By Jacob Passy
Memorial Day weekend may not be a good time to buy a TV or a new swimsuit, but it is historically one of the best times of the year to purchase a new mattress.
Almost every mattress retailer is running promotions this weekend from veteran companies such as Serta , Mattress Firm /zigman2/quotes/208065315/delayed DE:SNH +0.71% and Tempur-Pedic /zigman2/quotes/207239091/composite TPX -0.14% to start-up firms such as Casper and Tuft & Needle. Even Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.14% has mattresses for sale.
Buying a mattress isn’t a cheap proposition. They can run anywhere from $500 to $4,000 — and the price isn’t necessarily an indication of how well someone will sleep on a mattress.
“You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a mattress,” said Haniya Rae, a writer at Consumer Reports who researches mattresses. “You can get a crappy mattress for thousands of dollars and a great one for less than $1,000.”
Here’s what to consider when purchasing a mattress according to sleep experts:
• The material doesn’t matter. Despite all the hype surrounding memory foam and latex mattresses as compared with traditional mattresses that feature inner springs, the components of the mattress don’t make a huge difference in terms of quality of sleep.
“Despite manufacturer’s claims, studies have shown no substantial differences in sleep — total sleep time or sleep stages — between various mattress types,” said Dr. Gary Zammit, executive director of the Sleep Disorders Institute in New York City. The only exception is that memory foam mattress tend to run hotter than traditional mattresses.
• Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. While it may be tempting to forego the extra cost of a box spring, consumers should buy them when recommended. “Depending on how the mattress is designed, the box spring could be night or day in terms of support,” Rae said.
• You may not need an adjustable mattress. Advertisements portray adjustable mattresses as a God-send for couples who can’t agree on the firmness of a mattress. But that’s likely just hype — Rae recommended testing them in person to see how much the mattresses actually adjust. In most cases, it’s not a whole lot.
• Firmness may be overrated. Some studies have shown that firmer mattress are better for people who experience back pain. Ultimately, everything comes down to what’s comfortable for you, said Neil Kline, a sleep physician and representative for the American Sleep Association.
• Don’t feel rushed when shopping. Experts recommend testing a mattress in person. When doing so, take your time and to recreate how you sleep as much as possible. That means, yes, kicking off your shoes and laying on the mattress in different positions for at least 10 minutes or more. Zammit even recommends wearing ear plugs to drown out the noise of other shoppers and sales associates so you can better focus on the mattress’ feel.