Foam Mattress or Air Mattress?
Air mattresses have become more popular recently due to the ability to change the feel of your mattress at will. Many air mattresses allow you to change the firmness of one side of the mattress independent of the other. Air mattresses often have many parts that can break. We have seen that air mattress warranties contain less coverage. Also, like innerspring mattresses, you do not receive the same contouring effect that you do with foam.
Foam mattresses have several advantages. They are lighter in weight than innerspring mattresses and are easier to move and position. Foam is often a good choice for allergy sufferers, especially if the foam is mildew and dust-resistant. Foam mattresses have little side-to-side sway, so you’re not disturbed when your partner changes sleep positions. Because foam is flexible, a foam mattress is a good option if you want a queen-size or king-size bed but may have trouble getting the mattress up a set of stairs or around a tight corner in your home. Many consumers consider foam to be an inexpensive material; however, the price of a good quality foam sleep set compares to that of a good quality innerspring set.
What is the Difference Between Latex and Memory Foam?
Memory foam is an artificial foam while latex is natural. Memory foam has the advantage of being temperature sensitive and is also heavier than latex. Latex mattresses can be very hot to sleep on. Infinilux is another type of synthetic/artificial foam you may come across – it is patented by Stearns & Foster as synthetic latex foam.
Innerspring Mattress or Foam Mattress?
Innerspring mattresses have been standard for many years, yet foam mattresses are becoming more and more popular by the day due to claims of comfort and body support. Innerspring mattresses can feel nice to sit or lay on, but ultimately they do not offer the body contouring and spinal support of a good memory or latex foam mattress. While foam can condense over time, springs bend and lose shape.
King vs. California King Mattress?
The California King is both narrower and longer than its “plain” Kingsize sibling. Basically, this is a good choice only if you’re very tall (over 6′ 6″) but really most folks will prefer the wider King model. The California King is still very wide – a full foot wider than a Queen in fact – but is 4 inches narrower than a regular King size mattress.
Pillow top vs. Euro top?
A pillow top is a design that features a piece of padding on the top of the mattress that is sewn on with a gap around the side between the padding and the mattress. A euro top has the same piece of padding on top but it’s sewn on so that there is no space left between the mattress and the cushion where they meet around the side. There is really no functional difference between the two, it’s just a cosmetic difference.
How Long Does a Mattress Last?
Mattresses typically last 8-10 years. Different factors (weight of the sleeper(s), proper rotating & care, etc.) can make a mattress last more or less time than this. Foam mattresses should last longer than this and often feature a 20-year limited warranty.
Do I Need to Replace My Bed Foundation?
You may be considering only replacing a mattress and keeping your old foundation to save money. Don’t! An old foundation may negatively impact the feel and durability of the new mattress and may void your warranty.
How Can I Get the Best Price for a New Mattress?
This is a very difficult question and depends on several factors. First, it’s important to comparison shop at as many different stores as possible. Many larger stores and chains offer price guarantees where they will “meet & beat” a competitor’s price. Sometimes it’s worth finding a good price online and then forcing the chain to beat it. However, be aware that many times dealers will sell the same mattress under different names so that they can claim that the mattresses aren’t “apples to apples”, even when they’re really identical. Also be aware that some kinds of mattresses (particularly Tempur-Pedic) have strict pricing regulations and, as a result, must be sold for the same price at all retailers. Some other mattresses such as Perfect Cloud Mattress (read review) are generally sold online, and their pricing measures are more flexible, offering a variety of sizes and thicknesses. Your best bet is to comparison shop as much as possible, negotiate for a good price, and see if you can get any extras (pillows, sheets, no tax) thrown in with the deal.
What Separates a Good Mattress Retailer From a Great Retailer?
Some mattress retailers will offer additional services that can save you time, money, and frustration, including delivery and set-up of your new mattress, removal of your old one, special mattress financing, etc.
Where Should I Shop for a New Mattress?
Shop at stores that cater specifically to mattress sales. Not only are they more likely to have excellent warranty and exchange policies, but also they will have a vast selection and ensure that you find the best mattress for your needs.
Tips for Better Sleep
What you can do to create the ideal bedroom environment.
Quick quiz: What are the three things a bedroom should be in order to promote good sleep?
Quiet, Dark and Cool.
Some people use fans or white noise generators to help mute thing that go bump in the night. For a cheaper alternative, set your radio between stations.
Use shades, dark wall coverings or dark fabrics to reduce the amount of light in the room. Eyeshades may also do the trick. We like the Mindfold.
According to the book Power Sleep by Dr. James B. Mass, 65º F is the ideal temperature for sleeping. A warm room or too many blankets can interrupt your sleep.
