Bye-bye, back pain: 5 tips for buying a new mattress


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If sleeping in a hotel, on your friend’s couch or curled up in your favorite chair feels more comfortable than your mattress, it may be time to make a change. Same goes if you’ve had your mattress for more than five years, it’s started to look lumpy or saggy, or if you wake up with aches and pains.

Not surprisingly, the quality of your mattress makes a big impact on back health and sleep quality. In fact, 62% of surveyed sleepers reported higher-quality snooze time after switching to a new mattress, according to a study from Oklahoma State University.

Ready to make a change? Know what to look for before you head to Sleepy’s, or wherever your path to better rest leads you:


1. Let comfort lead the way.

In the past, experts have claimed that firm mattresses are better for lower back pain, but really, there’s no one-size-fits-all rule. Just test out mattresses at the store to find out what works best for you.


2. More expensive doesn’t mean better.

In a Consumer Reports survey, customers who sprung for a specialty mattress like Tempur-Pedic did not necessarily report better sleep. Basic innerspring mattresses tend to work great for most people. At the same time, don’t just choose the cheapest for price’s sake.


3. Size matters.

If you’re 6 feet tall and sleep with a partner, better go with the king size. This is not the time to skimp, as cramped quarters can lead to highly uncomfortable nights. Standard measurements are: king, 76 inches by 80-inches; California king, 72 inches by 84 inches; queen, 60 inches by 80 inches; full, or double, 53 inches by 75 inches; and twin, 38 inches by 75 inches.


4. Keep your box spring.

They tend to last longer than mattresses themselves; so unless yours has warps or cracks, hang on to it to save a few hundred dollars.


5. Do your best bargaining.

Buy your mattress at a mattress store rather than a department store or online. You’ll be able to get help from salespeople and potentially talk down a price, especially if you saw a better deal on a website.