerspring mattresses have been around for some years and are the most widely used mattress. The bed design uses a center core of springs made from tempered steel that provides buoyancy and resilience.
Firmness and durability are determined by the kind of wire used for the coils and the number of coils included in the design. The more coils an innerspring mattress has and the stronger the steel wire, the firmer the mattress will be.
There are several types of coil spring systems, including those with springs connected into a single unit and units with individually-wrapped pocketed coils. By individually wrapping the coils, the design prevents them from popping through mattress which means greater comfort and durability.
Innerspring mattresses are covered by padding made from various foams, fiber and extra layers of steel springs. This provides the comfort a sleeper needs.
What is a memory foam mattress?
Memory foam is a NASA innovation that is now being used extensively in bed manufacturing. It’s a higher-density foam created with layers that soften the areas that come into contact with body heat. This means the foam molds to the shape of a warm body in minutes. It also recovers very quickly and goes back to its form in a matter of seconds when heat is removed.
The key benefit of memory foam is it selectively displaces pressure along the length of the sleeper’s body, which reduces pressure on points like shoulders and hips. It results in a good night’s sleep because you aren’t tossing and turning to get comfortable, and you wake up pain-free and rested.
The downside of memory foam is it makes your bed quite hot, and you can wake up sweaty and messy. This has been overcome by the invention of gel memory foam.
What is the difference between latex and memory foam?
Both materials is designed to be more responsive to a body shape because they both work of the science of heating and cooling where pressure points meet the foam. Most experts agree that memory foam outperforms latex, and this is because the ingredients used in its production is different to latex foam.
Memory foam has added chemicals that increase its density and viscosity, which means thickness and fluidity combined. The problem with memory foam is its smell; people find it off-putting when its new and some are concerned about chemical gasses released from the foam.
Natural latex – which you should go for if buying a new latex mattress – gives the same buoyant feel and works well to distribute weight well, and it doesn’t come with the heat and odor problems that plague memory foam.
Overall, natural latex and memory foam mattresses perform better than innerspring mattresses when it comes to relieving fiction on pressure points. Bear in mind; the sleep experts recommend innerspring mattresses for toddlers and young children who aren’t heavy enough to more easily out of “sinkholes” created by latex and memory foam.
What is an orthopedic bed?
This is a marketing term that became popular when the new generation of beds hit the market. It’s not backed up by scientific fact but is something marketers used to position mattresses designed to support the joints, back and overall body apart from innerspring mattresses that were limited in support and comfort.
The term was originally coined because the new generation mattresses were subjected to a medical study by orthopedic surgeons which focused on disorders and deformities of the spine and joints caused by mattresses and bed bases. The new generation mattresses were acknowledged as superior because they aided in target problem areas that caused back and joint pain.
The bed manufacturing industry worldwide is not strictly regulated, and most manufacturers of modern beds slap on an orthopedic-approved label without too much concern of providing proof to support its claim.
That’s why it’s important that you do your homework before you head to the shops to buy a new bed. There is a lot of new lingo in the bed market now, and you don’t want the wool pulled over your eyes.
Why do I toss and turn at night?
This could be because your mattress is too hard. If you’re chosen a bed that is too firm, your body will try to compensate by frequently changing positions. A modern mattress offers firm support without putting pressure on pressure points like your shoulders and hips. It also helps with blood circulation, so you don’t wake up with numbness.
If you sleep on your side, you need more cushioning around pressure points like your shoulder and hip. If the mattress is too firm, these points don’t mold into the mattress which means your spine won’t be in alignment. You’ll feel discomfort in the night and will toss and turn to get comfortable.
What is the best bed for back problems?
The best mattress for people with back problems should not be too soft and not too hard. Something in the middle that offers good support to keep your spine in alignment and minimize stress on your cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.
The spinal cord has three curves; the C-shaped cervical spine that supports your head, the reverse C-shaped thoracic spine that holds up the upper body, and the C-shaped curve of the lumbar spine (lower back) that is the foundation of your spine.
To avoid chronic back pain, it is important to maintain the alignment of the curves of your spinal cord when lying in bed. Memory foam is an excellent option as it molds to the shape of a body and provides good lumbar support. It is soft enough to hug your body but still firm enough to not sag or sink.
Should I buy a hard mattress if I have a bad back?
