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Is it Time for a New Mattress?
Do you wake up feeling tired, stiff and sore? Is your mattress lumpy, bumpy, mushy or hard? Do you sleep better at hotels than at home? Is your mattress 7 – 10 or more years old? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it might be time to replace your mattress. Considering that we spend about one third of our lives in bed and that sleep is essential to good health, it makes sense to invest in a mattress that improves sleep and supports overall health and wellness. There are three main factors to consider when purchasing a new mattress: support, comfort, and durability.

Do Your Homework and Decide Where to Shop
When it comes to buying a new mattress, the options are endless. There are many reputable, good quality brands to consider. The internet makes it easy and convenient to do some research before you start shopping. Consumer Reports suggests that mattress specialty stores offer lots of variety and are often less crowded than department stores. The salespeople are often more attentive and can be more willing to bargain. Specialty mattresses usually have a set price, but you can save at least 50 percent off list price for a traditional innerspring mattress if you shop the sales. Mattress and furniture stores frequently offer “blowout “sales. If the price is good, buy; if not, wait for a sale.

Choose a Medium Firm Mattress to Reduce Back Pain
Contrary to popular belief and traditional recommendations, research suggests that a firm mattress may not be best for back pain. A mattress that is too firm will not support your body evenly and may cause discomfort at your heaviest points, the hips and shoulders. A mattress that is too soft will make it difficult to move and may result in tingling, numbness and aches. A 2003 study published in the British medical journal “Lancet” tested the effect that a mattress can have on back pain. The study found that participants who slept on a medium firm mattress were twice as likely to report an improvement in low-back pain as those who slept on firm mattresses. The study concluded that medium firm mattresses distribute pressure from the body better which results in less pain when lying down or after getting up.

Choose a Comfortable Mattress
Comfort is very personal and it will take some trial and error to find the right mattress for you. Don’t be embarrassed to lie down on many different mattresses in store; salespeople expect it. When shopping for your new mattress, be sure to wear comfortable, loose clothing and slip on shoes. Be prepared to do a 15 minute “test drive “of each mattress, spending about 5 minutes lying on each side as well as on your back. Start out with the least expensive bed from a few top brands and work your way up. Keep in mind that a proper mattress will support your body evenly, and should adjust to the contours of your body. Many retailers offer a comfort guarantee; be sure to ask about trial periods, return policies and warranties before purchasing your mattress.