Is It Time For A New Mattress?


The average person will spend a third of his or her life in bed.

Sleep is a basic need; it directly affects health and well-being. Many people don’t realize it, but the mattress they sleep on can have a huge influence on their vitality and energy.

Most mattresses now come with a 25-year warranty and are made out of materials that hold up for the duration of that time period. However, the body changes more frequently than that. Even if the mattress has plenty of life left, because of our aging and changing bodies, it might still be time to buy a new one.

Henry Hildreth, owner of Hildreth’s Home Goods in Southampton and East Hampton, has some simple advice for those wondering if it’s time to make the switch.

“When you’re thinking about buying a mattress it’s probably time to buy one,” he said during a telephone interview last week. “If you think a mattress is bad, it is bad. While you’re at it, replace the box spring as well.”

Support and pressure relief are two things everyone needs for a fulfilling night’s sleep. The right mattress—firm or soft—can provide both, as can the box spring, according to Hildreth’s operations manager Katie Hayward.

“The box spring also plays a factor—we only sell steel box springs. Wood can creak and crack and break, and the steel is more supportive,” she reported. “We definitely stand by the steel box spring.”

Science and technology have advanced in all aspects of manufacturing. Sleepy’s has taken advantage of that and is using scientific applications to figure out exactly what bed is right for each individual.

At the national chain, each employee is sent to training seminars to learn about sleep deprivation and what is right for all types of customers. Sueann Patriss, a “Sleepy’s Mattress Professional” in Southampton, says that if all of the morning kinks aren’t worked out within 45 minutes of waking up, there could be something wrong with the mattress.

“When you are waking up and you’re not rested, you’re cranky, you’re hurting …,” Ms. Patriss began, “you should feel refreshed when you wake up.”

The Body Diagnostic, a computer program used by Sleepy’s, uses simple questions about body type and sleep preference in order to determine the perfect mattress for a customer. After the questionnaire is complete, the customer lies down on a tester bed, which measures body pressure and weight. The data is then combined and a computer provides information suggesting the best mattress firmness.

When buying a mattress, it’s also important to take note of changes in the body, Ms. Patriss reported.

“Your body goes through changes throughout your life whether you are male or female. We are growing. Your support and pressure relief needs to change,” she said. “It’s a bodily function we all do. Buying the right bed the first time is so important.”

Mr. Hildreth agreed. He stressed the importance of testing out the mattress first before making a purchase.

“Take your time. I don’t understand why people buy mattresses over the phone and need same day delivery,” Mr. Hildreth said. “That’s such a rush attitude I don’t understand. If you spend a third of your life doing something, why rush into it?”

Buying a mattress should be a comfortable, patient experience, according to Ms. Hayward. She had some very basic shopping advice for those in the market for a new one.

“Dress in very comfortable clothing. You want to be trying out the mattresses as you would at your house,” she advised. “Don’t be afraid to lay on the mattresses. That’s why they have pillows and foot rests, just lay down as you would at home. If you have a partner, have them lay down with you at the same time and see if you can feel them tossing and turning.”

The pillow used is also a huge part of the equation, Ms. Patriss added. Sleep comfortability starts with spinal alignment, which begins with the pillow, which should keep the sleeper aligned and supported. For perfect sleep balance, she said that the head, shoulders and spine should all be aligned.

At the end of the day (and through to the morning), how one spends the night is important, according to Ms. Patriss.

“We need to sustain life through our sleep,” she said. “With the right pressure relief and support, you are going to stay asleep longer.”

Which is the ultimate goal, after all.

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