This is a myth and differs from one person to another. Research has proven that the best mattress for lower back pain is actually a medium firm mattress. If you get back pain, you need a mattress that offers firm support with a comfortable feel.
Hard beds have been proven to aggravate bad backs. The sleep experts recommend a bed that molds comfortably around pressure points like shoulders and hips. This is important to keep your spine in alignment. A hard bed doesn’t absorb these pressure points comfortably and ultimately causes more of a problem because the spine is out of alignment.
Does a futon cause back problems?
A futon is the typical mattress used in Japan and is still used today because they’re convenient; the fold up and can be stored easily if you need to make extra space. They’re popular as a combo couch/bed in the lounge or spare bedroom and perfect for teenagers and guests.
They have been part of the Japanese culture for centuries but bear in mind that Japanese people have different body types to people from other countries. It may or may not be bad for you depending on your body weight and the type of futon you’ve purchased.
Futons are usually firm because they’re designed to sit on a solid base on a floor. There are little flexibility and none of the benefits of memory foam and deep core compression. A modern bed is designed to support you and keep your spine in alignment. If you are getting back pain sleeping on a futon, it might be because the futon is too hard and is putting friction on pressure points like shoulders and hips.
If you can’t get comfortable on a firm futon, you’ll toss and turn during the night. You’ll wake up irritable and not rested. If you sleep on your back, the firmness of a futon won’t impact on your joints. But if you prefer to sleep on your side (the recommended side), you are going to pick up problems.
Think about this before buying a futon, particularly if you plan to sleep on it on a regular basis. You need to buy a good quality futon that has enough cushioning to support your body comfortably. Cheap futons won’t give you the right support, they’ll get lumpy and will probably have to be replaced long before you would replace a modern mattress.
Should I buy a bed with a pillow-top?
A modern bed with a pillow-top isn’t necessary for very light-weight people. They don’t weigh enough to compress the foam or even touch the underlying support coils. However, heavier people need the extra cushion between them and the coils.
What is an adjustable bed?
Adjustable beds are now quite popular. The bed is designed to support you in a sitting and sleeping position; it allows you to bend, elevate or lower parts of the bed so you can raise your head or feet, angle your back and bend your knees. It aids a sleeper to find a comfortable position for a restful sleep.
Most adjustable beds have dual control which makes it perfect for married couples who constantly argue when their sleep is disturbed. Your partner can sleep in an elevated position while you lie flat on your back. They’re also great if you like to read in bed. Saves you the frustration of plumping up your pillows to get comfy while reading.
Do sleeping positions make a difference?
A modern bed is designed based on advanced sleep technology and provides the right support and comfort no matter what position you sleep in. Advances in bed technology include memory foam and a coil system that hugs your body shape and responds well when you change position. Weight is evenly distributed across a modern bed, so you won’t find yourself sleeping in a hole after a few years.
Sleeping on your side is the position recommended by the sleep experts. A modern bed will adapt to the shape of your body, accommodating your shoulders and hips comfortably.
Does size matter?
Yes, it does, especially if you are sharing a bed. Large mattresses can accommodate the movement of your partner without disturbing you. Tall people should invest in a modern mattress with extra length. Bigger and longer are better, particularly as more space works with the science of a modern mattress.
Large mattresses with natural latex and memory foam are much better at accommodating movement, so if you or your partner are restless sleepers – go bigger for the benefits.
What are dust mites and how can I get rid of them?
Dust mites are tiny microscopic creatures that are relatives of the spider. They live in mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets, and curtains. They feed off the flakes of skin that people and pets shed and thrive in warm and humid environments.
You can’t see dust mites with a naked eye and may be living with a big buildup in your mattress without knowing it. Digestive enzymes found in dust mites “poo” trigger allergic reactions such as wheezing and tight chests, nasal congestion, coughing and hay fever. People will allergies and asthma can be badly affected by a buildup of dust mites in a home.
Dust mites mustn’t be mistaken with bed bug which is like tiny little vampires feeding on your body. Dust mites don’t bite humans; they just feed off what they shed. It’s a lot easier to get rid of dust mites than it is to get rid of bed bugs. But the trick is to avoid getting a build up of bed mites in the first place.
To get rid of dust mites, wash all bed linen and removable mattress covers in hot water with an anti-allergen detergent. This is something you’d do on a weekly basis anyway, as linen should be changed at a minimum once a week.
