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sticky How to look for and find the best mattress ... for YOU! ***READ FIRST***

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08 Oct 2012 18:29 - 10 Jun 2014 08:35 #11 by Phoenix

Hi gianos,

i think we can easily assess comfort in the store (hard, soft, middle, etc). is there an independent/logical way to assess alignment separately. also since my wife and i do not weigh the same, how to people account for that (i assume weight affects alignment if you assume the same level of support in both cases).


Yes ... but it is a little more difficult and because most people focus more on comfort (pressure relief) than support (spinal alignment) it is easily forgotten or not tested. Many people will also not have a clear sense of what they are testing for and will either go by more subjective "overall" perceptions or will not spend long enough on a mattress to really get a clear sense of how it may feel and perform in "real life".

First of all ... it's important when you are testing for pressure relief or alignment to make sure you lie on a mattress for long enough that your mind and muscles are fully relaxed. A mattress can feel very different when you are fully relaxed than it does when you are tense. For most people this means spending at least 15 minutes on a mattress that you are seriously considering and focus on the relaxed feeling that you have when you are going to sleep.

The second key is to focus specifically on testing for alignment and its symptoms rather than comfort in all your sleeping positions. There are several things here that can help.

- Try to sense whether your muscles are able to completely "let go" and allow the mattress to support your natural alignment rather than using muscle tension to keep you in alignment. This means that you can sense your body and muscles fully relaxing without a tendency for any area to be tense.

- Next is to pay particular attention to any tension or discomfort (or even pain) in the areas where poor alignment tends to produce symptoms for you. This can be different for different people but is usually in the lower back or lumbar curve, and the upper back and neck where the spine also curves. Test in all your sleeping positions making sure to move slowly when you change position and stay relaxed. Bear in mind that minor discomfort when you are testing can be amplified when you are sleeping for longer periods of time.

- Next is to make sure that all the inner curves of the spine are filled in so that there are no "gaps" in between your body and the mattress. It should be fairly difficult to slide you hand under the lower back or waist (if the mattress is too firm then this area will not be filled in well enough and sliding a hand under it will not have enough resistance and will be too easy).

- Finally you can use the help of someone who can see you on the mattress to make sure there are no obvious issues of alignment such as those that are in this diagram . If you stand up with "good posture" then your "helper" will be able to get a sense of your natural curves from the side and back and this can help them see if your posture is close to what it is when you are standing up and whether any part of your body is sinking in a little too far (usually the hips/ pelvis) or not enough (usually the upper body and shoulders). They can also make sure that your head and neck is also in good alignment when you are testing because this can affect how a mattress feels in the upper body area.

On your side ... your spine should be relatively straight (like it is when you look at someone from behind) and your body profile along the side of your body should be similar to your standing position (shoulders and hips in roughly the same relative position). On your back ... the spine and body profile should be similar to the side view when you are standing with no obvious areas where parts of you are sagging or sinking in too far or not enough (within reason).

If you test more objectively and specifically for alignment using these suggestions and the more subtle cues from your body in conjunction with some help then you should be much closer to your ideal than if you only test for more subjective ideas of "comfort".

I should also mention that there are certain layering and material combinations that can be suitable for two people with different body types and sleeping positions even though they may be very different. In other cases ... a side by side split layering can also be helpful to accommodate different body types and sleeping positions. In other words, I wouldn't make assumptions about what may be best ahead of time and use the "evidence" of your testing to determine what is best for each and both of you more than "theory" which can sometimes be misleading or counter intuitive.

Hope this helps

Phoenix


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Last Edit: 10 Jun 2014 08:35 by Phoenix.

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08 Oct 2012 22:50 #12 by gianos

wow
thanks that is really helpful
flip

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15 Nov 2012 10:22 #13 by bschantzer

Phoenix,
I was roaming around the internet and I stumbled onto your site, very helpful so far. I recently joined the civilian world after serving 10 years in the US Army which included tours in South Korea, Germany and Iraq. While in Iraq I sustained injuries that have permanantly injured my lower back. It seems to be the consensus that for lower back problems I should be shopping for a firm mattress. I came accross the Saatva website and was impressed but after getting some imput from this forum, I am worried that they might not be the best fit for me. Can you advise some particular brands that I should be looking at? Also, money is not an object (to a certain degree) when getting a good nights sleep. Thank you for your time.

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15 Nov 2012 20:18 #14 by Phoenix

Hi bshantzer,

Welcome home first of all :)

Can you advise some particular brands that I should be looking at?


A mattress is only as good as the combination of materials that are in it and "brand shopping" is one of the worst ways to find a good quality and value mattress

The first post in this thread has a step by step process along with some links to information that will greatly improve your odds find finding the best quality and value mattress and just as importantly fits what you both need and prefer and can provide the best possible support for your injured back. Having good support layers doesn't mean that you can't also have good pressure relieving layers in a mattress because all mattresses are a combination of firmer support (in the deeper support layers) and good pressure relief (primarily from the upper comfort layers) and the balance between these that best fits your body type, sleeping positions, circumstances, and preferences is the "best" mattress for you.

Once you know what to eliminate, have some basic information about mattress materials and construction (and know the types of questions to ask), and have identified the better local manufacturers or retailers in your area ... then you can start testing mattresses and connect and work with people that have the experience and knowledge to help you make good choices without breaking the bank.

If you let me know the city or zip where you live I'd be happy to let you know of any of the better possibilities in your area that I'm aware of.

Just in case you haven't seen it (or for others that are reading this post) ... my thoughts about Saatva are in this thread .

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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16 Nov 2012 12:51 #15 by bschantzer

Phoenix,
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly, I live in Ewing, NJ 08628.

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16 Nov 2012 19:05 - 16 Nov 2012 19:11 #16 by Phoenix

Hi bschantzer,

The better options or possibilities I'm aware of in your general area (and towards Philadelphia) are listed in post #4 here .

Post #7 here includes some further options in the general NYC area (some of which are duplicates).

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum
Last Edit: 16 Nov 2012 19:11 by Phoenix.

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05 Dec 2012 17:29 #17 by tanyaden

Hi Phoenix,

First of all, thank you for this great site! It has a lot (and I mean A LOT) of useful information. Thanks!

Now, my question. Can you recommend any good store outlet/manufacturer in or around Montreal, Canada. I'm doing my initial research, but I would like to talk to professionals at some point.
I see only 3 Canadian companies in the membership list, and all 3 of them are on the other side of the country :-(

Any help is greatly appreciated!

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05 Dec 2012 20:52 #18 by Phoenix

Hi tanyaden,

You are fortunate because there are many factory direct manufacturers within about 100 K of Montreal. While none of them are members of the site ... there is some very good quality/value in the area (more than almost any city in North America). They are listed in post #276 here .

You may also find this thread helpful (with some feedback from one of our forum members).

Hope this helps.

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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06 Dec 2012 09:44 #19 by tanyaden

Thanks a lot Phoenix!

I just started my research, but it looks like it won't be long and painful process - thanks to your website.

I'm happy to know that here in Montreal we have some choice. Usually I order whatever I need from the States, but it would be hard to do with mattress.

Thanks again,

tanyaden

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30 Dec 2012 21:50 #20 by jimmyjamesv

Phoenix, I just found this site and loved all the great information it has! My wife and I were going to buy a Tempurpedic or a Serta icomfort today. But it seems that we may get better "value" from a matress outlet near us. Do you know of any good outlet stores near zip 48195 (Southgate, MI). It is near Detroit, MI.

Thank you for all the great info I have read thus far.

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