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Shopping for a Good Night's Sleep

Mattress Tips

Though you may find bed buying somewhat confusing – after all, you don't do it very often and it's not easy to see what's inside – research shows that the level of customer satisfaction with new mattresses is very high.

Comparison Shopping for Mattresses

If you're a shopper who likes to compare values from store to store, you should be aware that comparison-shopping by model name might lead to frustration. You probably won't find the same model name in one store as you did in another. So find a sleep set you like, then see what levels of comfort and support you can get for the same amount of money in another store. Your best strategy for making a wise purchase is to go to a store where the sales personnel make you feel comfortable, are knowledgeable and helpful. Many will be able to show you illustrated or actual "cutaways" of the interior of the different mattress and foundation choices so you can see what's inside, where much of the quality is hidden. Don't forget to compare store services such as delivery and removal of old bedding as well.

When comparing, remember that a "bargain" mattress and foundation are no bargain when it comes to getting a good night's sleep. Shop for the best value, not the lowest price. And, buy the best you can afford. Considering that you'll probably be using your bed more than any other product you own – including your car, TV, computer or cell phone – the mattress you sleep on is one of the best cost-per-day values on the market today.

What to Look for When Buying a Mattress

COMFORT. Gone are the days when a mattress had to be hard-as-a-board to be good for you. A too-hard mattress may only succeed in putting your shoulders and hips to sleep. You'll sleep best when your bed helps you feel cradled in comfort, cozy and secure. Today's top quality mattress/foundation ensembles are built for superior comfort. Luxurious new cushioning materials and extra-soft surface treatments create a plusher, more comfortable feel.

SUPPORT. Correct support is the essential ingredient for a healthy body. A good mattress and foundation will gently support your body at all points and keep your spine in the same shape as a person with good standing posture. Pay special attention to your shoulders, hips, and lower back—the heaviest parts. If there's too little support, you can develop back pain. But if the mattress is too hard for you, you can experience uncomfortable pressure.

A word about "firm." Don't rely on product labels to tell you which mattress will give you the right support. One manufacturer's "firm" may feel harder than another's "extra firm." The only way to find out if the support is right is to lie down and try.

DURABILITY. It's the quality of the materials used and how they're put together that determine how long a mattress and foundation will provide the comfort and support you bought them for. The best assurance of good performance over a good many years is to buy the highest quality sleep set you can afford.

A word about the warranty. Don't look to the warranty to tell you how long to keep your mattress and foundation. It's there to protect you against product defects, not against the gradual loss of comfort and support. A sleep set may still be usable after 15 or 20 years, but it's not giving you the good night's sleep you deserve.

Bed Basics

Get familiar with the elements of a comfortable bed.

INNERSPRING. The most widely purchased type of bedding uses the support of tempered steel coils in a variety of configurations. Layers of upholstery provide insulation and cushioning between your body and the spring unit. The result of this basic approach, coupled with state-of-the-art technology, is a full range of comfort choices.

Quality tip: You can't judge the quality of a mattress solely on the number of coils it contains. A high coil count doesn't automatically mean it's a better product. It's a combination of top quality innerspring system and superior upholstery materials that makes the difference.

FOAM. Solid foam mattresses also offer a wide choice of "feels". They can be made of a solid core or of several layers of different types of foam laminated together. Advanced technology in polyurethane foams, refinements to traditional latex foams and the new viscoelastic foams have added to the choice of comfort, support and performance.

FOUNDATION. A good foundation (box spring) is as important as a good mattress. Don't put a new mattress on an old foundation. When you select the mattress, purchase its companion foundation—the two are designed to work best together. In fact, buying the mattress without its matching foundation may affect the terms of the warranty.

