Topics:Mattress Industry News Mattress Shopping Help Sleep Positions Mattress Logistics Mattress Satisfaction Mattress Benefits Improve Your Sleep In-Home Sleep Trial Mattress Policies
Buying a mattress online can feel like a huge gamble. There are so many variables, that it can feel like the decks are stacked against you. You bravely put yourself out there, research, and choose an option. Hopefully, you and your new mattress will have a long and fruitful relationship, with all the sleep you need. However, what if you set it up and start sleeping together, but the spark just isn't there; the newness wears off and you are stuck with a dud? With as much as mattresses cost, it can be hard to throw in the towel. This is where an in-home mattress trial comes in handy. Most online mattress retailers (and some brick and mortar stores) offer a sleep trial. After you buy a mattress, and have it delivered, you have a predetermined amount of time to exercise your trial period: this is usually 90 to 120 days. During that period, according to the specific retailer policy, you are free to return or exchange the mattress for a different model. Read more here about mattress sleep trials. So, how do you know whether your mattress is a keeper? We reached out to mattress experts to help us understand what to pay attention to during a mattress honeymoon. Here's what they said: 1. Has the mattress reached its full (size) potential? "Most mattresses purchased online are compressed, rolled and then put in a box to be shipped via FedEx or UPS," advises Bill Fish, a certified sleep science coach and cofounder of Tuck. "While it is quite the experience to unbox a mattress after delivery to see it go back to its original shape, it will take some time to get back to the feel it was built to have. It could take upwards of 48 hours for the bed to recover to its full height. If it is a week later, and you still don’t feel like the bed has recovered properly, this is an issue and should be addressed with customer service." So, what depth and height is your mattress supposed to reach? Double-check the online specs with your unboxed mattress. It should be within an inch of the fully quoted size. 2. How are you sleeping? "The sleep trial is the time when you should really figure out if the mattress is working for you," says Joe Auer from Mattress Clarity. "First off, many mattresses do take a bit of time to break-in. It may take at least a month to get used to your sleeping surface, so don't freak out if the mattress doesn't feel perfect from day one. However, after you've slept on the mattress for at least a month, think about the following: How are you sleeping? This one seems like a no-brainer, but it is still important. Are you tossing and turning at night or do you wake up feeling like you haven't moved at all? How rested do you feel?" 3. Has your sleep routine changed? "You'll want to take note of any changes to your sleep routine," advises Logan Block, Director of Content at Sleepopolis. "Are you falling asleep faster? Do you sleep through the night? Do you wake up feeling well-rested? If yes, the bed may be a keeper. However, if you feel as though your slumber isn't actively improving (or is, in fact, getting worse), it may not be the mattress for you." 4. Do you have any new aches and pains? "You'll also want to take stock of any new pains," says Block, "specifically in the lower back, shoulders, and hips. These are some of the most sensitive spots along the body and will react swiftly to uncomfortable pressure points." Dr. Rick Swartzburg, D.C., the creator of the Snuggle-Pedic and Air-Pedic mattresses advises that during a sleep trial, "the customer should be looking at their actual sleeping alignment, as well as how their back, shoulders, and hips feel in the morning." Swartzburg's Mattress Checker App can help check their spinal alignment, so you can compare from your old mattress to the new one. 5. How does the mattress feel? "Assess the feel of the mattress against claims made by the brand," suggests Block. "If you bought a mattress because the company said it was bouncy, supportive, and firm, that's exactly how it should feel when it's set up in your bedroom. If that's not the vibe you're getting, feel free to send it back." 6. How does the mattress look? "Beyond the recovery and the feel, the mattress should be inspected to ensure there are no rips or tears in the cover," advises Fish. "Some mattresses ordered online could weigh upwards of nearly 150 lbs, and it is possible that some stitching may have been damaged in the boxing process." Auer agrees that how a mattress looks is important. "This is something you should consider from day one. Does the mattress look put together?" In addition to loose stitching, he suggests looking for any holes or seams where mattress filling is exposed. If you do see any issues, take a picture to document, even if it is a minor stitching error. 7. Does it show structural issues? "If you notice any wear and tear within the first two weeks (dramatic sagging in the middle of the bed, diminished edge support, excessive squeaking or creaking), the mattress likely isn't a quality product," advises Block. If your mattress is sagging, Auer says, this is a RED FLAG. "It often takes years for mattresses to begin to sag, but if it's happening in the first year, that is a serious problem. If you spot any indentations or large body impressions, that is a bad sign." Edge support is another thing to take inventory of. Block asks "Does the structure hold up at the sides as well as it does in the middle?" If there is sagging or diminished edge support within your sleep trial, you should initiate a return. 