If you are a back sleeper, you can put a pillow under your knees to take the pressure off of your lower back. If you are a side sleeper, you can put a pillow between your knees to help keep the spine aligned. Try it, it feels great!
1. Reduce stress.
2. Exercise, but not within two hours of bedtime.
3. Keep mentally stimulated during the day.
4. Eat a proper diet.
5. Stop smoking
6. Reduce caffeine intake.
7. Avoid alcohol near bedtime.
8. Take a warm bath before bed.
9. Maintain a relaxing atmosphere in the bedroom.
10. Establish a bedtime ritual.
Source: Power Sleep by Dr. James B. Maas
The National Sleep Foundation offers the following tips (some of which are mentioned above) that can help you achieve better sleep and the benefits it provides.
These tips are intended for “typical” adults, but not necessarily for children or persons experiencing medical problems. If you have trouble falling asleep, maintaining sleep, wake up earlier than you wish, feel that not-do-fresh feeling after sleep or suffer from excessive sleepiness during the day or when you wish to be alert, you should also consult your physician. Be sure to tell him/her if you have already tried these tips and for how long. To check for possible sleep problems, go to our checklist, “How’s Your Sleep?”
1. Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule including weekends. The “circadian clock” in our brain regulates our sleep-wake cycle and satisfies the body’s need to balance both sleep time and wake time. A regular waking time in the morning strengthens the circadian function and can help with sleep onset at night. That is also why it is important to keep a regular bedtime and wake-time, even on the weekends when there is the temptation to sleep-in.
2. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep. Avoid arousing activities before bedtime like working, paying bills, engaging in competitive games or family problem-solving. Some studies suggest that soaking in hot water (such as a hot tub or bath) before retiring to bed can ease the transition into a deeper sleep, but it should be done early enough that you are no longer sweating or over-heated. If you are unable to avoid tension and stress, it may be helpful to learn relaxation therapy from a trained professional. Finally, avoid exposure to bright before bedtime because it signals the neurons that help control the sleep-wake cycle that it is time to awaken, not to sleep.
3. Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep – cool, quiet, dark, comfortable and free of interruptions. Also, make your bedroom reflective of the value you place on sleep. Check your room for noise or other distractions, including a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring, light, and a dry or hot environment. Consider using blackout curtains, eyeshades, earplugs, “white noise,” humidifiers, fans, and other devices.
4. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night.
5. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine. For example, if looking at a bedroom clock makes you anxious about how much time you have before you must get up, move the clock out of sight. Do not engage in activities that cause you anxiety and prevent you from sleeping.
6. Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime. Eating or drinking too much may make you less comfortable when settling down for bed. It is best to avoid a heavy meal too close to bedtime. Also, spicy foods may cause heartburn, which leads to difficulty falling asleep and discomfort during the night. Try to restrict fluids close to bedtime to prevent nighttime awakenings to go to the bathroom, though some people find milk or herbal, non-caffeinated teas to be soothing and a helpful part of a bedtime routine.
7. Exercise regularly. It is best to complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime. In general, exercising regularly makes it easier to fall asleep and contributes to sounder sleep. However, exercising sporadically or right before going to bed will make falling asleep more difficult. In addition to making us more alert, our body temperature rises during exercise and takes as much as 6 hours to begin to drop. Cooler body temperature is associated with sleep onset… Finish your exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime. Late afternoon exercise is the perfect way to help you fall asleep at night.
8. Avoid caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) close to bedtime. It can keep you awake. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can produce an alerting effect. Caffeine products, such as coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate, remain in the body on average from 3 to 5 hours, but they can affect some people up to 12 hours later. Even if you do not think caffeine affects you, it may be disrupting and changing the quality of your sleep. Avoiding caffeine within 6-8 hours of going to bed can help improve sleep quality.
9. Avoid nicotine (e.g. cigarettes, tobacco products). Used close to bedtime, it can lead to poor sleep. Nicotine is also a stimulant. Smoking before bed makes it more difficult to fall asleep. When smokers go to sleep, they experience withdrawal symptoms from nicotine, which also cause sleep problems. Nicotine can cause difficulty falling asleep, problems waking in the morning, and may also cause nightmares. Difficulty sleeping is just one more reason to quit smoking. And never smoke in bed or when sleepy!
10. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. Although many people think of alcohol as a sedative, it actually disrupts sleep, causing nighttime awakenings. Consuming alcohol leads to a night of less restful sleep. If you have sleep problems…Use a sleep diary and talk to your doctor. Note what type of sleep problem is affecting your sleep or if you are sleepy when you wish to be awake and alert. Try these tips and record your sleep and sleep-related activities in a sleep diary. If problems continue, discuss the sleep diary with your doctor. There may be an underlying cause and you will want to be properly diagnosed. Your doctor will help treat the problem or may refer you to a sleep specialist.