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Sweet Dreams

 Choosing the Right Mattress

by Pamela Cole Harris

A good night's sleep is one of life's greatest blessings. But, if your mattress is old and lumpy, that blessing can become a curse. I remember the early days of my marriage which were spent on a bed that can be best termed a plastic canoe! Finding the perfect mattress for your body can take a little work and a little more experimentation. Here are some tips to help you find the right mattress for you:

1. Try several types, styles and brands of mattresses. Try foam, pillow-top, water, adjustable and air mattresses. What may feel absolutely wonderful for one person may not feel right to another. If two of you will sleep on the bed, try to compromise on a mattress that will fit both of you, which may take some research.

2. Make certain that the mattress has at least a ten-year warranty. Check the proration! The proration is the percentage of the original purchase price the mattress manufacturer will refund if the mattress is defective. Some manufacturers reduce the amount by a certain for each year you own the mattress.

3. If two of you are going to use the mattress, make sure both of you do the shopping. And don't just sit on the mattress. Lay on it - both of you!

4. Check the ticking (outside cover) fabric. The ideal fabric should be a cotton blend or a damask. If the cover is made of vinyl or polyester, the fabric will not "breathe" and will be uncomfortable in the summer.

5. Check the support on the outer edges of the mattress. The sides of the mattress should provide as much support as the middle. To check, roll from the center of the bed to the sides and back.

6. Check that the handles of the mattress are firmly attached to the innersprings to aid in moving. It is difficult to maneuver a mattress that has no handles.

7. Purchase the box springs or foundation and mattress as a set. They are made to support each other and will wear at the same rate.

8. The coil count for a quality mattress should start at 300 for a full or standard mattress, 375 for a queen and 450 for a king- size mattress. A higher coil count means a higher-quality mattress.

9. As a general rule, the wider the coil, the more sturdy the mattress and the longer it will wear.

10. Make certain you are comfortable with the size of bed you choose.

- A twin extra-long is 39in wide and 80in long
- A regular twin or single bed is 39in wide and 75in long
- A full, standard or double bed is 54in wide and 75in long
- A queen mattress is 60in wide and 80in long
- An eastern king is 76in wide and 80in long.

Take your time to choose the right mattress. After all, making the right choice can ensure you will have many great nights of sleep. The wrong choice and you will lie awake at night and count the spots on the ceiling, the sheep jumping over your headboard or surfing the internet until you fall asleep. Hmmm...and you might visit On second thought, choose the first mattress you find, then read a couple of my articles. That should put you right to sleep!

Pamela Cole Harris has been a writer and designer for 35 years (Yikes, has it been that long?) Enjoy her tongue-in-cheek approach to inexpensive interior design at <Home Decorating> and <Home Decor>


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