(Teddy bear optional)
Once you are familiar with the menu of mattress options available, start the shopping process at a store that you know and trust.
Once in the store, be sure to “test drive” your new mattress following the S.L.E.E.P. test. Remove your shoes (if you’re a woman, it’s best to go mattress-shopping in jeans or pants) and lie down on several different models in various positions, especially the one you usually sleep in.
And remember, those few extra minutes of focusing on the “feel” of different mattress choices can save a lot of time later.
Don't be embarrassed to lie down on mattresses in the store. We expect it!
Wear loose clothes and shoes that you can slip off. Spend several minutes on each side and on your back (or stomach, if that's a preferred sleeping position).
Panelists who took beds home for a month-long trial rarely changed the opinion they formed after the first night.
On the whole, their opinions were the same as those of our in-store testers, about 75 percent of whom told us, in a recent subscriber survey, that trying out the mattress beforehand helped them sleep better.
When you go to sleep at night, you experience four stages of sleep. To feel the most well rested, generally, you need to wake up at the end of the sleep cycle.
The eyes are closed during Stage 1 sleep and you can be awakened without difficulty, however, if aroused from this stage of sleep, you may feel as if you havenʼt slept. Stage 1 may last for five to 10 minutes. During this time, you may feel like youʼre falling, which may cause you to jump suddenly, (called hypnic myoclonia).
During this light period of sleep the heart rate slows and the body temperature decreases. At this point, the body prepares to enter deep sleep.
Stages 3 and 4:
These are deep sleep stages, with stage 4 being more intense than Stage 3. This is when REM
(rapid eye movment) sleep occurs. These stages are known as slow-wave, or delta, sleep. If aroused from sleep during these stages, a person may feel disoriented for a few minutes.
If this process is interrupted it has to “reset”, when this happens over and over, we wake feeling exhausted, like we didn’t sleep at all, because we really didn’t!
What causes the most interruptions to our sleep process?
Pressure on our shoulders and hips. and Improper back support (sagging spinal alinement)
Pressure on our muscles prevents our body from relaxing and beginning the sleep process.
Pressure on our circulation causes us to move, constantly “resetting” our sleep process.
So, how can you tell what mattress provides the best pressure relief?
The sleep test above works well for most, but the advanced method below is another useful method.
Remember we are here to help you select that "just right" mattress!
As you travel through the store you’ll quickly determine what beds work for you body and what beds don’t.
When you’ve narrowed down which beds relieve pressure the best, revisit them and go through the process again. This time ask a friend or a salesperson to view your profile from the side of the bed, looking to see if your spine appears relaxed and comfortable.
Most new beds provide adequate support, but you want to be sure the bed you choose properly maintains optimal spinal posture too.
Ask you partner or sales person to look at the alignment of your body when lying on each bed. You’re looking for the spine to be parallel with the mattress. Hips & shoulders should sink deeper but the line of your spine should be straight.
If your spine curls into a U shape then the mattress is not supporting you properly.
If your spine is straight then you have proper support even if the mattress feels softer than you expected.
Many people think a “hard” or “firm” mattress is better for their back. With today’s bedding materials this is not necessarily true. In fact a mattress that is too “hard “ or “firm” will actually create excessive pressure on your muscles and circulation preventing you from getting a good nights’ sleep.
If you follow these simple steps you will find the best bed for your body which will in turn give you the “better sleep tonight” you are looking for.
Everthing you want to know about mattresses and sleep!
Established in 1979, the Better Sleep Council (BSC) is a non-profit organization supported by the mattress industry. The BSC is devoted to educating the public about the importance of sleep to good health and quality of life and about the value of the mattress and sleep environment in pursuit of a good night's sleep.