Isn’t Mattress Shopping The Worst?

Shop the photo: Novogratz Her Majesty Bed Frame, Black Mid-Century Modern Slat Bench (Similar) Faux Fur Blanket

Disclaimer: This post is written with Sleep Advisor, but all opinions are my own. There are affiliate links on this page which means I make a small commission if you purchase an item I’ve linked to at no cost to you. Sweet dreams!

We spend a full one third of our entire lives in bed… asleep, or at least trying to sleep. Now I know you’ve heard that statistic before but have you ever actually stopped to truly think about it? Probably not.

A third of our lives?! For the average American, that’s over 25 years in bed. That’s vastly more time than we spend doing any other activity. That’s more time than we spend at work, driving, scrolling social media, drinking Starbucks coffees or even binge-watching Netflix.

Good sleep is vitally important to everything we do: it improves our immune system, our mental health,and even our appearance. Yet how much time have you ever spent thinking about your bed? People sleep on mattresses a foot too short for their legs; others have mattresses with sags in the middle deeper than the Grand Canyon.

When my husband Gus and I moved in together, he picked out a Sealy Queen-sized mattress that was pretty good until we both started waking up with sore backs. As someone that suffers from chronic pain, it’s expected that I wake up in pain… but when Gus started complaining about his back, I knew it was time we started looking for a new mattress.

White Sheets, Falsa Blanket

It’s time to go mattress shopping

Let me start off saying that I have now spent an unusual amount of time mattress shopping. I’m talking hours and hours looking at foam vs. springs, the ideal depth for a mattress, best mattress for insomnia/fibromyalgia/back pain, blah blah blah. All that research made me want to fall asleep!

How did we pick a mattress when there are so many options? I know it’s overwhelming when there are so many mattresses to pick from, so how are you supposed to know where to start when it comes to choosing a new bed?!

I know your first thought is probably to go to a mattress store and lay on a bunch of mattresses… but please don’t.

Mattress stores are labyrinths ruled by one of the planets most manipulative creatures: the mattress salesman. These word wizards will melt your mind with an endless stream of mattress-based buzzwords until you’re nothing but a quivering wreck willing to hand over your entire life’s savings on a mattress that promises no pain, no interest for three years, and endless orgasms.

So, just don’t. Shop online. Buy a bed in a box. This is the 21st century after all. I gave up on stores a while ago, and have been testing out the latex/foam options. I tried all the major options; Purple, Tuft and Needle, Casper, Leesa, etc. It’s really difficult to narrow down which mattress to buy, but thankfully they all come with a good return policy just in case you aren’t happy with what you get.

In my research, I came across Sleep Advisor, the internet’s sleep experts. I reached out to them to help me decide which mattress would be best for my needs. Below I’m going to take a look the internet’s favorite mattresses and give you the rundown on the differences, which Sleep Advisor helped me translate.

Buying a mattress is a very personal decision and I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. Ask your friends what they sleep on. Ask your neighbors. Ask your chiropractor.

Shop this picture: Novogratz Her Majesty Bed Frame, White USB Clock, Project 62 Geneva Glass Globe Lamp

Tuft & Needle: Won’t Break The Bank

I’ll start with Tuft & Needle because this is the mattress we decided to purchase. The Tuft & Needle (T&N) mattress utilizes a much more minimal construction than others, T&N mattresses only deploy a 2 foam layers, fortunately one is 7” thick poly foam, so you’ll still be getting all the support you need.

Though not quite as firm as the Casper and not quite as hugging as the Leesa, the T&N falls somewhere in the middle in terms of performance. I like that it’s firm but not like sleeping on a rock. I sink into it nicely and it feels really good throughout the night. Where it does excel is price, often coming in considerable cheaper than the other two.

We looked at the Original Queen ($595) and Mint Queen ($895) and ended up with the Tuft & Needle Original Queen. The Mint Mattress was really nice, but we liked the firmness of the T&N Original more. We also purchased Tuft & Needle pillows which use the same kind of foam as the mattress and they are incredible. I am very happy with our Tuft & Needle Mattress.

Buy Tuft & Needle on Amazon

The Casper – Best For Back Sleepers

If you’ve ever listened to a single podcast you’ve likely heard an advert for the Casper mattress. One of the original online mattress companies, the Casper is definitely hard to beat. Made up of 4 layers of foam, including a 1.5” block of lovely memory foam.

