Choosing the Best Mattress For Your Money

Besides home improvement, no task is as taxing on a couple than choosing a mattress you both like. Even if you’re the one deciding for yourself, it’s stressful.

That one is too soft, and this one is too hard, oh that one is too weird, no, no, too expensive. You end up feeling like Goldilocks (a cheap, grumpy, sleepy Goldilocks) after testing just a few mattresses.

According to The Better Sleep Council, mattresses should be replaced every 5 to 7 years (sooner if they’re the average memory foam or gel). But we keep hanging on to that myth that our mattresses should last at least ten years. They do not, and we need to take note of what happens when we continue to sleep on old, inefficient mattresses.

Sleeping Poorly Is Stressful

It isn’t just our aching backs that tell us it’s time to get a new mattress. The National Institutes of Health conducted a survey that showed us just how a comfortable mattress could affect our daily life.

The study measured how respondents felt after sleeping in their bed (that averaged nearly ten years old) for a month, then how they felt after a month in a new bed. Overwhelmingly, after sleeping in a new bed, the respondents felt less stress and physically healthier. They focused better throughout the day and were mentally in a better frame of mind.

Americans do not sleep enough, or well enough. A Gallup poll revealed that only 40% of us get enough sleep. While we should be racking up 7 to 9 hours of sleep (more if you’re a teenager or under 5), on average, we don’t get more than 5.

In the ultimate Catch 22, that NIH study shows that a crummy bed leads to more stress. More stress leads to worse sleep.

The obvious answer, get a new bed, seems deceptively simple. We’re not trying to be facetious, though. It really might be that simple!

Do I Need a New Bed?

Yes, you do. If your bed is older than 5 to 7 years old, or if your family has outgrown the family bed, or if you regularly wake up stiff or sore or exhausted, you do need a new bed.

You’re going to spend a third of your life on this thing for many years. Please do not just choose the cheapest or the biggest name brand. The Better Sleep Council, describing the ideal bedroom, reminds you that quality counts. Choose a mattress that keeps your spine comfortably aligned and is the right size for your family.

And while your budget is a concern, looking at the purchase of a new mattress as an investment is a very commonsense perspective. In a recent national study, 86% of respondents said their last mattress purchase was well worth the money. We don’t realize our sleep is suffering from a mattress that has lost its supportive features. But when we do replace that old saggy mattress, we notice that we sleep (and perform) better overall.

In that same study, respondents had a hard time linking overall health issues with the condition of their mattress. Most people don’t think about replacing their mattress until they start waking up stiff or sore. In actuality, we should be replacing them long before they begin noticeably causing us issues. Keep on top of replacement, and you’ll maintain good sleeping patterns, and stay healthier overall.

While we don’t like the idea of spending $600-4,000, it is money invested in making you as productive and healthy as possible.

Some Things to Consider

There are a plethora of choices, we know. But we’ve combed through a lot of brands and types for you. You can choose from traditional coil mattresses, memory foam, and hybrids of coils and foam. Some mattresses need specialized bases, and others will fit on any support (or none at all).

Deciding whether to buy online or from a traditional brick and mortar store is another thing to consider. Now, some people will refuse to buy online, just because it’s a significant purchase. But if you want to save a little money, notes that buying online saves most people right around 15%. Even if you have always purchased your mattresses in a store, you’re typically not going to know if you love your choice until you’ve slept on it for a few weeks.

If you’re going into a store, try all the different types of beds they carry and ask about their return policy. Don’t be embarrassed to lay down in several positions to test how the mattress feels. You need to, to make an informed decision.

If you’re buying online, again, you’ll need to do your research. Make sure the company has at least a month trial period, so if you decide you don’t love it, you can return it (preferably for free) for a refund. Most online mattress companies offer easy return policies. If the one you’re interested in does not, keep looking.

You also need to consider your sleeping position. Side and back sleepers have more choices available, like memory foam, traditional mattresses, and hybrids all support well. Stomach sleepers may want to choose a firmer, more supportive mattress.

While all this seems like a lot of information to digest, the simplicity of the matter is this: you need to find a mattress that fits your sleep style and your budget. That’s all.

And here are our top picks.

Best Overall – DreamCloud

Priced right, free shipping (and free returns if you decide against it), a 365-night trial, and layers and layers of high tech, the DreamCloud is our top pick for these and many more reasons.

This mattress has been built with nine layers of luxury. Let’s start at the bottom with the high-density memory foam base that helps reduce motion. This sturdy system adjusts to movement. If you sleep with a spouse, child, or pet, you know their movements are disruptive. Disrupted sleep is unhealthy sleep  (that’s what the National Institute of Neurological Disorders says).

Some people, even when sleeping alone, are naturally restless sleepers. That moving around all night, with your mattress squeaking and shaking? That’s no good. So movement inhibition is a feature you need to look for whether you sleep alone or with the whole family.

DreamCloud topped the high-density foam with five zones of their patented “BestRest” coils. These coils, encased in foam, support softly and have no chance of escaping like the old spring mattresses used to do. They’re fully contained and add support and loft.

The DreamCloud then tops those fancy coils with three layers of memory foam and a cushioning layer of latex, all of which contour to your body. Then a layer of gel-infused memory foam is added, which is cooling and supportive. The National Sleep Foundation suggests a 62- to 67-degree sleeping environment, which makes this layer important.

Distributing heat is a scientific process, and mattress manufacturers are onto making that happen now. Research and technology have finally caught up, and DreamCloud has created a system that makes cool sleep as important as softness (which it is).

The DreamCloud earned the Certi-Pur designation, meaning it is guaranteed not to contain any heavy metals, formaldehyde, ozone depleters, or PBDE flame retardants. It is topped with super soft hand-tufted cashmere blend cover and breathes beautifully. Those that reviewed this bed invariably noted that the cashmere cover added a level of luxury they weren’t expecting, and they loved it.

