Going mattress shopping can be an intimidating experience. Part of that may be due to the way that you’ve been treated in mattress stores before – mattress sales people have earned an unfortunate reputation for being overly enthusiastic and aggressive, and have often been compared to used car salesmen. There are a number of reasons that people find mattress shopping so confusing. Right off the bat there is the problem with product names that sound so similar to one another that it becomes nearly impossible to make a distinction from brand to brand. Another problem is that there is so much technical information about the materials that the mattresses are made of and the number of coils that are available per inch that you feel like you need a PhD to understand what you’re looking at. Finally, the prices are so wide-ranging and the decorations on the beds themselves are so distracting that it seems impossible to tell a good bed from a bad one or a good buy from a ripoff. The best way to avoid confusion and that feeling of being completely overwhelmed at the mattress store is to do your homework long before you enter a retail establishment. The more that you know, the more confident you will be, and the less likely it is that the salespeople will be able to confuse you. One of the most important things for you to understand is that it is going to be difficult for you to go from store to store to compare mattresses. The reason for this is that the big-name manufacturers have a tendency to take the same exact product and give it a different name and perhaps a different decorative trim in each store that it’s sold in. This is generally done to prevent you from price shopping, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to tell what you’re looking at. What’s most important in any case is not who the manufacturer is, but what the bed is made up of and whether or not it provides you with the comfort that you are looking for. Pay attention to the bed’s composition and feel and stop worrying about which is the ‘best’ brand. Another important aspect of purchasing a mattress is understanding whether you want it to be firm or not, and if so, to what extent. According to experts at the National Foundation for Spinal Health, mattresses are supposed to make sure that you are supported in what is called a “position of function.” That means that you are lying in the same essential spine position as when you are standing up. That may sound strange, but if you think about it, it makes sense. If a mattress is too firm then it flattens out the curve, essentially tucking your hips forward in an unnatural and eventually painful position. The same is true of a mattress that is too soft and allows your hips to sink too far backwards. Of course, other experts have been quoted as saying that unless you have such a severe back problem that your back is frequently in spasm, then the mattress’ firmness doesn’t make any difference in the health of your back and you should simply choose the bed that you feel most comfortable in. [caption id="attachment_77" align="alignleft" width="300"] To instill confidence, Boyd Night Air offers a full 90 day evaluation period.[/caption] There’s a lot to be said for comfort, especially if it ends up leading to a good night’s sleep. With sleep deprivation becoming a global epidemic, making sure that you have a good bed to sleep in that provides an inviting and comfortable environment is important, but it’s also important to make sure that you’re not getting ripped of, particularly because mattresses can be such a big investment. One industry insider warns that if a mattress store is willing to haggle with you, it’s a sure sign that their mattresses are priced at a big markup to begin with. “If a store is willing to negotiate mattress prices then they are overpriced, so make sure you get them down a considerable amount. Mattress manufacturers contractually set minimum prices that they allow retailers to sell their mattresses at, so they either have to price them at that minimum or overprice them and negotiate. Most of the larger chains just price them at the minimum right away.” The same insider warns consumers not to get intimidated by salespeople talking about coil counts or compression, as there is a good chance that they don’t know much more about mattresses than you can learn for yourself by spending about half an hour of your time educating yourself on the internet. One bit of valuable advice regarding purchasing a mattress is to look for a store that offers a thirty-day trial period. Because it takes approximately four to six weeks for you to tell how well you are going to sleep on a bed and for it to totally settle, consumers should take advantage of the full month and not rush to make a return after a few days of restless sleep. Getting your body used to a new mattress can take some time. And speaking of time, in case you’re wondering about exactly how often you should purchase a new mattress, the rule of thumb seems to be about ten years, though if you have a memory foam mattress you can get a few more years out of it. When you go bed shopping, it is a good idea to know what the prices are going to be. Beds can be expensive, and if you’re looking for a king than you’re certain to spend at least $1,000 and probably twice that much for a quality mattress. Remembering that you spend approximately one third of your life in bed can make that figure seem a lot more palatable and understandable – and so can thinking of all of the uncomfortable nights you’ve spent previously on a bed that wasn’t giving you the support that you needed.