Don't be shy about hitting the snooze button. In honor of National Sleep Awareness Week, seven days dedicated to dozing off, people across the country are discussing different ways to increase their amount of Zs. Whether it's finding the right mattress, rearranging our bedrooms, or changing our diet, there are a slew of factors that affect the quantity and quality of sleep we get each night. But the biggest difference between a restful and restless night’s sleep may be the very bed on which we sleep.
Your mattress plays a crucial part when it comes to you getting a good night's sleep. In fact, a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that 92 percent of people think a mattress is important to their sleep experience. And if those numbers aren't enough to convince you, then consider this: a poor mattress not only leads to less sleep (which, in turn, leads to its own set of health problems), but it can also cause joint and muscle pain.
"You spend a third of your life sleeping, and your mattress has the potential to either encourage a great sleep or totally rob you of it," Philip Krim and Jeff Chapin, founders of the mattress company Casper, tell Bustle. "Yet mattress shopping and options can be a headache and is often a complete afterthought."
So how does one begin the quest to find a better mattress? Before heading to the store, take some time to read over these expert tips. Not only will they help you purchase the perfect mattress, but they might also help you drift off to a better night's sleep.
1. Find a style that suits your needs
With so many mattress styles to choose from, it's easy to rely on a friend's recommendation. But what's comfortable for her may be a pain in the butt (or, more appropriately, back) for you. Before settling down on a particular variety, research which material is best for your needs. Memory foam, for example, is great for someone with serious muscle pain, but an awful choice if the sleeper needs additional support.
2. Test "SLEEP" your mattress
Once you've entered the showroom, don't hesitate to make yourself at home. To know how a mattress will really feel, the Better Sleep Council recommends that customers implement the SLEEP test: Select a mattress. Lie down in your typical sleep position. Evaluate the level of comfort and support. Educate yourself about each selection. Partners should test together. If you don't feel comfortable snoozing in the store, see if you can take the mattress for a test run. Some companies like Casper allow customers to take the mattress home and test it for up to three months, with the opportunity for a full refund.
3. Be ready to splurge a little
In 2013, the average mattress set cost just under $300. Although you may be tempted to buy a used or discounted mattress and save a few bucks, you'll be screwing yourself out of a good night's sleep. That being said, try holding off till May if you're strapped for cash, as that's when mattresses typically go on sale.
4. Don't give into gimmicks
Gel cooling technology. Dual-layer lumbar. Pillow fluffing capabilities. Though these mattress descriptions sound amazing, they mean absolutely nothing and can cost you a cool extra hundred. Resist the salesperson's up-selling technique, and settle on something simple.
5. Toss it when the time comes
Yes, even mattresses have an expiration date. Research has found that replacing your mattress in a timely manner can drastically improve sleep quality. Although studies have found that mattresses can last up to 10 years, the Better Sleep Council suggests replacing them every seven years at the most.