Don't Forget The Pillow. Just as your bed should provide good support for your body, your pillow should give you the right cushioning to position your head and neck properly. It should hold your head in the same relation to your shoulders and spine as if you were standing with correct upright posture. If you sleep on your side, you may want a fairly firm pillow to give your head and neck extra support. If you sleep on your back, try a medium-firm pillow to cradle your head with more "give". And if you sleep on your stomach (although some physicians caution against this position), choose a soft pillow to lessen the strain on your neck.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the best way to try a mattress?
A. The best way to try a mattress is to take the "SLEEP Test":

S elect a mattress
L ie down in your sleep position
E valuate the level of comfort and support
E ducate yourself about each selection
P artners should shop together

Don't be embarrassed. You don't think twice about test-driving a car, and you shouldn't think twice about "SLEEP Testing" a mattress. Lie down on the mattress for several minutes and assess how well it provides support and how comfortable it is for you. The only way to tell if a mattress is right for you is to lie down on it.
Mattress Terminology

Innerspring Unit:
A coil and wire unit that makes up the supportive heart of a mattress

Coil Count:
The number of innerspring coils in a mattress

Coil Gauge:
The thickness of the wire used in innerspring mattresses
TIP: a lower gauge number denotes a thicker wire and a firmer mattress feel; a higher gauge results in a softer feel

Comfort Layers:
Foam, padding and fibers added to an innerspring system to provide cushioning; also called upholstery layers

Latex Foam:
Natural body-conforming material often used to increase softness and relieve pressure points

Visco Memory Foam:
Synthetic material that responds to body temperature and weight

Q. How can I tell if I need a new mattress?
A. When was the last time you thought about your mattress? Many of us forget that our mattresses are the most utilized piece of furniture we own. In fact, if you sleep 8 hours a night, in one year you’ll rack up 3,000 hours on your mattress. After 10 years, you’ll have logged 30,000 hours on the same bed. Listed below are a few hints that indicate it’s time to start thinking about renewing your sleep surface.

  1. You bought your current mattress over 8 years ago.
    The average life span of a quality mattress is 8 to 10 years. Mattresses older than that suffer from deteriorating comfort features and diminished support capabilities.

    2. You wake up feeling more tired than when you went to sleep.
    Most consumers’ wait too long to replace their mattresses. If you don’t wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated—or if you feel any pain or discomfort—you've definitely waited too long.

    3. The couch feels more comfortable than your bed.
    Concentrate on the feel of your mattress. Do you feel coils or bumps? Your body needs a smooth, comfortable sleep surface to get a regenerative night’s sleep. Your mattress should enable you to sleep through the night with minimal tossing and turning.

    4. Your mattress looks worn and uneven.
    Inspect your mattress regularly for sags and imprints. If your mattress appears uneven or worn and frayed, maybe it’s time to start shopping. The upholstery layers in all mattresses compress over time. For optimal performance, be sure to rotate your mattress occasionally to extend its durability and renew its comfort. If you "inherited" your mattress from a family member or friend, chances are you need to replace it now.

    5. You’ve taken your mattress for granted.
    Mattresses are the most used yet most ignored piece of furniture in the house. Pay attention to your mattress. Do you hear creaks and groans? Do you notice the surface sags or indents in certain areas and not in others? The condition of your mattress may come as a surprise, once you take a close look.

Q. How much should I spend on a new sleep set?
A. Mattress prices range greatly, from about $299 to over $5,000 for a queen set. A good night’s sleep is one of the best investments you can make, so buy the best mattress you can afford. Keep in mind that most of us spend as much as one-third of our time in bed. Your investment will cost just pennies per night over the next 10 years! In fact, a $1,000 Sealy Posturepedic® sleep set costs about 27 cents per night (based on a 10-year life).

