How to Shop for a Mattress (Without Getting a Headache)
Let’s face it, shopping for a mattress isn’t anyone’s favorite way to spend a Saturday (in fact, 52% of people surveyed would rather visit the DMV than shop for a new mattress). Mattress stores can be confusing and unwelcoming, with a salesperson lingering nearby and harsh fluorescent lights drowning out a sea of white mattresses that all look alike. And looking for a mattress online isn’t any easier. There are dozens (maybe hundreds) of brands, and it’s impossible to decode the way they market their technology. (What exactly is “Breeze technology” and do you want it in your mattress? Spoiler: You do, and here's why.)
With Sleep Solutions by Slumberland, mattress shopping is reinvented. Visit a showroom to explore our new, simplified rating and infographic system to help you find the right mattress and start sleeping better.
Shopping with the help of our new system makes it easier to compare mattresses from different brands, even when those brands have different firmness scales, construction types, and technological buzzwords to describe their materials. While this new system will now let you confidently shop for mattresses all on your own, our dedicated staff of sleep experts is available, like always, to answer any questions you may have and provide personalized recommendations.
Below, we take a close look at:
- Why mattress shopping was so hard
- How Slumberland has made it easier
If you're ready to go get a personalized sleep solution, visit one of our Sleep Solutions by Slumberland showrooms. Slumberland showrooms are designed to be customer-friendly, with an easy-to-navigate rating system across all models.
Why was Mattress Shopping So Hard
There are two big problems when it comes to mattress shopping.
- Knowing what makes a good mattress
- Comparing different mattress models and brands
When mattress companies talk about their beds, they often use insider terms like motion transfer, responsiveness, and open-cell foam. When they talk about comfort levels (sometimes called firmness levels), they’ll say things like medium-firm and luxury firm and extra firm. Those words are often meaningless to the average consumer. One person’s medium-firm could be another person’s extra-firm.
Even worse, there isn’t a universally agreed-upon way to compare these features across different types of mattress or different mattress brands. So if one company says they have a breathable latex mattress that will keep you cool and another company says they have ultimate open-cell foam for enhanced breathability — who wins? Definitely not the customer, who is left confused and overwhelmed.
The truth is, the mattress industry has never made it easy for customers to research and compare mattresses. And that’s what we set out to fix with Sleep Solutions. At Slumberland, we have drastically changed how you shop for a mattress, reinventing the process from step one.
How We Simplified the Mattress Shopping Process
When we decided to simplify how our customers shop for mattresses, we researched what matters most in finding a new bed. To do this, we focused on a) what our customers want and b) what science and experience tell us is important when we’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. That led us to the following core criteria for each mattress:
- Types of mattresses
- Back support
- Pressure relief
- Motion Transfer
Then, we evaluated all the mattresses we carry (including beds from Tempur-Pedic, Stearns and Foster, Sealy, and Slumbercrest) and designed a way to rate each of these core attributes.
When you walk into a Sleep Solutions by Slumberland showroom, you’ll see an infographic on each mattress that tells you all you need to know about the bed before you try it.
Step 1 - Knowing what Type of Mattress You're Trying
There are three main types of mattresses in our Sleep Solution department: memory foam, innerspring, and hybrid mattresses.
Unsure of which mattress is for you? We've got that covered. The first thing we recommend customers do when they visit our Sleep Solutions section is take a Rest Match. We have three mattresses (one of each type) at the front of the department. You can try out each and get a better understanding of which type you prefer.
To make your shopping experience even easier after, we have different color icons for each type of mattress: orange, teal, and gold.
Orange is for innerspring, teal is for memory foam, and gold is for hybrid - a combination of the two. After you take your Rest Match, you can now navigate the showroom easily, by spotting the type of mattress you prefer.
And to get your journey started, here’s some quick info on what each type has to offer.
Innerspring mattresses. The top cushioning layers are quilted and tufted, which gives you that classic sensation of crawling into bed. (FYI: Modern innerspring beds have come a long way since your parents’ traditional innerspring mattress, thanks to major advancements in coil technology.)
Memory foam mattresses. Memory foam mattresses are our go-to pick for customers dealing with back pain issues. This is because memory foam is really good at providing pressure relief. The support here comes from layers of dense and firm foams which react to your body and cradle it to relieve pressure, rather than pushing back against it.
Hybrid mattresses. Hybrid mattresses use a mix of both foam and coils, giving you the best of both worlds. Innerspring coils are paired with thick layers of memory foam to help relieve pressure. Comfort comes from sleeping directly on those pressure-relieving materials.
The point is — it’s easy to find the mattress type you want at Slumberland. Just take a Rest Match to figure out what you like, then look for the color on each mattress sign to shop for an innerspring mattress, a memory foam mattress, or a hybrid mattress.