8. Would you recommend it to a friend? Block suggests that "perhaps the most important question to ask yourself is this: Would you recommend the mattress to a friend? If the answer is no, it's likely not the one for you." And that's okay, as long as you are still within your trial period. Using your trial period How long should you try it out before returning? When do you give up? Expert opinions vary: "In terms of an in-home trial policy, you should be able to know from the first week whether this is the mattress for you. The Vispring comfort pledge states you should try a bed for a minimum of 30 days. If between 30 days and 90 days you are not happy with the tension they will swap it for the next, hassle-free." — David Ewart, Director and Lead Mattress Buyer, Pavilion Broadway "It can take a month to adjust to a new mattress, so try it for at least a month before you decide to change mattresses." — Jeanine Joy, Ph.D., contributor at bestmattress.reviews "It may take a few days to adjust to a new mattress, especially if you have been sleeping on an old sagging mattress. Your body should acclimate within the first week to the new support. If you are continuing to experience aches and pains after a week of using your new mattress, you may want to look deeper into this issue. If you start to experience an increase in the severity of the pain you have been experiencing, this is a red flag that the mattress may not be a good match for your sleep style and body." — Dr. Kasey Nichols, contributor at www.ravereviews.org "You should be able to tell if a bed is right for you after a week of use. You'll want to allow a few nights to 'break in' the structure, but after that, you'll know whether or not the mattress is a good fit." — Block Why wouldn't you know immediately? Why wait to make your decision? Bill Fish from Tuck has a helpful explanation: "The first item you should understand is that you should not determine if the mattress is for you after night one. We like to equate it to a new pair of running shoes. They might be stiff for a new days, but within a couple of weeks, they will be broken in and feeling great. The same can be said for a mattress. If you have been sleeping on a sub-standard mattress for years, your body may be compensating for the lack of support received. When you are sleeping on a new mattress for the first night, your body won’t be accustomed to that new found support and you may wake up a bit sore. This is completely normal, and it is recommended that you sleep on a mattress for roughly 30 nights and make your judgment at that time." Good sleep = better health According to Joy, "Sleep is possibly the most important factor when it comes to good health. Poor sleep increases the risk that you’ll experience an accident, be in a bad mood, experience an impaired immune system, or have trouble remembering things. When you don’t sleep well, your self-control also decreases which means you’re less likely to exercise and eat well." Once the honeymoon is over and you have broken in the bed, ask yourself these eight questions. You should know whether it's a match made in heaven or not, and decide whether your purchase was worth it.
Shopping for a mattress isn't on anyone's top ten list of things to do on a Saturday morning. Many shoppers develop "large purchase anxiety" when they know they're about to drop a load of cash on something they'll use every day. But what if you end up hating the mattress you choose? Are you stuck sleeping on a bad investment? The good news is there is a way out. . . usually. Consider this recent mattress shopping experience, shared with Best Company from contributor Tiiu Lutter, from HomeInsuranceRates.com: "With the assistance of sleep experts (pronounced “salespeople”), we tested what seemed like 100 beds the last time we went mattress shopping. We quickly ruled out foam because our neighbor said that they were challenging for the other in-bed activity which you can’t test in the store. We ended up with three close contenders. With confidence inspired by the 90-day trial, we chose the most expensive, a big fluffy cloud promising 25 years of phenomenal rest. We carefully inspected the mattress when it arrived. Other than a little crooked edging, it was great. Sleeping at home is quite different from laying on beds in the store. Turns out we actually spend very little time laying in our primary store testing position: on our backs. I move around a lot and end up on my tummy, my hubby, on his side. It felt great to get into, but was hard to move around in, and it made me sore. I woke up whenever I tried to turn in this super soft bed, and every morning I had a dull ache in my lower back. After 30 days I asked to swap out. The store pushed back. They suggested we try to sleep differently, and that it takes more time to get used to a new mattress. We gave that a shot, but a lifetime of sleeping cannot be changed, even with 85 days of practice. They did not want to take this bed back. They told us if there were any marks or indication of wear, we would need to pay a huge restocking fee. We had used a mattress pad, so the bed was protected. But when they came, they pushed back on the crooked sewing (like that could have been our fault) but we had pictures. Take home lessons: fully understand the exchange rules, inspect carefully when your bed arrives, take pictures, and protect your investment by using a mattress pad. If a bed is guaranteed for years, it should be completely like new at the end of 90 days. There should be no divot, no wear, no sign that anyone actually slept in it. If there is, get a different bed. Remember, this is your body and your future. If your bed causes you discomfort, stick to your guns and swap it out! We actually ended up with a high-end foam mattress, and it’s the best ever!" Does anything from Lutter's experience sound familiar to you? Have you ever shopped for a mattress and picked out what you thought was going to be the perfect fit, only to find that your aching back disagreed