Q. Should I replace my box spring when purchasing a new mattress?
A. Yes! A good box spring is as important as a good mattress! It acts much like a large shock absorber, taking a lot of the nightly wear and tear, and it contributes to your comfort and support. Don’t put a new mattress on an inappropriate box spring. When you select the mattress, purchase its companion box spring. The two are designed to work best together.
Q. How long should my sleep set last?
A. The Better Sleep Council advises consumers to buy the highest quality bedding they can afford, then replace old bedding every 8-10 years. After this many years, even the best bedding may no longer provide the comfort and support you deserve.
Q. Is it true that your local “factory to you” stores sell the same sleep system found in Sealy Posturepedic?
No, it’s not true. Sealy’s Posturepedic Innerspring system is a patented design developed and produced by Sealy and only offered in Sealy products. Posturepedic components, which meet the highest quality standards in the industry, are not offered in products promoted by “factory to you” stores. Don’t be fooled by “factory to you” stores, selling products that are “just like a Sealy.” There is no substitute for a Sealy Posturepedic sleep set.
Q. What type of mattress should I buy for my child?
A. Your child should sleep on a Sealy Posturepedic because it offers correct back support. Children’s bodies aren’t just always moving, they’re always changing, and through all of those changes, their growing backs need support. Don’t skimp when buying a new sleep set for your child. With a Sealy Posturepedic, your children will get the comfort they want with the support their developing bodies need.
Q. Does a mattress need to be hard in order to be good for me?
No! Sealy Posturepedic sleep sets offer correct support regardless of comfort level or price. Whether your Sealy Posturepedic is soft or hard, it will give you the same correct back support you need.
Q. Why are there so many different quilting designs?
A. The quilting design on a Sealy mattress cover helps determine the firmness or plushness of the sleep surface. If a quilting design is small and close, the bed will tend to feel firmer; if the design is large and spread out, the bed will usually feel more plush. Remember, when you purchase a Sealy Posturepedic sleep set, you get the correct support you need, regardless of comfort level or price.
Q. Should I be concerned about bedding height?
A. For consumers who don’t want the extra height that comes with today’s bedding, Sealy offers a “Low Profile Box Spring,” cutting the height of the box spring by up to 4.5 inches! A low-rise bed frame can also reduce the overall height of your mattress surface. In addition, most stores also offer “low profile frames,” which also reduce overall height.
Q. What are the dimensions of traditional bedding?
A. These are standard finished product sizes. Actual size may vary by model, generally within a range of ± ½ inch to 1 inch.

King: 76" x 80"
Queen: 60" x 80"
Full: 53" x 75"
Twin: 38" x 75"
Q. I am interested in a queen- or king-size bed, but the access to my bedroom is limited. How can I get a large bed through tight quarters?
A. King-size foundations and split queen box springs come in two pieces for easier access through narrow halls. Also, the new UniCased Sealy Posturepedic mattresses can be bent up to 15° without damaging the innerspring.

Q. Why are some of today’s beds so thick? My sheets don’t fit!
A. Today’s mattresses are manufactured with much more upholstery padding and comfort layers than in days gone by! Many consumers prefer the plush and ultra-plush comfort that these thick mattresses provide. You can find deep-pocketed sheets in most retail stores today, or look for Sealy sheets with the exclusive border that can fit any mattress up to 21 inches deep.
Q. Traditional-size mattresses are not big enough for me. Does Sealy make non-traditional?
A. Yes! Sealy realizes people come in all different sizes. Contact your local retailer for the following non-traditional mattress sizes:

*72" x 84" California King
*53" x 80" Full X-Long
*38" x 80" Twin X-Long

These are standard finished product sizes. Actual size may vary by model, generally within a range of ± ½ inch.
Q. Will TrueForm™ by Sealy Posturepedic® sleep “hot”?
A. No. Memory foam is an open-cell structure that allows the foam to breathe. And our new Outlast Smart Fabric cover regulates heat to help keep you cool and comfortable as the mattress conforms to your body.
Q. Will TrueForm sag?
A. No. Memory foam is very consistent and should preclude any abnormal defects like sagging.
Q. What’s the difference between TrueForm and Tempur-Pedic®?
A. Each brand offers several models that have different amounts of layered foam. TrueForm features a unique PostureCore system that enhances the conformance and pressure relief of memory foam, while offering orthopedically correct support – helping to make TrueForm a better value than Tempur-Pedic. Also, the TrueForm memory foam manufacturing process is different than Tempur-Pedic’s process.
Q. What’s the difference between latex and memory foam?
A. Latex differs from memory foam in its elastic, open-cell structure that recovers from pressure immediately. Memory foam has a slower recovery time. Latex is a very supportive, yet conforming material.
Q. Does latex sleep “hot”?
A. No. Latex doesn’t sleep hot, because its open-cell structure allows it to breathe.
Q. Can latex cause allergic reactions?
A. Since our latex is derived from a synthetic petroleum base versus natural latex, which uses rubber tree sap, we avoid the impurities and proteins that cause allergic reactions to latex