Step 2 - Find the Right Mattress For You
Back Support (on a Scale of 1-5)
Getting the right amount of back support from your mattress is critical. If you have back, spine, hip or other issues, work on your feet all day, or are tall or bigger framed, great back support is even more important.
One of the ways a mattress provides back support is by keeping your spine aligned and not letting your hips sink too far into the bed.
We looked at the materials used in each mattress, such as the kind of coil (and the number of coils), the types of foam, and how those foam layers were arranged.
Then we mapped each mattress on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the least amount of back support and 5 being the most.
For example, if you were looking for an innerspring mattress with the most back support, you’d look for a mattress with the color orange on its sign, along with a rating of 5 for back support.
Feel (on a Scale of 1-5)
Feel is the level of cushion comfort you get from those top layers of a bed. Very important to note – this is different from back support. Since they are different, you can get strong back support AND a soft mattress. It’s true!
One of our customers’ biggest misconceptions is that the way a mattress feels dictates how much support it has. For example, we often hear, “I want a firm bed because I need more support.” But firmness isn’t the same thing as support. Here’s an analogy that should help illustrate the difference.
The firmest surface in your house is likely your kitchen floor. Now imagining sleeping there for the night. It’d be firm, it’d be durable, it’d be long-lasting — but it wouldn’t be supportive.
The truth is you can have a firm bed that’s unsupportive, and a soft bed that’s very supportive.
That’s why we have a separate rating for feel, again on a scale of 1 to 5. Very firm feeling beds are rated 1, and very soft beds are rated 5.
We recommend shopping for feel based on your sleeping position:
- Side sleepers generally prefer a softer mattress with a feel rating of 3, 4, or 5
- Back and stomach sleepers prefer typically a firmer feeling mattress with a feel rating of 1 or 2
When you come into a Sleep Solutions by Slumberland showroom, you can start with a Feel rating appropriate for your sleeping position, then figure out which number you like best after testing a few beds in the showroom.
Cooling (Moderate or Advanced)
Sleeping hot is a top problem for adults today! No one likes sleeping hot at night. It keeps you up because you’re tossing and turning, kicking off the covers, and getting out of bed to turn on your air conditioning. Luckily there are many new technologies and materials to help. But that doesn’t mean every sleeper will want a special cooling mattress.
In our Sleep Solutions department, we have everything from mattresses that don’t offer any cooling properties (after all, some people don't need any extra cooling), some have a cooling feeling cover, and others that offer significant cooling benefits. To making shopping easier, we use two different labels for mattresses with significant cooling benefits:
- Mattresses with moderate cooling properties
- Mattresses with advanced cooling properties
If there is a cooling label on the mattress, then that mattress has additional technology to draw heat away from your body and promote better airflow. For those who really sleep hot, look for our advanced cooling products, from mattresses to pillows to sheets, to keep you cool. The specifics will differ by model and some beds, like the Tempur-Pedic Breeze line, can actually feel up to 8 degrees cooler.
Pressure Relief (Moderate or Advanced)
There are some beds that use higher quality, more pressure-relieving materials. If you’re suffering from significant and painful conditions like sciatica and chronic back pain, then we recommend looking for a mattress that offers pressure relief.
Some brands — like Tempur-Pedic — use advanced mattress materials that offer unparalleled pressure relief. Others don’t go quite as far as Tempur-Pedic but still offer great pressure relief benefits. We classify mattresses in the showroom in two ways:
- Having moderate pressure relief
- Having advanced pressure relief
If you don't see a pressure relief icon, it does not mean the mattress doesn't provide pressure relief. All mattresses provide some level of pressure relief but we specifically marked ones that offer more than average pressure relief.
Motion Transfer (Does the Mattress Have It or Not?)
Motion transfer is when you can feel your partner or pet moving on the bed throughout the night. A mattress categorized as “No Motion Transfer” will absorb more of their movement during the night, letting you both sleep better. Most customers have seen the wine glass test in a commercial. That’s where Tempur-Pedic puts a full wine glass on one corner of the bed and has people jump on the other side of the bed. The wine glass doesn’t fall over. That’s because Tempur-Pedic mattresses don’t have motion transfer.
But Tempur-Pedic isn’t the only mattress that helps stop motion transfer. Sometimes customers think that innerspring mattresses will always be “bouncy” but that’s more of your parents’ old traditional innerspring mattress. There’s been huge advancements in coil technology over the years, including using two-in-one coils and individually wrapped coils to help cut down on motion transfer.
Step 3 - Complete Your New Sleep System
There’s more that goes into a good night’s sleep than ditching your old mattress.
