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Bedding experts recommend getting a new mattress every five to ten years in ensure a properly supporting mattress and a good night’s sleep. Buying a mattress it can be bewildering because of all the sizes and features you can choose from and the use of different names for the same mattress from the same manufacturer.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Select a mattress (twin, double or full, queen, or king) that is long enough, gives you room to stretch out, and allows you to move around during sleeping. You may be accustomed to a double bed, but a larger bed could give you both a more comfortable night’s rest plus room for any pets or young children that like to climb into bed with you on weekend mornings.
  • Mattresses come in various firmness (firm, regular, and plush), but these are arbitrary and not necessary comparable across brands. Newer mattresses are generally made thicker for more comfort and may include an extra few inches of a "pillow top." Remember that if you are changing mattress sizes, you will need new sheets ("deep pocket" fitted sheets are designed for thicker mattresses).
  • More expensive mattresses use variable air pressure (adjusts the firmness), "memory foam" (contours the surface to your body), and/or individual spring coils (isolates motion to reduce the chance of being awaken by your sleeping partner's stirring) to provide a luxury sleeping experience. Adjustable beds allow you to transform a flat bed into a shape more like a recliner.
  • Mattresses made from all natural materials are available but generally at a higher cost. Some beds also have stain resistance and higher fire resistance features you might like. For those with allergies, consider allergen free mattresses or a bed with a removable, washable mattress top.
  • Mattresses are often sold as sets with box spring units ("foundations"). Box spring units are not necessary if you have a platform bed. You can also buy a specially designed hollow "box" if you want to get the total height of a bed with box springs but want a firmer rest than box springs provide or want to have more storage space beneath.
  • Compare the warranty and return policy to make sure you do not end up stuck with a mattress you are unhappy with it.

Check around several places to get the best price. Mattresses are often on sale or have other special incentives (free delivery, take-away of the old mattress, etc.) that reduce the price. Also, don't be afraid to bargain, as most stores have built that expectation into their prices.

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