Shopping For Your Best Sleep
We talk lots about making the best decisions with furniture purchases, especially when it comes to pieces you hope to pass along for years to come. But a mattress…a mattress is an entirely different kind of purchase. You’ll spend almost a third of your life asleep (some of us more…and definitely some of us less while infants are around!). Our mattresses provide a restful place, where cares, tasks and aches are all put down. It’s not necessarily something we want to give as an inheritance, but it is something we want to carefully consider – for our own rest and comfort. So, where to start?
Let’s start with just a little information on materials. Every mattress can be divided into two sections – the comfort layers, which are the top few inches and primarily responsible for pressure relief, and the support system, which includes everything below the comfort layers and is primarily responsible for spinal alignment.
Not too long ago, most manufacturers were making similar, high quality products. Sadly, many are switching to lesser grade materials and weaker construction methods, resulting in a much worse night’s sleep for you! Comfort layers are typically made of latex, memory foam, or polyfoam. Many manufacturers today have switched to a lower density foam, which would allow a deeper body impression (the industry standard for warranty purposes is 1 ½”). The more layers of foam and padding this top layer offers, the more comfort is offered, the longer the mattress lasts and the smaller body impression is made.
The support system used to be standard with a steel spring and equally sturdy frame constructed to provide a stable, firm support for the cushioned part of the mattress. Again, manufacturers have found a much more economical build and are using less steel in their springs, and often no springs at all! MDF is often used for the frame, making cracks and breaks common in what is supposed to be the sturdiest part. A second option for the support system is memory foam, which is much more conforming to your body, but can sometimes get stuffy.
Fortunately, there are options! Our favorites are Amish-made mattresses (shocked?) that offer a higher-quality product than any main-stream mattress on the market. For starters, the Amish build an innerspring support system using 12.5 gauge steel springs that are supported by a steel grid that is then fastened to a wood frame (that’s real, solid wood folks…not MDF!). The multiple layers of insulation, foam and padding go into each mattress according to your specified level of firmness. And since it’s handmade, you can choose a different level than your counterpart! So confident in their workmanship, these craftsmen consider any body impression over ½” unacceptable and honor that with their warranty.
There are lots more pieces of information you can get your hands on (which we encourage!), but here are some very important questions to ask when shopping for your mattress:
1. What options do you have? The traditional innerspring (more support) or the memory foam (more conforming), we have both for you to try!
2. What type of warranty is offered? How many years and at what level of body impression does the warranty guarantee?
3. What materials are used? Is the frame made of wood or mdf? Are there springs and what gauge of steel (if any) is used?
4. Is the mattress two-sided?
5. When you are close to purchasing, make sure to ask about delivery options – timing, set up and disposal of old (sometimes not offered).