To prevent dust mites building up in your mattress and linen, follow these simple tips:
- use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to regulate the temperature of a room at night, keeping the humidity level at 50% or below
- open your windows and let fresh air in; particularly in winter when people generally overhead their rooms and use duvets that build up your body temperature to a healthy sweat
- if you or your kids are highly allergic, encase your mattress and pillows in dust-proof or allergen impermeable covers
- replace wood and feathered bedding and pillows with synthetic materials
- wash teddy bears and other soft fabric toys in hot water on a regular basis
- replace wall-to-wall carpets in bedrooms with wooden or plywood flooring
- replace fabric curtains with plastic blinds, and consider buying faux leather bedroom furniture
- wipe your mattress regularly with a damp cloth to remove dust; never use a dry cloth as that stirs up the dust mites
- use a specialized vacuum cleaner with a double-layer microfilter bag to trap allergens that pass through a vacuum’s exhaust
- wear a face mask while vacuuming so you don’t inhale allergens; you and your kids should stay out of a vacuumed room for at least half an hour after vacuuming
We spend approximately one in every three hours sleeping. That’s excluding those lovely long afternoon sleeps on Sunday. So, it makes sense that buying a good quality bed that is right for you is an investment in your health and wellness. It’s not an event to be taken lightly.
There are a few questions you need to answer before heading out to the shops, and you should do online research before leaving home because you don’t want to be bamboozled into buying the wrong mattress by a pushy salesperson.
The Mattress Warehouse offers these simple tips that will help you make the right decision and chose the right mattress and bed base:
Think about support
This is what happens deep inside a modern mattress and is the most important feature of a decent quality bed. Don’t worry about how bouncy and inviting a bed looks; worry about whether it will keep your spine in alignment, distribute weight evenly and reduce friction of pressure points to avoid aches and pains, and restless sleep.
Innerspring mattresses give you that extra bounce, and they usually come with a puffy top layer which is the quilted pillow-top. If you love a soft, bouncy bed, then an innerspring mattress will suit you and your budget. They’re less pricey than memory foam and natural latex mattresses. However, a few months or a year down the line; you may start having problems with the bed sagging. You must regularly flip the mattress over or rotate it, which is a bit of a pain.
Memory foam mattresses have much less spring, so you won’t get that bouncy feeling when you sit on it in the bed shop. This is misleading, and you’re about to make your first mistake if you think a bouncy, soft bed is better than one that feels too firm or hard.
Remember memory and natural latex foam are designed to mold to the shape of your body, something that happens with the science of heating and cooling. These modern mattresses don’t sag over time because the foam is designed to spread weight evenly and returns to its original form almost instantly when the foam cools down.
Memory foam and natural latex mattresses outperform innerspring mattresses for support and durability; this is what makes them pricier. However, your choice is also affected by the position you and your partner prefer to sleep in, how heavy you are and whether you are a restless or deep sleeper.
Think about comfort
Modern mattresses are designed for long-lasting comfort. This comes in the form new innovations in foam; where a modern mattress hugs a body shape and distributes the weight more evenly, thus reducing fiction on pressure points. Pillow-tops are an extra layer of foam padding that is fixed to the top of the mattress, providing greater comfort.
Innerspring mattresses are still a good option for comfort as they have come a long way in terms of sleep technology, but they are likely to start sagging sooner than the modern mattresses with memory foam. You need to flip over your mattress regularly and rotate it to keep it from sagging.
Think about sleeping positions
Most people favor one position to sleep in so it’s fairly easy to make a choice based on what support and comfort you need for your sleeping habit. If you like to sleep on your side, you need a bed that reduces friction on pressure points such as your shoulders and hips. You need a mattress designed to absorb these pressure points which helps keep your spine in alignment.
If you like to sleep on your stomach, an innerspring mattress is better for you. Memory foam molds around your body shape which means a stomach sleeper might feel smothered with that sinking feeling.
If you like to sleep on your back, you need a surface that supports your neck and keeps your spine in alignment. You’ll sink into spots on memory foam where you are heaviest and warmest.
If you tend to overheat at night or don’t like feeling too warm when you sleep, you might have a problem with a memory foam mattress unless it’s a gel memory foam. Memory foam and latex mattresses retain body heat, so you might prefer a fiberfill-topped innerspring mattress.
