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Recent technological advances in the way mattresses and box springs are made have led to a much wider choice of what you sleep on every night. It’s not as simple as it used to be, so how do you buy a bedding set nowadays?
Gone are the days of hard, harder, and hardest as your only choices. Gone too, is the need to flip your mattress over every six months. Consumers can choose from ultra firm to ultra plush and everything in between. In addition to traditional coil mattresses and box springs, sleep systems made from foam and latex are also gaining in popularity.
How to Buy a Bedding Set: Where to Start?
So how do you choose what is right for you? You need to do two things: do your homework and learn the differences among the various types available, then give yourself ample time to actually try the sets.
Traditional Coil Mattress and Box Springs
Also known as innerspring sleep systems, these continue to hold the lion’s share of the bedding market in the United States. Not so long ago, the general rule was the more coils, the better support provided. Advances in how the coils are made as well as design input from the medical community in the last 15 years have dramatically improved overall quality.
Mattresses had to be flipped over every six months because the weight of bodies at night would compress the coils and lessen support. A process called double heat tempering eliminates the need to do so. Imagine the top of a wire hanger–you simply can’t uncoil it. That’s what double heat tempering does. It strengthens the coils so that they push back with as much force as you put on them, thereby holding their shape.
The buzz word here is Tempur-Pedic, a Sewdish company that began marketing a viscoelastic foam mattress in Europe in 1991, and then a year later in the United States. Viscoelastic foam is made via subjecting synthetic polyurethane foam to certain chemicals to increase its density. The process allows the foam to conform to a shape when pressure is applied against it, thus providing support, but bounces back to its original shape when pressure is removed. The process by which Tempur-Pedic makes its sleep systems is a trade secret, but other manufacturers have developed their own systems which are similar.
Sometimes called latex foam mattresses, these sleep systems are the champions of the green movement because many are made with all natural materials. In addition, they are anti-microbial, dust-mite resistant, and hypoallergenic.
Latex is resiliant as well as breathable, providing less heat build-up than memory foam mattresses. This material conforms to the body to provide support and spinal alignment in a method similar to a memory foam system, but the feel is more like a traditional coil spring mattress. Latex is a good choice for people who thought they wanted memory foam but don’t like the feel.
How to Select the Right Sleep System
You many be convinced that you need an ultra-firm mattress or a Tempur-Pedic bed, but once you get into the showroom you may change your mind. The feel of a bed is extremely important. It doesn’t matter if you spend $2,000 on a mattress instead of $6,000. The more expensive system isn’t necessarily better. Go with what feels comfortable.
Similarly, even though foam beds are all the rage, you may not like them once you try one or two models. Bedding professionals liken these mattresses, particularly Temper-pedic, to being wrapped in a cocoon or falling in quicksand. Be open to other choices if something doesn’t feel right.
To help you find the bedding system that is right for you, here are some tips on what you should do before going and while at a bedding showroom.
Look at manufacturers’ websites. The big three of bedding are Sealy, Serta, and Simmons. Get an idea of what you would like to try in the showroom. Manufacturer websites often explain in depth the technical differences. You’ll find a lot of them between the $400 model and the $2,400 model in the same line. Read consumer reviews to get an independent point of view.
Measure your current mattress and box spring including the height. Mattress sizes have changed dramatically over the past decade, especially height. Make sure you buy one that will fit your frame. If the height of what you see in the showroom is too difficult for you, request low profile systems. These will be more in line with what you currently have.
How to Buy a Bedding Set: What to Consider
Buy a reputable name brand. Over 800 bedding manufacturers operate in the United States. Make sure you purchase a system from one that stands behind its product. If you have back problems, consider Sealy or Sterns and Foster. Orthopedic surgeons have worked with development teams of those companies to specifically develop bedding for this market.
Tell your sales professional about any spine or other orthopedic problems. That way you can be guided to the beds that will be right for you.
Decide on your price range and get the best bed you can afford. Remember that more expensive is not necessarily better.
Wear comfortable clothes to the store and take off jackets and coats when trying a bed. You don’t sleep in outwear so why would you try a bed while wearing one? Don’t just sit on the bed, lie down. You can’t ascertain the comfort level by merely sitting. Give yourself time, at least 10 minutes to gauge whether or not this is the sleep system for you.
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