DreamCloud also offers optional white glove service. If available in your region, they will deliver your new mattress straight to your house, set it up in your bedroom, and remove your old set. Not bad.

Runner Up – Tuft & Needle

For such a good product at such a reasonable price, it’s not surprising that the Tuft & Needle mattress is an effortless runner-up. It’s simply and sturdily made, with proprietary Tuft & Needle Adaptive foam that supports you through the night (no sinking in throughout the night).

They built the base foam with heat wicking graphite and cooling gel, which helps keep the entire mattress cool, not just the cover. As an added layer of coolness, the company adds a plush, breathable protecting cover to distribute body heat.

Tuft & Needle is proud of their “soft without the sink” tagline they created. They’ve nailed the supportive layers and the cool, soft feel to the mattress. The internet cannot stop talking about their customer care, also (a huge benefit when buying a mattress online).

Don’t like it after your 100-night trial? Call them, and they’ll arrange for it to be locally donated or destroyed, and refund your money. It’s that simple.

Honorable Mention – Saatva

They may have a funny name, but they also have created an incredibly well-thought-out mattress company. Saatva offers three comfort levels: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm, all for the same price depending on size. This is more of a traditional mattress, with redesigned coils, but that’s where the traditional part of Saatva ends.

The coil system used is called coil on coil construction, and each coil is individually wrapped. They triple-temper and bake the coils for durability and maximum elimination of motion transfer. Again, you don’t want to feel the movement of your sleeping partner, that disrupts sleep. And that’s bad. Saatva addressed that.

Between those high tech coils, Saatva placed a luxury memory foam layer, designed to support the lumbar region. Also added, is a unique anti-sag edge support design. Encased in foam, the upper layer of coils are supported, so the edges stay firm and in place. That adds more sleep surface as well as better durability.

The company offers, included in the price, free white glove delivery and removal of your old mattress set. They set it up, you try it for 120 days, and if you don’t like it, return it.

Honorable Mention – Nectar

Nectar, one of the most recognizable names in the online mattress industry, is a popular and budget-friendly company that has been around for a while. But the online reviews show that people like the Nectar mattress for more than its price.

The Nectar mattress starts with a breathable base layer, adds an adaptive hi-core memory foam layer, then tops those with gel foam. That gel foam distributes your weight evenly and cools you throughout the night.

A final layer of quilted gel memory foam adds airiness, and cool air circulation is added. The entire soft and cool mattress is encased in a washable (washable!) Tencel cooling cover, which helps circulate air even further and wick away heat.

You’ll get a 365-night trial and a lifetime warranty. Plus, if you’d rather not take advantage of free shipping, Nectar offers white glove service. They’ll arrange for delivery and setup, plus removal of your old mattress for 149-169 dollars (depending on your state).

Honorable Mention – Solay

While listed last in our honorable mentions, no means are we hinting that you should overlook this gem.

Solay starts with a firm, breathable foam base. On top of the sturdy base, they add a layer of pocketed spring coils. These aren’t your grandma’s coils, these are individually wrapped, so they’ll never be where they’re not supposed to be, yet they do their job as coils are supposed to.

Then comes the 1-inch memory foam layer. Memory foam is cooling and adds extra loft and support to the entire mattress. A motion-reducing foam layer is paired with a 1-inch cooling gel foam layer. Then the whole mattress is ensconced in at Tencel cover (made to efficiently regulate your body temperature). The Tencel cover is patented and used specifically to feel soft and luxe, as well as cool your body while you sleep.

Solay will ship to you free and has a 101-night trial. While you can use most any frame, they do offer bases and accessories, so check that out. Solay is made in the USA and donates a percentage of their profits to charity partners. So, you’ll do good by you, and by others.

The Last Word

Okay, so your head is swimming right now. Coils, no coils, memory foam, lots of layers. It sounds like a lot of info to digest, but I promise, we chose (out of the hundreds on the market) several specific mattresses that you really can’t go wrong with.

The DreamCloud topped our list due to its versatility and ability to keep you supported and cooled while you sleep. The price is better than most “big name” mattresses that you can buy in stores or online, plus they do offer coupons and discounts occasionally.

Also, look for sales throughout the year, usually near President’s Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, and Memorial Day). Traditionally, mattresses go on sale near these holidays. Without a brick and mortar store, DreamCloud offers a decent price anyway, and may just run promotions around when people usually are already looking for mattresses.

We also like that you may have to pay delivery for a lot of mattresses (especially from brick and mortar stores), but DreamCloud comes directly to your door for free. That optional White Glove service is an added value.

And instead of a 30- or 100-day warranty, DreamCloud gives you a full year to try your mattress, then warranties it for the life of your mattress. That feature won us over.

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should replace your mattress, there are a couple of things to consider. Recently, Healthline reported on how often to replace your mattresses and why. Besides just feeling sleepy throughout the day, or not feeling comfortable, sleep deprivation is no joke. It is linked to heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.

As all those conditions are on the rise in America (and in many countries), it seems negligent to not address the easiest way to stop these diseases: sleep. And for goodness’ sakes, if sleep is the simple answer, and a new mattress helps us sleep better, just get the mattress. It’s a tool. Use it.

One more thing: if you suffer from allergies, having an old mattress (and pillow) is not good. Dust mites live in most all beds, and (sorry to tell you this) there is no telling how many pounds of dead skin cells live in your bed. Gross, but undoubtedly true. And those with allergies never consider that their bed could be the culprit, but it is very likely to cause a flare-up.

See? Sleeping like a baby isn’t as difficult as you thought.

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