If you toss and turn or your partner is a restless sleeper, you need a mattress with good motion isolation. Consider an innerspring mattress with pocketed coils or memory foam that distributes molds around your body instantly and returns to its original form in seconds.
If you like to read before going to sleep and your partner nods off straight away, think about getting an adjustable bed.
If you or your family suffer from hay fever or asthma, memory foam and natural latex foam are ideal as the thickness and density of the foam mean dust mites can’t build up inside. You only need to be vigilant about vacuuming and cleaning the mattress and bed linen. Innerspring mattresses are more likely to harbor those nasty critters.
If you need a combination of features
If you can’t settle on what features are more important, look at a hybrid mattress that combines the buoyancy of an innerspring core with the motion isolation of memory foam on the upper layer.These models are more expensive, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Think of peace of mind
Check what warranty or exchange policy the bed shop offers. The new trend is ordering online and having 7-10 days to try a bed out at home. This is all very well, but it’s a bit of hassle returning a bed and going through the process of selecting a new one. You want peace of mind that if you make a mistake, you have the option of returning the bed or exchanging it.
Shop for a new bed with confidence but opt for a make that comes with at least a 10-year warranty of manufacturing defaults and buys from a bed shop that offers a return or exchange policy. There is nothing more soul destroying than getting a new bed and realizing a few days later that you’ve made a mistake.
Check the fine print of warranties. For instance, the manufacturer may not honor the warranty if the mattress is stained. If you know this, then you know it’s important to use a mattress protector.
Do your research, take your time and choose a new bed carefully because it’s an investment in your health and well-being. If you have an existing medical condition, here’s some information to support your search for the perfect bed.
Remember, support does not mean firmness. Support is a deeper level in a mattress and involves advanced sleep technology to ensure your spine stays in alignment. A firm mattress with no give will aggravate painful joints.
A mattress must not be too soft because there is no support for your spine to keep it in alignment, and if you sink too deeply into a mattress, you cannot move easily in bed while you sleep. If you lie in one spot for too long, you’ll wake up with stiff muscles and no doubt in pain.
For chronic back pain, consult your specialist or doctor. It is likely that they will be able to recommend a make of bed that is suited for your medical cushion.
Best mattress for back pain
A person with a bad back or back pain needs support; where a mattress keeps the spine in alignment. Experts recommend a medium-firm to firm mattress for people with back problems. Previously people were told to buy a very firm mattress for support, but this is not the case today.
When choosing a mattress for back pain, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Sleep on your back
The mattress must be firm enough to support your lower back if you prefer to sleep on your back, but soft enough to contour your body shape. A mattress that is too firm tends to push against the spine while a mattress that is too soft doesn’t offer enough support. A medium firm mattress is ideal for a person with a bad back that sleeps on their back.
- Sleep on your side
Memory foam mattresses or natural latex mattresses mold around the body shape and cushion the shoulders and hips and provides support to keep the spine in alignment. They have high motion isolation, in other words, reduces the ripple-effect caused by your partner moving.
- Sleep on your stomach
If you have a bad back and prefer to sleep on your stomach, you need a firmer mattress to keep you afloat (floating on top of the mattress). An innerspring mattress is ideal as there is less sinkage, like memory foam that hugs the body shape.
Best mattress for arthritis
There are different medical conditions that cause arthritic joint swelling, pain, and stiffness. The most common is osteoarthritis which is pain caused by bone on bone friction after the cartilage between them breaks down. Other types of arthritis include gout, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis.
An innerspring mattress or firmer natural latex mattress is recommended for people with arthritis. You don’t want to sink too much into a mattress because it’s important you can move easily in bed. With more frequent movement while you sleep, you reduce the amount of fiction on pressure points such as shoulders and hips.
Hybrid mattresses address many of the issues that plague the choice of the best bed for arthritis. It has a top comfort layer that molds around shoulders and hips but offers firm support at a deeper level to keep the spine in alignment and support the joints.
Best mattress for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is the second most common condition affecting your bones and muscles. Its classic symptoms are widespread muscle and joint pain. People with fibromyalgia suffer from acute sensitivity at pressure points which means that the ideal mattress is slightly soft but still provides support.
