Most people spend roughly a third of their lifetimes sleeping. Adequate sleep produces many medical and personal benefits, while too little or unrestful sleep can contribute to a variety of health problems. It's now recognized that poor sleep habits often trigger or worsen high blood pressure, depression, arthritic pain, and weight gain. A number of factors determine the sleep habits of the average person. Work schedules, stress, activity levels prior to bedtime, nighttime food and beverage consumption, evening television and video game viewing are just a few such factors. Mattress type and comfort is also critically important. Today’s consumers can select from the largest assortment of mattress construction, firmness, adjustability and fabric ever offered. The number of mattress retailers and products can be somewhat overwhelming. To make the best possible mattress buying decision, it is wise to be familiar about the various mattress types, accessories, and manufacturers.
Types of Mattresses
There are many different types of mattresses people may choose. Innerspring, memory foam, and latex are common mattress types. Less common types include gel and waterbed mattresses.
Innerspring mattresses are the most common. They contain solid coils covered by layered padding and fabric. An assortment of thicknesses and feels are available, ranging from thin and less supportive to deep padding found on high-end innersprings. Innersprings provide a traditional, more responsive mattress experience.
Memory foam mattresses allow the sleeper to “melt” into the mattress. They are well suited for side sleepers who can “sink” into the mattress in any body position. Memory foam is also helpful for those needing pressure relief and isolates one sleeper’s movements from their partner’s. However, those who are often hot while sleeping may find the thick foam uncomfortable.
Latex mattresses include a soft but firm top layer that conforms to the sleeper without the “sinking” sensation of memory foam. Pressure relief is excellent, and those who sleep hot will find latex to be a comfortable, albeit more expensive, choice. Gel and waterbed mattresses are niche products, usually appreciated most by long-time users.
Sleep Number Beds
Sleep Number Beds are advanced, adjustable air mattresses that can be purchased with a wide range of features. All allow sleepers to independently adjust the bed’s firmness on one side without affecting the firmness of their partner’s side. Each Sleep Number Bed contains two air chambers that can be separately inflated or deflated. Air pressure is adjusted using control devices for each side of the bed, or through an available feature that automatically adds or removes air as sleepers change positions. Sleep Number Beds can provide excellent support and comfort for most sleepers. Buyers should take the time to select the model and type that best fits their sleeping needs.
A mattress topper is a pad that can be positioned atop most mattresses. They are made from different materials and can be purchased in various sizes that fit most mattress types. Toppers are often purchased by bed owners who have found their mattresses to be too firm or otherwise not comfortable. Perforated, “egg crate” foam has traditionally been used in many mattress toppers, though memory foam has become popular in recent years due to its high comfort qualities. When purchasing a mattress topper, customers should consider the thickness that is needed. A topper that is too thin or lacks density may not provide the “softening” the purchaser seeks. In general, toppers are a considerably less expensive, though potentially less satisfying, alternative to purchasing a new mattress.
Popular Mattress Retailers
The number of mattress retailers and brands in the U.S. is growing. Not so long ago, most consumers purchased mattresses at furniture stores or through a large department retailers such as Sears or JC Penney. The products offered were generally manufactured by a handful of long-time industry standard companies including Serta, Sealy, Simmons, and Stearns and Foster.
Within the last five to ten years, specialty mattress retailers have captured an enormous market share, and the list of companies now manufacturing mattresses has also grown dramatically. Mattress One, Mattress Firm, Sleepy’s, Mattress Warehouse, and Sleep Number are just a few companies that have successfully entered the direct mattress sales business.
Online mattress sales are another, even more recent development. Companies such as Casper, Leesa, Bear, and Saatva have become quite popular by offering online buying, direct-to-home delivery, and no-obligation trial periods. These sellers offer a variety of mattress types, and are most popular with do-it-yourself consumers and younger purchasers.
When Selecting a mattress retailer and product, buyers should carefully consider their needs, research the type and quality of product offered by sellers, and give careful thought to consumer information such as that offered in this article.