The Best Mattress for a Good Night's Sleep (cont.)

Test drive a mattress before you buy

"You wouldn't buy a car without test driving it," Decker says. So why would you invest hundreds -- or even thousands of dollars in a mattress without trying it out first? Take any new mattress you're considering for a test nap. "People should not be embarrassed to go into a store and lay on a mattress for 20 minutes," Decker says.

For a more realistic test, sleep in the beds at different hotel chains when you travel. If you get an especially good night's sleep on one of them, ask the desk clerk what brand it is.

When you test out a mattress, make sure it feels comfortable in every position, especially the side you favor for sleeping. The mattress should be supportive where you need it, without putting too much pressure on your body, Levy says.

Time for a new mattress

If you've been having trouble sleeping, the problem might not be your mattress type, but its age. "It's really important for people to realize that mattresses have a certain lifespan," Decker says.

Keep your mattress too long, and the foam and other materials inside it will start to break down, compromising its ability to support your body.

Decker recommends keeping your mattress for no more than 10 years. After that, it's time to go mattress shopping again.

SOURCES:

Michael Decker, PhD, RN, associate professor, Georgia State University; spokesman, American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Howard Levy, MD, assistant professor of orthopaedics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, Emory University.

Berghold, K. Spine, April 2008.

Paul V. Williams, MD, FAAAAI, clinical professor of pediatrics,University of Washington School of Medicine; allergist, Northwest Allergy and Asthma Center.

Kovacs, F. Lancet, November 2003.

Halken, S. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, January 2003.

Reviewed on March 02, 2012

© 2012 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.


Last Editorial Review: 3/2/2012



STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!