Choose a mattress that provides the softness needed to cradle the tender pain points but is firm enough that you don’t sink too deeply into it. Memory foam and natural latex mattresses are recommended for people with fibromyalgia. It should come with a plush pillow-top for extra cushioning and comfort. Memory foam molds around the body contours but is firm enough for a person to move easily in bed and get out of the bed in the morning.
Best mattress for heavy sleepers
A person living with obesity needs a thick mattress that provides deep compression support. It should be medium-firm to firm. If it’s too soft, a heavy person sinks too deeply into which restricts easy movement during sleep. This will lead to stiff joints and back pain.
Memory foam or latex foam is not recommended as heavy people tend to overheat in bed which means more sinkage. Large, heavy sleepers need their mattress to be breathable, which is a feature of innerspring mattresses. However, innerspring mattresses will start sagging sooner than memory foam or natural latex under heavy weight.
Therefore, consider a hybrid version of an innerspring and gel-infused memory foam mattress for support and to keep you cool at night. It needs to have strong edge support so that the point where a heavy person sits on the edge of the bed doesn’t collapse.
Best mattress for neck pain
Neck and back pain disrupts sleep, and without the right mattress support, you will wake up stiff, in pain and exhausted. People with neck problems need a good pillow coupled with a modern mattress that supports the spine. Check your neck and spine alignment and adjust the height and firmness of your pillow.
With memory foam there is sinkage as the mattress moulds around your body form, so you need a taller pillow (or set of pillows). With a coil mattress, most sleepers need shorter pillows.
The first piece of advice is to buy a bed from a reputable bed shop that stocks brands that are backed by years of advanced sleep technology. If the last time you bought a new bed was at least 7 to 8 years ago, you’ll be surprised at what innovations have been made in recent years.
There’s a lot of bed lingo in bed buying, and it may get overwhelming. Visit a bed shop that employs salespeople that are patient and knowledgeable, not desperate to flog a bed to get it off the floor.
Here are the top 10 bed makes in South Africa for you to research to kick-start your quest to find the best bed in South Africa:
Cloud Nine is a wholly-owned independent division of a South African company that manufactures premium quality polyurethane foam mattresses and upholstered bases. The Cloud Nine range of products is all multi-layered Viscous Elastic and Polyurethane foam products.
Cloud Nine started in the Cape in 1968 and had expanded its distribution to the rest of South Africa. Each mattress consists of high-density foam layers, with each layer adding its unique purpose in optimizing the support and comfort of the mattress.
There are three different ranges to choose from:
- the i-Sleep Range offers a layer of memory foam for a plush comfort feel
- the Euro-Latex Range has a Latex finishing layer for a firm feel and can accommodate a heavier weight
- the Rapid Reform Range combines different density Polyurethane foam layers for unique comfort and feel
Each Cloud Nine mattress provides perfect posture support, which is great for people with spinal or back pain. Cloud Nine mattresses are hygienic and allergy free because the foam is completely stable once cured.
All mattresses are SABS approved and endorsed by CASA (Chiropractic Association of South Africa). A Cloud Nine mattress and base set promises great comfort on top of functionality and support.
Edblo was founded in 1927 and is a Proudly South African bed, providing its customers with excellent service and quality beds for over 90 years.
The company stays up to date on advanced sleep technology and adapts its product range to accommodate innovations in mattress and base designs. This includes the feature-packed new Edblo Supreme Collection which features the latest in sleep technology but is priced to be affordable.
Fabbro beds are regarded as some of the most luxurious in South Africa and are favored by premier hotels and guest lodges. They are built to meticulous standards by a company with more than 50 years’ experience in the industry. Fabbro beds are a luxury buy, but they are within your budget if you are shopping in the higher quality range of beds.
Each mattress is a masterpiece and incorporates materials such as cashmere and organic wool, which is combined with advanced technology to create the perfect bed. The mattress leaves you feeling cool, fresh and dry; the mattress is designed to constantly circulate air while some models are made with gel-infused memory foam and natural latex which prevent the bed from sagging.
Unique Compression Activation technology acts as a rapid response system which provides support to pressure points of the body and keeps the spine aligned. The pocket spring systems are regarded as one of the most advanced in the world, which is what you’d expect from an Italian inspired design.