Finding the right mattress is just the first step to getting a better night sleep. Pillows, sheets, mattress protectors, even what you put your mattress on (your foundation) make a difference in how well you sleep. At Slumberland, we recommended examining your entire sleep system, and adding, or replacing, what might be causing some of your sleep concerns.
Each of these play a key role in helping you sleep better.
- The best pillow will support your neck and shoulders.
- The right sheets will be cool, breathable, and soft-to-the-touch.
- A mattress protector helps keep out body sweat, spills, and bacteria.
- A mattress foundation supports your mattress, helping it last longer and preventing it from developing sags. (FYI: If you get an adjustable foundation, you get extra benefits like ultimate back pain relief, snoring relief, increased blood circulation, lifestyle upgrades (much easier to get in and out of bed or watch a movie in bed) and more.)
Other Key Information We Provide for Our Customers
In addition to our rating scale and key features, we provide the following information for each mattress we sell:
Does it ship in a box? Some quality mattresses are vacuum-sealed into a compact box and are perfect for those who are looking for something they can easily transport or move through a tight space. Boxed mattresses are generally packaged in 2 feet by 3 feet boxes and can weigh anywhere from 60lbs to 150lbs+ (depending on the size).
Is the mattress antimicrobial?When unprotected, mattresses can be a breeding ground for germs. A mattress with antimicrobial properties actually kills or prevents microbial growth on or in your mattress. This can help cut down on skin irritation or allergies because you’re keeping bacteria and allergens out of your mattress. (Note: We still always recommend you buy a mattress protector, because a mattress protector goes above and beyond what an antimicrobial cover can do, including keeping sweat out of your mattress.)
Is the mattress compatible with an adjustable bed frame? An adjustable bed frame or power base is a frame that can move your mattress up and down. When you tilt your head up, it’s easier to read a book, watch a movie, or work from the comfort of your bed. Plus, sleeping with your head elevated helps you breathe better and cut down on snoring. When you tilt your legs up, you take pressure off your lower back and increase blood flow. Plus, some adjustable bases have a massage feature that helps you relax and also increases blood flow. The good news is that at Slumberland almost all of our mattresses are compatible with adjustable bed frames.
Next Steps: Come Find the Right Mattress for You at Slumberland
Let’s say you want a hybrid mattress, with medium or better back support. And because you’re a side sleeper, you decide to look for a softer feeling mattress.
That means, at Slumberland, you’d want to consider any of the mattress models on this hybrid mattresses page.
Or maybe you want the contouring pressure relief of a memory foam mattress, with cooling, and you’re a back sleeper, so you're looking for a firmer mattress. That means you’re going to want to consider the assortment of mattresses on this page of memory foam mattresses.
And it’s just that simple now when you buy a mattress at Slumberland. Our new universal rating process helps you navigate dozens of different mattress models across all brands, without getting confused or overwhelmed.
What's the Slumberland Return Policy?
With our new mattress shopping experience — and with our dedicated staff of sleep experts helping you find the right bed — you’re in the best spot to find the right mattress.
But we know every now and then you’ll decide that the mattress you picked wasn’t the right one.
That’s why we offer a trial period, called our 120-Night Comfort Guarantee.
- The first 30 nights is considered an adjustment period. It’s a bit like buying a new pair of shoes and breaking them in. It takes some time. So we ask that you keep your mattress for at least 30 nights before deciding if you want to exchange it.
- After the first 30 nights, and up until night 120, you can make an exchange. Usually this happens when you’ve decided on a bed that’s a little too soft or too firm. In these cases, it’s really simple to come into Slumberland and find the right replacement. There’s a $99 re-select fee, that’s dedicated from your original purchase amount. The rest of the balance is applied towards your new mattress.
After 120 nights, your purchase is still protected with your mattress warranty. Mattress warranties vary across brands, but the standard is at least 10 years. In those 10 years, if your mattress develops a significant sag (the exact measurement is specified in the warranty) then you may qualify for a repair or replacement.
What Size Mattress Should I Get
There are several different mattress sizes, but the standard ones are:
- Twin 38” x 75”
- Twin XL (extra long) 38” x 80”
- Full 54” x 75”
- Queen 60” x 80”
- King 76” x 80”
There’s also a California King, which is 4 inches longer and 4 inches narrower than a king size that can be custom ordered.
Queen size is one of the most popular mattress sizes to buy — often used by those sleeping alone or with their partners. But if you have the space in your room, we’d recommend that all couples sleep on a king size mattress. The width of a king size bed allows for less motion transfer and gives each of you more flexibility in finding your ideal sleeping position.
If you're ready to experience mattress buying, reinvented, visit a Sleep Solutions by Slumberland near you. You can also learn more about how Sleep Solutions can change your night, or shop mattresses online.