Bedding Guide

Why A Quality Mattress Set Is So Important

Getting enough sleep is as important to your overall health as proper nutrition and exercise. Receiving adequate rest boosts your immune system, promotes healing, positively influences your overall mental well-being, helps you to learn and reduces stress.

While getting enough rest and sleep is essential, it's also important to obtain the right type of sleep. The National Institute of Health lists five general stages of sleep, with the final stage, REM sleep, being the most important and restorative. Frequently waking up causes you to return to the first stage of the sleep cycle, minimizing your time spent in REM sleep. Inadequate rest can cause you to accumulate a sleep deficit, something that affects 50 to70 million Americans.

Your mattress is the most important piece of furniture in your home and the one item that has a direct impact upon your restoration. You spend about one-third of your life in bed, so it is essential that you select a mattress that's both comfortable and supportive. To help guide you through this mattress selection process, Mattress Mart provides objective research combined with our unparalleled education and expertise.

Always Begin With Mattress Support

You always want a mattress with a strong support unit, whether you're seeking a hard or soft sleep surface. Research shows that only a mattress with properly designed and configured support will keep your body in correct alignment, prevent bottoming out and provide for a long sleep set life.

Most mattresses use some sort of metal innerspring unit to provide support. If possible, ask to see an example of the mattress core support unit, evaluating the innerspring design, gauge of steel, joining method, coil density and amount of tempering. Simply counting the number of springs no longer an accurate method of comparing one spring unit to another.

Bed CoilsOne of the more traditional innerspring, called the bonnell unit, uses an hourglass shaped, knotted spring. This design can offer strong support but it doesn't conform as well as many current offerings. Modern mattresses containing bonnell springs are generally used for children, guest bedrooms, or shorter-term adult use. However, there are other knotted offerings that are often used in the world's most ultra-premium mattresses, using thicker steel and a special hinged-offset cylindrical shape that is incredibly supportive and durable.

Innersprings comprised of individually fabric wrapped springs (marshall springs) are touted for their body conformation and motion transfer characteristics. The best marshall springs are aggressively pre-compressed to provide better support and arranged in a honeycomb manner. Most marshall springs are single tempered; only a select few companies double temper their steel when the spring is in its final shape, which is desirable.
Another type of innerspring unit uses open-ended sensory arm springs (LFK springs). These sensory arm springs are often designed to provide progressive resistance. The spring shape is usually cylindrical instead of hourglass. LFK springs will deflect and contour more than bonnell springs, and can be alternated in orientation to minimize motion transfer.

Continuous coil units are also another popular innerspring design. A continuous wire forms springs that lock into a grid network, providing progressive resistance as the unit is compressed. Better units are twice-tempered, zoned for extra support and use thicker steel. A continuous coil unit provides a flatter and firmer top surface and for that reason is preferred by many of today's one-sided mattress manufacturers.

Bed SpringsMost premium innerspring mattresses are constructed with a perimeter edge reinforcement system. Adding edge reinforcement provides a firmer seating surface and creates a larger usable sleep surface by minimizing product roll-off. Methods of edge reinforcement include steel spring clips, extruded polyethylene foam pieces and polyurethane foam encasements. Foam encasements should use the same firm high-density foam along the bottom and the sides, and should be glued into a solid unit.

Latex and memory foam mattresses, part of the fastest growing segment in the mattress industry, usually don't contain steel innersprings. Instead, they use support cores made of polyurethane or latex foam. There's a huge variation in the quality and firmness of foam support cores, and Mattress Mart has extensive knowledge of the production, assembly, durability and appropriate application of these specialty foams. Premium latex is generally considered to be the most durable foam available.

Your Comfort Is Key

Comfort comes from the padding materials, commonly referred to as the upholstery and/or quilt, placed upon the support unit. Research shows that a good mattress should contain enough padding to conform to and eliminate the gaps between the bed and your body, reducing pressure points and promoting better capillary blood flow.

Comfort LayersTypical comfort layers are insulator pads, cotton, polyurethane foam, fiber pads, memory foam and latex foam. There's a wide selection of these comfort layers available and they vary immensely in quality. It's easy to make a mattress feel great in a showroom, but how long will it really keep that level of comfort? This is determined mostly by the design, density and softness of the foams being used.

Foam density refers to the mass of a one cubic foot piece of that foam. Higher density and high resiliency foams generally are more robust and have more material available to provide cushioning. Foam softness is measured by Indentation Force Deflection (IFD), and a higher IFD number represents a harder piece of foam. Comfort descriptions such as extra firm or ultra-plush describe how hard or soft a mattress is supposed to feel, not its level of support. Comfort descriptions are not standardized, so be sure to lie down and form your own opinion of the actual level of softness each mattress provides.

It's important that the comfort layers within a mattress be affixed securely, whether that mattress is a tight top, eurotop or pillowtop. Unfortunately, many manufacturers attach their foam layers loosely or use cheap thick foams to create the illusion of luxury, eschewing the inner flanging, hog-ringing and gluing that are all necessary to make a quality product. If inner foam layers aren't secured to prevent shifting, excessive body impressions will result and mattress comfort life will be dramatically reduced. Making a durable mattress requires attention to detail, so be sure to inquire about the assembly process of any mattress you're evaluating.

Box Springs Are Now Foundations

Box SpringsThe bottom piece of a sleep set is commonly called a box spring, but in modern beds it's more appropriately termed a foundation. A mattress set needs a strong foundation, so don't overlook this part of the equation. Having a proper foundation is also necessary for many mattresses to meet the federal flame resistance guideline 16 CFR Part 1633 enacted in the mid 2000's.

