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JANICE WELLS: Why don’t we just sleep on it? Picking the right mattress

What can you tell from store testing of a mattress? - 123RF
What can you tell from store testing of a mattress? - 123RF

Gin and Tonic Boomer
Gin and Tonic Boomer

Newman and I are sleeping on a 15-inch mattress set from Sears. It cost just under $1,500 and that was with 50 per cent off. In other words, it was a $3,000 mattress.

Before that, I had a pocket coil mattress from Walmart that came in a box and expanded before my very eyes when I unpacked it. I loved it. This Sears mattress isn’t a patch on the Walmart one. I wasn’t sure about it when I laid on it in the store but a really good salesman convinced me it was as soft as they get.

What can you tell from store testing? Seriously. You can’t lie there long enough to have a nap. You don’t feel like turning over more than once. However, that wasn’t really a problem because I knew we could return it within a certain time frame.

That was before I knew what Newman was like when it came to returning things. As far as I’m concerned Newman’s reluctance to return anything should have a name — maybe returnaphobia — and be recognized as a mental disorder.

He couldn’t believe I wanted to return it. I would go so far as to say he was horrified. As for me, I was still in that state where you wouldn’t have an argument with your beloved over something he obviously felt strongly about. I told myself the mattress would soften up; I would get used to it. Ha, ha.

Fast forward some 12 years and I am about to break it to Newman that I really want a new mattress. And he will say, “there’s nothing wrong with the one we have” and eventually I will get a new one anyway because: a) life is too short to spend almost half of it less comfortable than you could be; b) He, who could sleep on a floor of scattered Lego blocks, doesn’t quite get that how poorly you sleep has anything to do with the mattress. (Maybe he thinks the bent, crotchety way I walk first when I first get out of bed is just the way I am); c) It is my turn.

I’ve done some research. Most high-end mattresses have a lifespan of between seven and 10 years but can last longer, depending on “the level of care.” By this I presume they mean rotating and using a good mattress cover: “Perform these steps every two weeks for the first three months you have your new mattress, then once every two months thereafter.” I get full points for using a good cover, but I admit my rotation schedule is not up to the manufacturer’s standards.

Here are checkmarks to indicate if your mattress is not your friend:

  • You regularly wake up tired or achy;
  • You tend to sleep better away from home, than in your own bed;
  • You’re over age 40 and your mattress is five to seven years old (Our bodies have less tolerance for pressure as we age);
  • Your mattress looks or feels saggy or lumpy.

Check for the first three; not so much for four, but I don’t care, three out of four is good — or bad — enough for me.

For best results, a mattress should be replaced within 10 years.

Foam and latex mattresses tend to last longer than the average. I haven’t had anything but the coil type but I’m thinking maybe you could flip these over as well as up and down, like we did in the old days and maybe that accounts for why they last longer.

I would very much like to hear from anybody who has tried one of the many boxed mattresses that seem to be popping up all over. (Ha, ha.) I’d get the Walmart one again if I could remember the name of it. There are many reviews and price ranges. There’s Canadian made, free shipping and free trials for a month to over three months.

If you don’t like it, how do you get that mattress back in the box? You don’t. They send someone to pick it up and donate it to charity.

That in itself would be worth the trial.

Janice Wells offers her own unique take on life as a baby boomer, often served up with a twist of humour and a splash of gin. She lives in St. John’s, N.L., and tends a lovely garden there whenever fog, sleet, snow and gale-force winds permit.

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1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

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