Which mattress should you take to bed?

In the 1960s, 17-year-old Randy Gardner stayed awake for 264 hours, or about 11 days, hoping to win the blue ribbon in a science fair. By the end of his experiment, Gardner was cognitively dysfunctional. He suffered from memory lapses, an increased heart rate, blurred vision and hallucinations, like thinking a street sign was a person or that he was Paul Lowe, halfback for the San Diego Chargers.

While most Americans will never go anywhere near that long without sleep, 2 in 5 don’t get enough, according to the Better Sleep Council’s 2016 consumer report. One in 3 survey respondents said their partners’ sleeping habits negatively affected their own snoozing, and 37 percent blamed stress.

Many factors lead to sleepless nights, and one of the easiest factors to control is your mattress. In a 2012 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, more than 90 percent of people said their mattresses played a significant role in how they slept. Many don’t realize the materials wear thin after 7 to 10 years, necessitating replacement.

But mattress shopping can be about as stressful as working three jobs, training for the Olympics, winning a Michelin Star and remembering Mom’s birthday, and as intimidating as the friend who actually does all that. So, exactly what should you look for in a mattress before deciding to take it to bed?


• Innerspring: The most commonly bought mattress, it’s constructed of metal coils and layers of fabric to provide support. Spring mattresses sleep colder than memory foam, and they tend to run a little cheaper than other options.

• Foam: There are two popular kinds of foam mattress. Memory foam is denser and more supportive, molding to the body quickly and limiting the chances of feeling movement from a partner. Natural latex is made from rubber trees and is biodegradable and naturally hypoallergenic. It also contours to the body, but doesn’t produce the feeling of sinking or retain as much heat as memory foam.

• Hybrid: A hybrid mattress often combines spring coils for support with foam or gel layers. With that combination, consumers get a mid-priced mattress that offers the sturdiness of springs and the support of memory foam.


The Better Sleep Council recommends these steps when shopping for a mattress.

1. Before even looking at options, determine how much you can spend outright or on a payment plan.

2. Measure the bedroom, then research mattress sizes and types to suit your preferences or sleep goals.

3. Showrooms where you can test mattresses are offered at specialty, furniture and department stores.

• Wear comfortable pants. If you have a partner, shop together.

• Once you’re on a mattress, remove your shoes and lie down in your typical sleep position. It can take up to 15 minutes to relax enough to really feel the support of the mattress, so don’t rush it.

• Try several positions to test the levels of comfort and support. Consumer Reports advises lying down on your side, back and stomach.

• Once you have favorites, educate yourself about each. This might involve asking to see illustrated or physical cutaways of the materials.

• Don’t just compare the mattresses; compare the stores selling them, as they might offer different deals on delivery and financing.

• If you’re having trouble justifying the cost of the one that feels best, calculate the value in terms of cost per day. You’ll be on it for 6 to 8 hours a day for about seven years.

• Check return policies, as many stores offer a comfort guarantee that allows buyers to return mattresses. Consumer Reports suggests haggling with the salesperson before you buy, as many stores mark up the cost up to 50 percent.


• Some mattresses need to be rotated to ensure even wear (check the label).

• Use a mattress protector. Even then, it’s best to clean your mattress twice a year to help prevent bedbugs and the accumulation of dirt or sloughed skin cells.


• Swap: Many stores will remove your old mattress and swap in the new one as part of their delivery services.

• Recycle: A few companies in Southern Nevada — Mattress Paloma, Mattress Disposal and Las Vegas Junk and Trash Removal — offer recycling services for a small fee.

• Trash: Republic Services will pick up your mattress with an appointment or on bulk pickup days. The mattress must be wrapped in plastic for safe handling and disposal.

Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017 | 2 a.m.