To minimize the possibility of a mattress sagging, today's one-sided mattresses work best with rigid semi-flex or heavy duty wood platform foundations. Don't use a torsion modular or coil box spring design with your new mattress, as it will cause the mattress to bow in the middle and void your warranty. Also, be certain your foundation is supported by a bed frame with a proper center support for any full, queen or king size bed set.

Bedding Warranties Don't Indicate Quality Or Comfort

In recent years many mattress brands have grossly inflated their warranties, doing so as a marketing ploy because they know consumers erroneously equate longer warranties with higher quality. Mattress comfort and longevity is determined solely by the quality of components and how well the mattress is assembled. A mattress warranty only covers defects in workmanship; it doesn't represent comfort, quality or how long a mattress will last.

Comfort life, an estimate of how long a mattress, with proper care, will maintain a consistent feel, is the appropriate term to use when evaluating mattress set durability. Expect a ten-year full warranty on premium sleep sets, with a comfort life rating of 8 to 10 years. Research from Oklahoma State University suggests evaluating a mattress set for replacement after five years of use, with statistical improvements in sleep resulting when people replace their mattress set after seven years of use.

The mattress manufacturer, not the retailer, is responsible for providing sleep set warranties. These warranties only apply to matching sleep sets that are acquired new from an authorized retailer - avoid resellers, freight company wholesalers, closeout centers, traveling fundraising promotions or products being sold out of a remote location. The purchase of a product that's vital to your overall well-being should only be done through educated professionals authorized by the companies they represent.

Putting It All Together

All TogetherSelecting a mattress is a subjective process and the guidance of your individual opinion, sleeping patterns and pre-existing health issues are the most useful tools we have in finding the product that best suits your needs. Marketing devices such as online surveys and pressure mapping pads can in no way serve as a substitute for visiting a well-appointed sleep shop, physically trying out a mattress and reviewing your impressions with an experienced, skilled and knowledgeable comfort consultant.

When shopping for a new sleep set be sure to wear comfortable clothes and test the beds in your normal sleeping position. Bring your partner along and consider at least a queen size for optimal comfort. Don't obsess about trying to find the perfect mattress; instead, systematically narrow your focus toward a specific range of comfort. Side sleepers usually prefer a softer product and stomach sleepers generally lean toward a harder mattress. Be sure to trust your initial impression - research shows it to be very accurate.

Once you've determined your plushness preference, ask to see other mattresses that are similar, evaluating the costs, benefits and features of these beds. Compare only two beds at a time, always eliminating the one you least prefer. And once you've determined your favorite mattress, ask to sample different pillows that are appropriate for your sleeping position and the mattress you've selected. Buying a new mattress and not matching it with a proper pillow is like buying a new car with worn tires. Don't forget the bed for your head.

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True...

Mattress Mart supports honest, ethical and accurate mattress pricing. The best way for you to make sure you're getting a fair deal is to become an educated consumer, something we promote through rigorous consumer education. To assist you in avoiding the more common deceptive mattress pricing strategies, we've listed a few of them below and described how they work.

50-75% Off Claims: Factually, these 50-75% reductions are false. A store will usually take their normal selling price and double it, claiming that this inflated number is the regular price while always promoting and selling the mattress set at the 50% off price.

Large Discount Coupons: Another deceptive pricing strategy is when stores offer large discount coupons. For example, a bed that should sell for $499 might have an inflated price of $899 with a discount coupon of $300. You think you're getting a great deal, but you're still paying $599 for a bed that should be $499. Always focus on the out-the-door price; how you get there is inconsequential.

Free Electronics: This is a newer gimmick, where the price of a television or appliance is added to the cost of the mattress and represented as being free. A mattress set that previously cost $1099 might now be $1599 with a "free" television. As one marketing specialist stated, "It's amazing how much people will pay to get something for free." Everything has a cost and retailers don't stay in business by giving things away for free.

Clearance/Wholesale Centers: Beds represented to be scratch and dent, overstocks, secondary or gently repurposed mattresses are in fact used comfort exchanged or warranty returned beds, and these are products you should never, ever bring into your home. Only purchase a mattress from an authorized retailer and always make sure that it's new with a complete manufacturer's warranty.

Comparison Shopping

At Mattress Mart we'll help you objectively compare to any make, brand or model through evaluation of actual mattress specifications. We'll find you the same or equivalent item at our store for a much lower price, or a superior item at the same price. We're familiar with all of the major mattress lines and we're constantly adding to our 25+ years of experience by keeping abreast of the latest in mattress research and technology. We genuinely appreciate your trust as we help you select the most important piece of furniture for your home – your mattress.

About Mattress Mart

Mattress Mart"The reputation of a business is just as important as the products offered, as it validates the information and advice you receive." -Trent Scheuer, Owner, Mattress Mart

Mattress Mart is a local, family-owned business serving southeast Michigan since 1992, and is one of the Midwest's premier sleep shops. Mattress Mart was founded by my father, Tony Scheuer, on three basic principles: (1) Guarantee the lowest prices, (2) Offer one of the largest selections available, and (3) Provide superior knowledge and extraordinary customer service – three things he found lacking in the bedding industry. At Mattress Mart, we offer products from well-established brand names that provide nationwide sales and service. We buy factory-direct, are never undersold, provide unparalleled customer service, maintain the area's largest in-store selection, and certify all our comfort consultants. We deliver on all of my father's founding principles – and then some.