Genessi Beds promise superior durability and great support, using a unique combination of high density and specialty foams. The mattress is made to ensure your spine stays in alignment while absorbing pressure points such as shoulders and hips. A sleeper is not disturbed by the movement as the foam does not have a rigid, connected structure and is designed to react only to the immediate area where pressure or weight is applied.
Genessi beds are treated with Nano-Technology which is added protection against mosquitos, dust mines, bed bugs, and bacteria. The foam is non-allergenic and has an open cell structure which makes it more breathable. Air and moisture flow freely through the foam mattress.
The makers of Maxipedic Beds harness the latest in advanced sleep technology to create a range of beds that offer the ultimate in support and comfort. This a luxury range of bed but priced to offer outstanding value.
Rest Assured is one of South Africa’s most popular brands of beds, offering superior quality at an affordable price. Double-tempered coils provide extra durability, and a solid construction supports all body shapes and weights. Soft pillow tops and memory foam used in the construction provide stylish comfort.
The makers of Rest Assured provide world-class customer support and after-sales service to give you peace of mind.
Sealy is one of the best-known brands of bed in South Africa, and one of the first to position itself on orthopedic benefits and features. Sealy introduced a Posturepedic range for spinal or neck pains, long before other bed manufacturers identified the gap.
Sealy beds are designed to offer brilliant support and comfort using advanced sleep technology. An integrated inner support system provides the deep-down orthopedic support you need from a modern bed.
Serta Beds is the number one mattress manufacturer in the United States, and its range of luxury beds are now available in South Africa. The company has a reputation for manufacturing a wide variety of excellent quality beds that harness the latest in advance sleep technology.
For more than 75 years, Serta has invested in research and development to produce mattresses that offer superior comfort and support. It is an industry leader, coming to the market with many “firsts” which includes the world’s first-ever “tuftless” mattress. It has also pioneered a variety of exclusive features which includes the patented Advanced Comfort Quilt and Continuous Support Innerspring.
Standout beds in the Serta range include:
- iComfort, offering the contouring, pressure-relieving comfort of memory foam but with cooling comfort to prevent overheating; available in both memory foam and hybrid constructions
- Perfect Sleeper, an innerspring mattress that combines some of the latest advances in spring coil technology – using a state-of-the-art steel coin innerspring support system which is perfect if you prefer the look and feel of a traditional mattress but would like the benefits of advanced sleep technology
- Sertapedic, offering a range of mattresses from luxuriously soft to extra-firm with the choice of innerspring or memory foam
The Simmons Bedding Company was founded in 1870 and is one of the oldest companies of its kind in the United States and a leading manufacturer of mattresses worldwide. Its flagship brand is Beautyrest.Science is the driving force behind the quality of beds made by Simmons, with years of extensive research and development backing up its designs. It has developed over 148 patents for better quality sleep products.
Its patented pocketed coil innovation uses a system of coils that minimizes movements on a bed which means when your partner moves at night; you aren’t disturbed. Simmons Beds use specialty foam in its design which provides superior comfort and support by molding to a body shame to keep the spine perfectly aligned.
It’s the brand of choice for major high-end hotel groups and resorts, who trust Simmons Beds to ensure their customers get a perfect night’s sleep.
Restonic is a leading international bed manufacturer which has been making quality beds since 1938. The bed company has invested heavily in research and development and pioneered innovations in advanced sleep technology. The award-winning company is consistently rated highly for excellence in support and comfort.
One such innovation is Restonic’s patented technology called The Marvelous Middle® which concentrates additional support in the center third of a mattress to extend the comfort and life of the mattress and prevents sagging.
Restonic offers customers a wide choice of mattresses, ranging from innerspring mattresses to memory foam, natural latex, and hybrid mattresses.
Need MORE INFORMATION TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BED?
The team at The Mattress Warehouse understands that choosing the right bed is a very important decision and a task not to be taken lightly. Your health and wellness depend on making the right choice of mattress and bed base. The team are knowledgeable on latest advanced sleep technology and can guide you in narrowing your decision to makes and models that suit your individual needs.
Trust the team at The Mattress Warehouse to help you select the most important piece of furniture you will own. Their knowledge and expertise are backed up with professional service and prices to suit your budget, as well as excellent after-sales service. Visit a branch near you or call us on 086 100 7000 for a pre-sales conversation on tips for choosing the right bed.