Most reviewers seem to comment that the Casper is a little more firm than other online mattresses and sees less sinkage (a technical mattress term for how much you sink into it) and as such is better choice for back sleepers and heavy sleepers. The Casper mattress is also well-regarded for its temperature control, something many foam mattresses suffer poorly from.

Before you buy a Casper, listen to any podcast and grab yourself a discount code. They all seem to offer them.

Shop Casper on Amazon

The Leesa – Heaven For Side Sleepers

Leesa is a newcomer on the block compared to the Casper but the company has already found itself a loyal fanbase. Slightly softer than the Casper, the Leesa’s biggest selling point amongst its fans is how well it performs at body contouring. This is something especially important for any side sleepers. I’ve slept on a Leesa mattress and loved how it felt, so you might, too.

Leesa also donates one mattress to charity for every ten they sell.

Shop Leesa Mattress on Amazon

Zinus – The Green Tea Mattress

This Green Tea Memory Foam mattress provides comfort and pressure relieving support for a better night’s sleep. The Zinus has foam that is CertiPUR – US Certified for durability and performance. The 12″ Zinus has 3 inches of Memory Foam, 2 inches of Comfort Foam, 3.5 inches of Airflow High-density Foam, and 3.5 inches Airflow High-density Base Support Foam. I’ve heard from multiple people that the Zinus is like “sleeping on a cloud,” which is something I’ve never done but it sounds nice.

Shop Zinus Mattress on Amazon

Purple – Because Science

What do aeropace technology and mattresses have in common? The Purple mattress. Purple is designed with a “pressure-erasing” polymer layer over a foam base.

Purple is known for its science-driven approach and quirky marketing, making it hard to miss in the digital space. The Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ top has been scientifically engineered to provide pressure relief to any area of the body that needs it.

Shop Purple Mattress on Amazon

Nectar – Best overall value

The Nectar is constructed with multiple layers of foam (total of 11” thick). On top, there is 1” of cooling foam combined with Tencel covers, so you should have a very cool sleep experience. Deep layers provide good overall support for all sleeping positions, but it excels for side sleepers with excellent contouring and pressure relief.

Nectar also provides an impressive 365-day sleep trial and a Forever Warranty means there is virtually no risk in trying out their product and that they stand behind it.

Shop Nectar Mattresses on Amazon

Pro-tip: When you do get a new mattress, use a mattress cover to protect your mattress. With a mattress cover, you’ll never actually be touching the mattress. Just replace the toppers every couple years.

What if I don’t like my mattress?

Well tough, you’re just going to have to live with your terrible purchase forever! Every night when you go to bed you’re going to be reminded about the horrible mistake you made. Just kidding.

Most, if not all, big online mattress companies, have no questions-asked money back guarantees for a very generous period after purchase, sometimes up to 120 days. Even more, they will collect the mattress for free.

Buying a mattress online is basically a no-risk bet. Why physical mattress stores still exist, I have no idea. I’ve friends who have taken a full year to sample every possible mattress out there before making a final selection.

How do I ditch my old mattress?

Well, that depends on how old it is, what condition it’s in, and how ethical you are? You see, due to their size and the materials used to produce them, mattresses are actually something of a pain to dispose off. You can’t just squeeze them into the bin in the park. But there are a number of means and ways.

More than 50,000 mattresses end up in landfills each day. Please don’t just dump your mattress in an alleyway or bring it to the dump. Don’t be that person. If it’s still in good shape, the best way to get rid of a mattress is to give it away to a friend or even list it on Craigslist, OfferUp, LetGo, or Facebook Marketplace for a low price or free. Ask around, be proactive, people are always moving house and they always have spare beds that need mattresses.

If you can’t find a new adopted home for your old mattress amongst your circle then you might need to outsource the problem, there are many furniture removal companies and even ones that specialize specifically in mattresses removal. You can donate it to Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, a homeless shelter, or your local charity. Habitat for Humanity can restore mattresses and box springs that can then be turned over to those who need them most: homeless people and families in need. Even Amazon are in on this mattress removal game.

We need to start treating our bed choices with the same care we would if we were shopping for a new car or computer or phone.

Don’t rush this decision, it’s a big one. What you sleep on has a huge impact on how you sleep, and how you sleep affects just about every single facet of your existence.

I’m happy to report that four months in to our Tuft & Needle mattress, we are in love with it. I am sleeping all the way through the night which is an amazing feat for a lifelong insomnia sufferer like myself.

Sweet dreams,


Author: Becca Risa Luna

Seattle-based fashion writer and personal essayist. Likes designer handbags, glaring openness, and subtle vulgarity.

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