with you after several sleepless nights once you got the mattress home? If you buy a mattress that comes with a trial period, you can rest assured that you won't be stuck with a lumpy lemon. Trial periods In the mattress industry, most in-home trial periods last 90 or more days. What is the significance of this time period? "For starters," says Christina Heiser, content manager at Saatva, "you want to have enough time to sleep on a mattress to be able to determine whether the mattress is right for you. It can take up to three months to 'break-in' a mattress — meaning, for the materials to soften up and conform to your body — so look for home-trial policies of at least 90 or 120 days." "It takes time for your body to adjust to a new mattress," she adds, "and for the components in a fresh mattress to soften up, so it's a good idea to sleep on your mattress for at least a couple of months before you start the return process." But don't wait too long. Laura Mogen, Editor-in-Chief and professional mattress reviewer at www.mybestmattress.com cautions consumers to pay attention to your time frame: "Return the mattress at least a week before the trial is over to make sure to be in time and get your money back" If you are ready to return or exchange your mattress, how does this process work? Contact customer service First, contact the customer service team from your mattress retailer. This could be a direct-to-consumer company like Nectar, a homegoods retailer like Wayfair, or a brick-and-mortar establishment like Mattress Firm. Each will have its own policy and process. Depending on whether your policy allows for a return or exchange, you will likely, at the least, have to explain why its not working out. If your policy qualifies you for an exchange only, this information is used to help find out what factors to look for in your new mattress. If you had another model in mind, let the customer service rep know about this product and ask questions about whether it will remedy the issues you mentioned earlier. If your policy allows a return and refund, it is used for customer feedback about the product. Mattress exchanges or returns Setting up a mattress exchange means two things: getting rid of the mattress at your house and getting a new one. Stores that offer exchanges only will often entrust a trained customer service rep or a floor supervisor/manager to help you select the new one, because your trial will likely only cover one exchange per original mattress purchase, or one exchange per household, per year. They want you to be satisfied, so they help you to choose. What happens if the mattress you choose costs less or more than the original? If it costs more, you pay the difference. If it costs less, depending on the retailer, you get nothing or an in-store credit refund. Most brands only offer one exchange per original order, though some offer up to two exchanges per order. Be sure to read the fine print. And don't forget — you should have a plan in place for what you are going to sleep on until your new mattress arrives. Mattress removal Whether you are using your sleep trial to return or exchange for a different model, there is the little problem of how do I get this thing out of my house? First of all, if your mattress arrived compressed and rolled up, many people wonder how they will return it because they can't get it back in the box. Don't worry. That's not necessary. Bed-in-a-box shipping is an awesome cost-effective way for for mattress brands to get their product shipped to your door as fast as possible. However, it doesn't have to go back into the box to be returned. Katie Golde is Editor and Head of Sleep Research for Mattress Clarity, as well as a certified sleep science coach through the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA). Golde explains, "Many brands will arrange a pick-up time with you to take their mattress back and, don't worry, they won't add it back to their inventory to re-sell. If this doesn't sit super well with you from an environmental standpoint, there are some brands that will donate these mattresses." Mogen adds, "Also, some companies pick up the mattress themselves, others ask you to bring the bed to the nearest charity." If this is the case, you may be required to provide a donation receipt for your refund to be processed. Refund policies Sleep trials have refund policies of all shapes and sizes. Some offer a truly risk-free trial, where you will get a full refund of every penny spent on the mattress purchase. While any trial policy will help to defray the cost of an unwise purchase decision, not all mattress trials offer a legitimate full refund. "When reading the trial policy, you should pay attention if you’ll need to pay extra for the return," advises Mogen. Here are a few of the fees and deductions to look out for when you are considering exercising your trial policy: Restocking fees — This is sometimes a standard fee and sometimes a percentage of the price of the mattress Shipping fees — For many mattress brands, shipping fees are non-refundable. There may even be an added shipping fee to bring out your new mattress or pick-up the old one. Return fees — "Some online mattress manufacturers charge a $99 return fee," says Jeanine Joy, Ph.D., a sleep researcher and editor at bestmattress.reviews. "This is more common when the mattress is delivered by a delivery service instead of by Fed Ex or UPS." However, it can also apply when your mattress is delivered via free ground shipping. This is sometimes also referred to as a mattress pickup or retrieval fee. Some sellers will issue a refund immediately. Others will have to wait until the mattress has been confirmed as retrieved or confirmed as picked-up or received by the charity. Once a refund gets issued, expect to see it on your original form of payment within a few business days.