the need-to-know facts about mattress shopping online

Sleep expert Dr. W. Christopher Winter, MD told me that stress often increases the time it takes to fall, the number of times one wakes up during the night, and can even make it feel like you’re not sleeping at all. Having an old, sagging mattress doesn’t help matters. Most people don’t realize that a mattress should be replaced every decade or so. It’s one of those things where you don’t realize how much you were needlessly suffering until you get a new one (I feel the same way about my Sonicare toothbrush heads…). But how to do that when you’re stuck at home? There are so many new brands making it easier than ever to not only afford a new mattress (with various financing options), but to try them out with free trials that can be as long as 4 months! A bunch of them also offer free delivery (which given that I just spend $30 to mail – literally a few pieces of paper – to a family member abroad, is pretty impressive).

My parents swear by their Casper, which I bought for them online a year or so ago – if I can pick a mattress for my finicky parents, there’s hope for us all! I’ve been sleeping on a mattress from Helix (the Midnight Luxe) and snoozing is literally the only time I don’t feel my skin breaking out from stress hives. Since sleeping on the mattress I also don’t wake up with back aches (I thought they were stress induced, but apparently it’s also mattress induced as this shifted overnight when I switched to Helix). I realize that, despite trial periods, it can still be overwhelming to make such a big purchases online so, since it doesn’t look like this awful pandemic will be ending anytime soon, I asked Helix co-founder, Adam Tishman, a few questions to get better insight on how to make the best decision when shopping online for a mattress.

Note: make sure whatever you order online has a good return policy! You should be able to try out the mattress for at least a month, though in my experience if the mattress is a good fit you’ll know very quickly. It’s a big expense so it’s worth highlighting that many brands offer payment plans. Also, while choosing firmness level is usually a matter of preference, from interviewing a variety of experts I’ve learned that, as a rule of thumb, if you usually sleep on your side go for soft to medium to cushion shoulders, hips and knees. If you’re a stomach sleeper go for something firmer to ensure  proper spinal alignment. If you sleep on your back, things are more flexible.

What are some signs that it’s time to buy a new mattress?
Your Old Mattress Is Sagging or Falling Apart “Experts recommend replacing your mattress within ten years of buying it, and that’s at the absolute latest. As you sleep on your mattress night after night, the materials can wear down and need to be replaced. Once the mattress starts to sag, you can kiss it goodnight for good and get a new bed.”
You’re Going Through A Move “It’s never fun transporting your mattress from one place to another. To skip out on the stress and cost, many movers opt to sell their used mattresses and go mattress shopping for new ones for when they arrive in their new abode.”
You’re Experiencing Back Pain “Back pain when sleeping is a serious no-no. If you’re waking up with achy muscles or kinks along your spine, consider upgrading your mattress to something that suits your body type a bit better.”
How can people go about shopping online for a mattress if they’ve never tried the mattress in person? Any tips for finding best fit? 
“A lot of online mattress companies will have a trial period to make sure the mattress you purchased is the right fit for you. At Helix we offer a 100 night trial with free returns if the mattress doesn’t match your sleep preferences. In order to help you find the best mattress fit, we developed our Sleep Quiz which only takes 2-3 minutes to complete and matches customers to the Helix mattress which is best suited to them. “
Things to avoid when it comes to mattress shopping online?
“When buying your mattress online make sure the brand has a risk-free return policy. While some brands offer trial periods, you may be stuck facing a hefty return fee. You should also be wary of “one-size-fits-all” mattresses. Everyone sleeps differently and has different needs that can’t be met with a single solution. “

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